.

Springsteen Talks 'Darkness' With Ed Norton

Singer, actor discuss how Springsteen had 'survivor's guilt' after the success of 'Born to Run.' Plus: a preview of 'Darkness' outtakes

September 16, 2010 1:55 PM ET

On Tuesday, before the Toronto Film Festival's world premiere of The Promise: The Making of Darkness On The Edge of Town, Bruce Springsteen sat down with his friend, actor Ed Norton, for a one-hour interview. The two discussed the movie — which shows remarkable footage of Springsteen recording the seminal album Darkness On The Edge of Town — the singer's upbringing and influences, and his state of mind as he wrote and recorded.

Gallery: Vintage Bruce Springsteen Photos

When Springsteen joined him, the two joked about the fact that they were identically dressed (in dark jeans, black shirt and boots). Norton quickly moved on to more serious topics, asking about the "darkness" in Springsteen's lyrics — and "our country." Springsteen cited Bob Dylan's Highway 61 as a major influence when he was 15 years old, calling it "the first true picture of how my country felt." He explained that he and the E Street Band were "provincial guys with no money," no acquaintances with record deals, and a feeling that New York was "a million miles away."

All that changed, of course, with the phenomenal success of 1975's Born to Run. Springsteen said he suddenly felt like a "mutant" in his own neighborhood, and experienced "survivor's guilt." This compelled him, he explained, to chronicle his childhood and create a "conversation" with his audience. "I was in search of a purposeful work life," he told Norton.

The fruits of that purpose were the focus yesterday at a small listening session, where Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa were joined by Springsteen's long-time manager, Jon Landau, who played eight previously unreleased songs and five video clips from the forthcoming The Darkness On The Edge of Town box set. (In addition to the remastered album, it includes the documentary and 21 unused songs from the sessions.)

Landau called the session a "64-minute version of a seven hour production." Four songs stood out for having love and relationships as their topics — one theme you won't find on the Darkness album. On the light, rollicking "Gotta Get That Feeling," Springsteen sings, "Hey girl, won't you come out tonight?" There's also "Ain't Good Enough For You" ("you criticize about me endlessly/Logic defies how you got stuck with me"); "Someday (We'll Be Together)," which is a romantic ballad with a bit of a '50s feel; and "Talk To Me," about a guy pining for a girl whose "dad won't ever let me in." As the documentary makes evident, Springsteen ruthlessly discarded songs from the extensive recording sessions for Darkness. In the film, Springsteen says, "I felt like I didn't know how to write [love] songs at that time." Fans will soon be able to judge.

Related:
'Darkness' Reissue To Include Unheard Springsteen Tunes
Dave Marsh's 1978 review of Darkness on the Edge of Town
Bruce Springsteen's Rolling Stone Artist Page

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com