Bruce Springsteen: ‘I didn’t set out to be rebellious’

Bruce Springsteen sat down with E Street Radio for an exclusive and intimate conversation about his new book Born To Run.

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SiriusXM Editor
November 22, 2016

Be a guest host on E Street Radio’s The Wild & The Innocent with Jim Rotolo, recorded at SiriusXM’s New York City studios. Travel and accommodation not included. Bid here.

E Street Radio’s Born To Run Introspective Premieres 12/2 at 4 pm ET on Ch. 20 (See complete broadcast schedule below)

Dave Marsh and Jim Rotolo recently sat down for an in-depth interview with Bruce Springsteen about his autobiography Born To Run. In addition, E Street Radio will air an exclusive special throughout December featuring passages from the new Born To Run audiobook, which Springsteen narrates himself, as well as songs that accompany the important musical moments in his life. The audiobook edition of Born to Run is available 12/6.

Named after his iconic 1975 album and song, Born To Run, the autobiography was released on Sept. 27 and has received critical acclaim. With the success of his book thus far, Marsh and Rotolo were curious if Springsteen ever planned to write a follow-up. His answer? Probably not.

“Not really, I think that’s my swan song. I had one story and I told it. But if something else came up, it would need to touch me as deeply [as the first one],” he explained. “Like they say, you write one book, and it’s like your first album. You’ve got 20-something years or 67 years to call upon and look back on. You write a second book or a second record, you’ve got about six months or a year. Yeah, I don’t know if I’d write again, but I wouldn’t discount it. I did enjoy it very much and if something came up, I’d do it.”

When asked to examine himself as a character within the book, Springsteen said he didn’t necessarily set out to have that outsider persona.

“It was the lay of the land for where I was coming from. I didn’t set out to be rebellious as a child; it just happened to me,” he explained. “Partly because of the way I was brought up and the lack of boundaries in certain ways. So you ended up a de facto outsider and de facto rebel in the sense that it was just who you were. …I wasn’t a misanthrope or somebody who wanted to live outside the bounds of society as part of a goal in my life. I was trying to find my way in and make it work. So where I came from initially was just the result of who I was and how I was brought up.”

While some parts of the book were more difficult to write than others, Springsteen said he enjoyed most of the process of penning his autobiography.

“Mainly I was just taking it day-to-day and writing as well as I could. I was enjoying myself writing some prose, which I hadn’t done previously,” he said. “I’d write a little bit and look back on it like, ‘Oh, that’s pretty good.’ So I was having fun with it. There were certain parts of the book where it became a little bit more work-like, but most of it was enjoyable and exciting to write.”

An acclaimed songwriter, Springsteen brought his keen attention to detail to his foray into biographical writing.

“The best strength you have of course is eye for detail,” he said. “That’s an ace in any writer’s hand, you’ve got to have good recall and a good eye for detail, because that’s what makes it real.”

Despite opening up in his autobiography, one thing Springsteen has enjoyed throughout his career is relative privacy, which he developed after many experiences that taught him how to go about being famous.

“A classic example is I used to go to this bar in Calabasas in California, and I would go there every Sunday,” he recalled. “I would sit at the bar every Sunday, and a relatively few amount of people would come up to me and hassle me in any way — it was easy to do. One Sunday I happened to be there with two or three guys that had worked for me, and they happened to be a little on the big side, so suddenly I was there with my bodyguards, and I got hassled more. … It was a lesson in how not to go through the world.”

A common theme in Born To Run is risk, and Springsteen believes it’s important to believe in yourself enough to take the risk of trying to be great.

“You have to have a part of you that believes in yourself enough to put yourself out there and say, ‘Hey, check this out,'” he said. “So there’s an inherent element of risk that anybody’s taking on the minute they walk out on stage.”

Springsteen’s wide-ranging conversation hosts Marsh and Rotolo also touched on topics such as fame, race, touring and performing, his 25-year marriage to Patti Scialfa, his goals in writing an autobiography and much more.

E Street Radio (Ch. 20) will air a special broadcast featuring segments from the audiobook BORN TO RUN, written and read by Bruce Springsteen, provided courtesy of Simon & Schuster Audio on Friday, 12/2 at 4 p.m. ET.

Catch replays of the special that same day at 8 p.m. ET; 12/3 at 12 a.m. ET, 8 a.m. ET and 12 p.m. ET; 12/4 at 5 p.m. ET; 12/5 at 9 a.m. ET, 4 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET; 12/6 at 12 a.m. ET, 8 a.m. ET, 12 p.m. ET, 3 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET; 12/7 at 10 a.m. ET and 6 p.m. ET; 12/8 at 2 p.m. ET; 12/9 at 4 p.m. ET; 12/10 at 12 a.m. ET and 8 a.m. ET; 12/11 at 9 p.m. ET; 12/16 at 9 a.m. ET and 4 p.m. ET; 12/17 at 12 a.m. ET and 8 a.m. ET; 12/18 at 12 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET; 12/24 at 9 a.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET; 12/25 at 6 a.m. ET, 4 p.m. ET and 10 p.m. ET; and 1/1 at 1 a.m. ET, 7 a.m. ET, 4 p.m. ET and 10 p.m. ET.

You can also hear the conversation anytime through the SiriusXM app on smartphones and other connected devices, as well as online at

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