THE HOLD STEADY
“Aging gracefully in rock is about the hardest thing to do, but Bruce looks awesome. I get the feeling he’s interested in not just the music, but how he fits into the right-now. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t have embarrassing missteps. He’s not going to come out with a rock opera. He’s not going to do Trans, like Neil Young, or a hip-hop record. ‘Girls in Their Summer Clothes’ — you feel like you’ve heard him sing that before, but you haven’t. And right when he hits the chorus, you’re like, ‘Fuck, yeah!’ He gives cinematic scope in a song. ‘Jungleland’ is a great example: I want to know more about the Magic Rat. That’s how I came up with the idea of having characters I can revisit in songs. Or ‘Rosalita’ — Sloppy Sue and Weak Knees Willie. I want to know more about them. He’s funny, too: ‘You ain’t a beauty, but hey, you’re all right.’ When we played with him at Carnegie Hall [last April], he put his arm around me and said, ‘Thanks for holding it down out there, brother.’ The sweetest words I’ve ever heard.”
“Springsteen is just one of those people you always trust. Aside from the fact that he has written some unbelievably moving, epic works of rock’n’roll, you feel like no matter what, he’s going to deliver. Dylan is a genius, but sometimes you get the sense he’ll just do whatever he wants, while a Springsteen show is a totally satisfying, huge, amazing, powerful event. You never get the sense he wishes he were somewhere else. When people pay to see your show, you have to respect that and give it your all. He’s still moving forward and trying things — half the songs on Magic are as good as Born to Run. And somehow, he just feels like a normal guy trying to figure stuff out. It’s not polished. He doesn’t have the answers. He gets into the awkward, creepy parts of desire and insecurity, and when he talks about something, you actually think that’s what he feels and believes.”
Read the Dec. 2007 cover story on Win Butler and Bruce Springsteen here.