If I’m up early enough, I can stand in my garage and watch the sun rise over Mt. Hood’s peak. I don’t like to be up early enough for that, but sometimes I am. It was a hell of a sunrise this morning, pink and orange and the mountain blue and hazy as the future. There’s promise, wonder, and a little bit of mystery in that haze. Today the future is inspiring.
I was on the phone at 6 a.m., taping a radio interview in Pittsburgh and failing miserably at guessing the results of an online poll ranking Bruce Springsteen’s best songs. It was fun. I was just live in Youngstown, Ohio. A little later this morning, I’ll give a call over to KEX for a few minutes in Portland. Tomorrow a podcast. Who knows what else?
Sunday, we’ll party. I know that. I can’t wait for that.
It’s been a strange 16 months. I wrote an essay that published yesterday on the essential Springsteen site, Backstreets. It’s about becoming a character in a Springsteen song while working on a book about Springsteen. It’s about turning onto my street the day I was laid off, and hearing “The Promise.” It’s about anger, and resolution. It’s about dancing. It’s about not letting the bastards get you down.
You can’t do any of that alone. And so a quick note of thanks–to pretty much everyone. So many people have been so great, so supportive, so determined to keep me from beating myself up. Far too many to name. Except for one: Peter Ames Carlin. Peter got me into this project, and then sat me down and yelled at me when I tried to talk myself out of it. You need friends like that. I owe him big.
And April and Stella: You made the highs higher and took the edge off the lows. You guys are just everything.
All the rest of you–and you know who you are–a million thanks.
Working on the book, my collection of bootlegs expanded exponentially. Some are pretty random. Some are recordings I should have already had. One of those is from August 20, 1981, the first of a six-night run in Los Angeles that became a fundraiser for the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation.
Springsteen was introducing “Johnny Bye Bye,” which he wrote (based on a Chuck Berry tune) for Elvis, after his death. Bruce talked about seeing Elvis on television and saying he wanted to be just like the King. Eventually he realized he didn’t want to be like him at all. Bruce said he wasn’t surprised when Elvis died. He’d seen him in Philadelphia not too long before, and it didn’t look good. Bruce said:
“Our dreams don’t mean nothing unless you’re strong enough to fight for them and make them come true, and hold on to yourself.”