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Bruce Springsteen
Anyone who has even the vaguest notion of modern rock and roll music knows that this man helped bring in the revolution. He's carved out a place for himself in history right up there with Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Bob Dylan - with over a dozen top-selling albums and double that in classic Top Ten hit singles. He's a rock and roll icon, superstar, and like the graffiti they used to write in the late '70s on all the New York subway trains, he's 'The Boss'.

Bruce Springsteen is without a question, the world's most famous rock and roller today. Ask any 10 people to name the first rock musician that comes to their mind, and they might say Eric Clapton or John Lennon, but more often than not, Springsteen's name will come up. For as long as rock has been synonymous with roll, this man has been considered one of the world's greatest singer-songwriters. During a decade in which disco, heavy-metal and arena-rock provided different forms of escape into fantasy, this man soared high, catapulting himself to fame on the unrestrained energy of his live shows, the evocative power of his songwriting, and the direct connection he forged with his listeners. And he's still one of very few artists to emerge out of the introspective singer-songwriter era of the early '70s, who's managed to keep churning out hit after hit well into the next century. There's no use in us regurgitating all the numbers and success, but needless to say - his most recent LP, The Rising, entered the Billboard charts at No. 1 in 2002, sold a couple of million copies and earned the Boss three Grammy’s in 2003. To even list all his accomplishments is futile. Just the fact that we are still talking about Bruce Springsteen at this point in his life and have put him on our magazine's cover…is a tribute to all that he has accomplished.

Here's the really big news…after a gap of three long years, the Boss is back. Bruce Springsteen releases his nineteenth album Devils & Dust this month, and we at The Record were given an exclusive first look and listen inside the album. Produced by Brendan O'Brien, who first worked with Springsteen on his last studio release, from what we've heard and seen so far, we guarantee that this will the biggest album of the summer. As usual, we scored another exclusive transcript for our readers, courtesy the management at Sony-BMG India, we managed to get the legend himself to fill us in on what the new album's all about…

So what's the new album all about?
Springsteen: I've been happily busy. (Laughs) I have music to sing. What I did on this new record is what I've done on a few other you tell very specific narratives stories. These are all songs about people whose souls are in danger or at risk through where they are in the world and what the world is bringing to them…that's a human constant. And whether people are religious or spiritual or not, that risk is something people instinctively feel on a daily basis…

Devils & Dust - that is an interesting title. It's also the first single off the album. What's that all about?
Springsteen: The idea of Devils And Dust is sort of...fighting that thing that's eating away at you and it's often this very amorphous confusing battle you know. (Laughs) It's dusty, hard to see, hard to find your way through battle and I think that has a lot to do with a lot of the characters on a lot of my records and on this one particularly. It is basically a song about a soldier's point of view in Iraq. But it kind of opens up to a lot of other interpretations…

Many are calling the album a sort of sequel to 1995's The Ghost Of Tom Joad. Do you agree with that?
Springsteen: (Laughs) You have to be constantly writing from your inner pool, no matter how you early records whether it was from New York City or the Jersey Shore or set in the West….you're still writing from the essential core of who you are...that has to be there in every song or the song dies..

You're on your own this time once again…you recorded without the E-Street Band, so it's basically just you and your guitar on this album. Any reason behind that?
Springsteen: Playing alone creates a sort of drama and intimacy for the audience. They know it's just them and just you. I was signed as a guy with an acoustic guitar when I was 22...that's how I was signed to my record deal.

But playing with a band has always been an important part for you…
Springsteen: Always. Even when I was in my late teens I had a band. But then on another night I would get out of the coffee shop and I would sing like a whole group of songs that wouldn't work in a bar or needed more attention or just were different…

And you've been doing that ever since. A lot of your songs tell stories about different ordinary people. What makes people so interesting to you?
Springsteen: The people who are interesting are the people who have something eating at them. And they're not exactly sure of what that thing is. The characters on this record are all trying to find their way through that...through those questions. And some do somewhat successfully…and some come to tragic ends…

Cool. So what makes a song really good in your book?
Springsteen: The Artist is always creating a box, we are always creating this world where in the end you sort of get caught inside of you're always looking for a trap door. And you're always trying to come up with different stylistic ideas to help you just suddenly kind of transition out of that box. Here on this record I've set people against this big landscape that wows you off...and these are people in emotionally life or death circumstances…

Your voice takes on a different form on this record….
Springsteen: Your own voice is supposed to...if you're doing it supposed to disappear into the voice of the person you're singing about and who's telling you a story again...what would they do, what they wouldn't would they behave in the circumstances. Lyrically I also try to tonally find the small shifts and turns that sounded like the characters I was trying to sing about. Some of it is very light you totally different vocal tonalities help me approach songs from a very fresh point of makes the characters feel very alive.

You can read the rest of our cover story on Bruce Springsteen in the April 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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