Bruce Springsteen says his "entire body of work" draws from his Dad's life

Publish Date
Tuesday, 26 October 2021, 8:53AM
Getty Images

Getty Images

Bruce Springsteen is teaming up with former President Barack Obama once again for the upcoming book Renegades: Born in the USA. After joining forces for their podcast of the same name, this unlikely duo co-wrote a book that "explores everything from their origin stories and career-defining moments to our country’s polarized politics and the growing distance between the American Dream and the American reality," according to Penguin Random House.

On Monday (October 25), The Guardian released an excerpt from the upcoming project. The except, written by Springsteen, reflects on the iconic musician's strained relationship with his father. Springsteen opens up about the profound influence his father had on his body of work, as well, writing that everything he's ever written has drawn inspiration, in some way, from his father's life story.

“From when I was a young man, I lived with a man who suffered a loss of status and I saw it every single day,” Springsteen writes. “It was all tied to lack of work, and I just watched the low self-esteem. … There was something in his illness or in who he was that involved a tremendous denying of his family ties. I always remember him complaining that if he hadn’t had a family he would’ve been able to take a certain job and go on the road. It was a missed opportunity. … So we felt guilt. And that was my entire picture of masculinity until I was way into my 30s, when I began to sort it out myself because I couldn’t establish and hold a relationship … I just couldn’t find a life with the information that he’d left me, and I was trying to over and over again.”

“The thing that happens is: when we can’t get the love we want from the parent we want it from, how do you create the intimacy you need? I can’t get to him and I can’t have him. I’ll be him. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll be him," the 'Badlands' singer continues. "I’m way into my 30s before I even have any idea that that’s my method of operation. I’m on stage. I’m in workmen’s clothes. I’ve never worked a job in my life. My dad was a beefy, bulky guy. I’ve played freaking guitar my whole life, but I’ve got 20 or 30 extra pounds on me from hitting the gym. Where’d that come from? Why do I spend hours lifting up and putting down heavy things for no particular reason? My entire body of work, everything that I’ve cared about, everything that I’ve written about, draws from his life story.”

Springsteen waited to have his own children until after he had tackled his issues with his father. “I don’t have my children until I’m 40,” he shares. “I’m eight years into looking into a lot of these things, because what I found out about that archetype was it was fucking destructive in my life. It drove away people I cared about. It kept me from knowing my true self. And I [realized]: ‘Well, if you wanna follow this road, go ahead. But you’re going to end up on your own, my friend. And if you want to invite some people into your life, you better learn how to do that.’”

Renegades: Born in the USA will be available for purchase beginning on Oct. 26.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission

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