Music Features

Interview with Springsteen author Peter Ames Carlin

Peter Ames Carlin, whose previous books have examined the lives of Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney, now turns his eye to another musical icon, Bruce Springsteen.  What do these artists have in common?  We talk about that and much more in our interview with him on his new biography titled Bruce, charting Springsteen’s family history, young life and long career up to the present day.  This is a must for Springsteen fans because, while his superstar period has been well researched in the books of Dave Marsh and others, a fully investigated reporting of his youth and early career is long overdue.  Many of us who are devoted fans will recognize the highlights that are well known – the fight with manager Mike Appel, the public blow up with ex girlfriend Lynne Goldsmith, etc.  But new details and background are added that surprised this reviewer, who has read many of the books on the subject.  The real treasure trove for fans is the charting of the early years, which provides a better understanding of Bruce the man, before he became “Bruuuuuuuuuuuuceee!”.  But Carlin hasn’t written a book for Bruce geeks, mired in superfluous details.  He does his best to give a balanced account for the general reader, of the life of an important American artist.  He has researched the book well and was even provided extensive access to the man himself.  That doesn’t mean the portrait that emerges is sugar-coated, as Carlin presents many of Springsteen’s tougher moments in stark relief.  We are left with an understanding of a fairly regular guy with ordinary human failings, almost burdened by an extraordinary talent that has given him great responsibility for himself and others – a burden that he has occasionally had to put aside. 

In my discussion with Mr. Carlin, I try to get a closer look between the pages to provide a supplement to your reading of the book, which on behalf of Noripcord, I heartily recommend.  The audio of our discussion is posted on the High and Low Podcast at the link below