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Exclusive: The Complete Text of Bruce Springsteen's SXSW Keynote Address

Page 9 of 9

So, perhaps Lester Bangs wasn't completely right, for here we all are tonight in this town together, musicians, young and old, celebrating, each, perhaps in our own way, a sense of freedom that was Woody's legacy. So, rumble, young musicians, rumble. Open your ears and open your hearts. Don't take yourself too seriously, and take yourself as seriously as death itself. Don't worry. Worry your ass off. Have ironclad confidence, but doubt – it keeps you awake and alert. Believe you are the baddest ass in town, and, you suck!

It keeps you honest. It keeps you honest. Be able to keep two completely contradictory ideas alive and well inside of your heart and head at all times. If it doesn't drive you crazy, it will make you strong. And stay hard, stay hungry, and stay alive. And when you walk onstage on tonight to bring the noise, treat it like it's all we have. And then remember, it's only rock and roll. I think I may go out and catch a little black death metal. Thank you.

This transcript of the speech was produced by NPR and edited for readability by Rolling Stone. Hear NPR's full broadcast of the speech here:

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