Book One: Growin’ Up
for who I am, a lost boy king,
Organ music, and the wooden doors of our church swing open
this modest farmhouse was a mansion on a hill
From over the sea, the gods returned, just in time
an “it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive” mantra and simultaneously the worst and most glorious band name in all of rock ’n’ roll history
enough true tone and range. I didn’t give myself credit for being able to immerse myself in what I was singing. Joe Strummer, Mick Jagger and many of the great rock ’n’ roll and punk front men did not possess great voices but their blood-and-guts conviction, their ownership of their songs, made up for it and lent them deep personal style
was listening to Morrison, and Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen, and was interested in returning to my soul roots
Even spoke on the phone to a high school–age Patti Scialfa, dispensing the fatherly advice that this was a traveling gig and it’d be best for a young lady to stay in school
Incident” particularly featured a theme I’d return to often in the future: the search for redemption.
Book Two: Born To Run
wanted to craft a record that sounded like the last record on Earth, like the last record you might hear . . . the last one you’d ever NEED to hear. One glorious noise . . . then the apocalypse.
wanted to use the classic rock ’n’ roll images, the road, the car, the girl . . . what else is there? It was a language enshrined by Chuck Berry, the Beach Boys, Hank Williams and every lost highwayman going back to the invention of the wheel. But to make these images matter, I would have to shape them into something fresh, something that transcended nostalgia, sentiment and familiarity.
People don’t come to rock shows to learn something. They come to be reminded of something they already know and feel deep down in their gut.
In “Wreck on the Highway,” my character confronts death and an adult life where time is finite. On a rainy night he witnesses a fatal accident. He drives home, and lying awake next to his lover, he realizes you have a limited number of opportunities to love someone, to do your work, to be a part of something, to parent your children, to do something good.
I later realized we weren’t making a record, we were on an odyssey, toiling in the vineyards of pop, searching for complicated answers to mystifying questions
I wanted to kill what loved me because I couldn’t stand being loved.
Book Three: Living Proof
The bass player stepped forward to my son, rolled up his sleeve and showed Evan a verse of “Badlands” he had tattooed on his forearm. Pointing to it, he said, “Look, it’s your dad.”
engaged in a lifelong dialogue,
The premise of The Ghost of Tom Joad. What is the work for us to do in our short time here?
Youngstown” and “The New Timer” were two songs inspired by a book called Journey to Nowhere by my friends Dale Maharidge and Michael Williamson. Both songs chronicled the effects of post-industrialization in the
You did the best you could,” I said.
We honor our parents by carrying their best forward and laying the rest down. By fighting and taming the demons that laid them low and now reside in us. It’s all we can do if we’re lucky. I’m lucky. I have a wife I love, a beautiful daughter and two handsome sons. We are close.