TAMPA, Fla. — Bruce Springsteen held his first press conference of any sort since 1987 here Thursday, to drum up interest in his halftime performance at the Super Bowl.
Based on the fact several hundred international media showed up to hear what he and his E Street Band mates had to say at the Tampa Convention Center, the word of Bruce surely has quickly been spread to every corner of the globe.
What follows are some of the comments, in chronogical order, from the 20-minute-long event:
Springsteen: “If there’s going to be a lot of questions about football, this is going to be the shortest press conference ever. Because I don’t know anything about it.”
“Clarence actually played football, which is why he has the cane.”
“It’s my first press conference with anything wrapped around the mike (an NFL logo).”
“As far as who decides the songs, well … I’m the boss. The boss decides what to play. Nobody else decides. People suggest … hint … beg … cajole. But I decide.”
“I did play in a (football) game in my backyard around the summer of 1958. But I haven’t played a lot since. I’ll date myself now. When I think Steelers, I think Terry Bradshaw. When he retired they said ‘Terry, what are you gonna do now?’ He said ‘I’m gonna live like my dog.’ They said ‘What do you mean?’ And he said ‘My dog just lives to live.’ I don’t think he did that, but that’s the first thing I associate with Terry Bradshaw, so that’s my knowledge about football.”
“As far as the Inauguration goes (Springsteen played in the Opening Inaugural Celebration Jan. 19 at the Lincoln Memorial), it was a good warm-up for this. We’ll have a lot of crazy football fans, but you won’t have a Lincoln staring over your shoulder. So that takes some of the pressure off.”
“What’s special for me right now is I really believe our band is going through sort of a golden age. We’ve made three of some of our best records in a row, which is really one of the reasons we’re here. And the band, on the last tour, played the best it’s ever played.”
“We’ve been on the road a while. We’re some old soldiers. But the band’s still really burning, and I want people to know about the record. It’s been a good year.”
Nils Lofgren: “It (the atmosphere at Arizona’s 32-25 NFC championship win over Philadelphia in Glendale, Ariz.) kind of reminded me of our last shows in Barcelona, recently actually. There were about 72 and a half thousand people in Barcelona. It was that level of intensity and just joy.”
Lofgren: “Whether it’s four hours, three and a half, it’s full out, out of the gate. You get to get lost in this great music and don’t come for air till it’s over.”
Springsteen: “The idea of the show is you’re going to the Meadowlands or one of the shows that we regularly play. You get lost on the way. You’re watching the clock and ‘Damn, the show’s starting.’ You stop in a bar to get some directions. The bar gets held up while you’re there. It takes another 45 minutes to get out of there. You come back and you miss your exit on the turnpike. So you drive another 30 to get back around there. So you make it into the stadium at two hours and 48 minutes of the show. That’s what you’re gonna see. The last 12 minutes.”
On why he thinks he’s drawing young fans on tours now as well as baby boomers:
“Just by sticking around long enough. You don’t die and people get a chance to see you. You’ve been around and around and around and around, and suddenly young people show up in the front rows at night. It’s nice. We sort of skipped a generation somewhere in there, and then the last two tours we’ve noticed a large influx of young people.”
“There was a time when music was intentionally factionalized. It was very hard along generational lines. For some reason, it might have to do with the Internet or some other things, but people are just taking their music wherever they can find it. Cause people are like me, they like the White Stripes, they like rap music – it just cuts across the board. It’s great.”
“It’s a very, very exciting to come out and see young folks in the crowd. Because we come out and we play like we’re 16. That’s the point.
“I think the main thing you have to remember is we’re playing where the cheerleaders usually go. Basically, we want it to be a 12-minute party.
Steve Van Zandt: “I think one of the things we’re kind of proud of is there is a certain inspirational quality to what we do. Because of when we grew up, we had very high standards in the ‘60s. We’re trying to attain that kind of greatness that we grew up with, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, people like that, Bob Dylan. So we’ll always kind of be 16, like Bruce said. We’re always trying to attain that greatness that we grew up with. Which really gives us that extra motivation when we get on stage. I think that helps communicate a little bit of inspiration.”
Springsteen: “Initially (playing the Super Bowl) was sort of a novelty. It didn’t quite feel right. I was with a young musician … and we got talking about the Super Bowl. He said why don’t you play Super Bowls. I said ‘Well, they kind of play in the middle of a football game.’ He said ‘Someday, I hope my band is big enough to play in a Super Bowl.’ “
“I think that really, why we said yes this year – they asked us many times – was because one, we have new album coming out, dummy! Come on! Therer’s a new record in the stores! It just happened to come out this past week.”
“We have our mercenary reasons, of course. Besides our deep love of football.
“Really, we have a record out, blah blah blah, blah blah blah, but we’ve made three really, I think, great records in a row, and I think this is one fo the best of them. I believe the music that we’re making right now, I think it’s rare for a band of our vintage to be in the studio and writing and recording as well as I think we have. That’s important to me, because the job’s important to me. I like my job, I love my job. We come out to inspire and that’s a part of what we do.”
“They throw money at us and we keep that, too. But we do come out to inspire.”
“They’ve really moved it from being some sort of novelty moment to a moment when you can come out and do what you do. You just come out and be the band that you are and do what you do. It’s a great show for the folks at home. It’s fun.”
“The main thing I’m really proud of is just the band at this point in time. We stayed together. We stayed alive, that’s hard to do for people in our business.”
“Also, imagine you’re working alongside the same people you were with in high school for 40 years or so and keeping that together.”
“In the end it’s corny, but it’s the long, long ride that it’s all about, the fact that I’ve been able to have these guys and ladies at my side and we’ve made it this far and that we’re here to do it. It’s the consistency. Professionalism is alive and well. We just want to carry on and give people some smiles on Sunday and a good time and some inspiration.”