An outspoken critic of Donald Trump, Bruce Springsteen says his new solo album avoids sticking the boot into the US President.
The Boss has slammed Trump on numerous occasions calling him a “dangerous, toxic narcissist” in a Channel 4 interview last October and telling the BBC that Trump is a “conman” who is "playing" with people.
Then in April of this year, Bruce lent his vocals to a track called ‘That’s What Makes Us Great’ by Houserockers frontman Joe Grushecky, which criticises various aspects of the Trump administration.
Now, in a fresh interview with Variety, Bruce says that his upcoming as-yet-untitled solo album is “not topical at all” and contains absolutely no “anti-Trump diatribes.”
Asked what his next project will be after his Broadway residency, Bruce said: “I suppose the record that I haven’t released. It’s not topical at all - topical writing at the moment doesn’t hold a lot of interest to me.
“I really got out a lot of what I had to say in that vein on ‘Wrecking Ball’. I’m not driven to write any anti-Trump diatribe; that doesn’t feel necessary at the moment.”
Bruce Springsteen © PA Images
Pushed as to why this is, Bruce responded: “Because it’s everywhere and all over, ya know? It feels a little redundant to me at the moment. And, once again, I always try to look at what I can deliver that’s personal to me and of most value.
“The audience has a wide variety of needs; whatever you’re writing, you’re trying to meet your own need, and as I’ve said in other interviews, Marty Scorsese once said, ‘The job of the artist is to make the audience care about your obsessions.’ So I hope I write about the things that obsess me well enough for my audience to care about them.”
He continued: “I’m ambivalent about … sort of getting on a soapbox. I still believe people fundamentally come to music to be entertained — yes, to address their daily concerns, and yes, also to address political topics, I believe music can do that well. But I still believe fundamentally it’s an affair of the heart.
“People want you to go deeper than politics, they want you to reach inside to their most personal selves and their deepest struggles with their daily lives and reach that place; that’s the place I’m always trying to reach. I’d never make a record that’s just polemical, I wouldn’t release it if I did. To me, that’s just an abuse of your audience’s good graces.
“But if I’m moved, I’ll write, say, something like ‘American Skin’ (inspired by the 1999 shooting of Amadou Diallo). That just rolled very naturally for me, and that’s as good a topical song as I’ve ever written. And when it comes up, I write ’em. If I felt that strongly, I’d do it now. But I watch myself, because I think you can weigh upon your audience’s indulgence in the wrong way.”
Questioned what he meant, Bruce added: “I never wanted to be just a proselytizer for an ideological point of view. That’s not my job; that’s somebody else’s job. And if you even look back to Woody Guthrie’s material, he didn’t do that. He wrote these very full character pieces that, whether you were there in the Depression or not, they live today. They weren’t hollow, they weren’t one-dimensional; they were these very full character pieces about the times. I still aspire to that, really, and if it has political implications that’s fine and if it doesn’t that’s fine too.”
Bruce Springsteen began his Broadway residency at the 960 capacity Walter Kerr Theatre last night (3rd October). Due to phenomenal demand, the initial eight-week run was recently extended through to 3rd February 2018.
Bruce Springsteen © PA Images