Hartman Group As rock 'n' roll's preeminent purist, it makes perfect sense…
- Posted on Mar 5th 2012 5:00PM by Jason MacNeil
Taylor Hill, FilmMagic
As previously reported, Springsteen said what was done to the U.S. was "un-patriotic and un-American." But turns out he also opined more on President Barack Obama, praising him for the death of Osama bin Laden, assisting the auto sector and healthcare legislation but also criticizing the President on his corporate and employment policies.
"He's more friendly to corporations than I thought he would be, and there aren't as many middle-class or working-class voices heard in the administration as I thought there would be," Springsteen said. "I would have liked to see more active job creation sooner than it came, and I'd like to have seen some of these foreclosures stopped or somehow mitigated. The banks have had some kind of settlement, a partial settlement, but really, there's a lot of people it's not going to assist."
Springsteen also described the first half of the new 'Wrecking Ball' album as "very angry."
"The genesis of the record was after 2008, when we had the huge financial crisis in the States, and there was really no accountability for years and years," he said. "People lost their homes, and I had friends who were losing their homes, and nobody went to jail." The musician also said prior to the Occupy Wall Street movement and related protests, "there was no voice that was saying just how outrageous -- that a basic theft had occurred that struck at the heart of what the entire American idea was about."
As for the title track, which Springsteen debuted at the closing string of dates at Giants Stadium in 2009, the singer said the song was an apt description of the recent economic downturn.
'Wrecking Ball' seemed like a metaphor for what had occurred -- it's an image where something is destroyed to build something new, and it was also an image [suggesting] just the flat destruction of some fundamental American values and ideas that occurred over the past 30 years," he said. "It was a 30-year process of deregulation and difficult things that added up to the inequality that we're experiencing in the States right now."
Citing his own childhood where his father lost his job leaving his mother to be "the primary breadwinner," Springsteen also commented on the anger in the U.S. regardless of one's location on the political spectrum.
"Those conditions are present in the U.S. right now, where you have a service economy overtaking a manufacturing economy," he said. "You've got a lot of guys who worked in manufacturing whose jobs have disappeared, and who are not necessarily coming out of those manufacturing jobs with the skills to move into a service economy. It's a very, very different world. And so you have quite a few homes where the man is no longer the primary breadwinner.
"I think that the lack of work creates a loss of self. Work creates an enormous sense of self, as I saw in my mother. When your father doesn't have those things, it results in a house that turns into quite a bit like a minefield. And it can be abusive in different ways -- just tremendous emotional turmoil. So I kind of lost him, and I think a lot of that anger that surfaced in my music from day one comes out of that particular scene."
Springsteen also revealed he was working on a "gospel album package" before commencing work on 'Wrecking Ball,' with between 30 to 40 songs written. Three of the songs -- 'We Take Care Of Our Own,' 'Shackled and Drawn' and 'Rocky Ground' -- were originally written for the gospel-oriented effort. Meanwhile, Springsteen cited some of the samples used on the record as being "voices from history and other sides of the grave."
"If you listen to the record, I use a lot of folk music," he said. "There's some Civil War music. There's gospel music. There are '30s horns in 'Jack of All Trades.' That's the way I used the music -- the idea was that the music was going to contextualize historically that this has happened before: it happened in the 1970s, it happened in the '30s, it happened in the 1800s...it's cyclical."
Springsteen also said that the passing of Clarence Clemons didn't have a huge impact on the album's creation as "most of the record was made; 95 percent of it was made, and it wasn't an E Street Band record."
"We were lucky to get him on 'Land of Hope & Dreams,' which was essential -- really essential," he said. "When he comes up, it's just a lovely moment for me."
Springsteen performs this Friday at New York's Apollo Theater before delivering the keynote speech and playing Austin's South By Southwest on March 15. His 'Wrecking Ball' world tour begins properly March 18 in Atlanta, Georgia before heading to Europe later in the year.
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