Springsteen recently disclosed that, as he entered his sixties, he endured a long bout with depression. On Sunday’s interview, the rocker further discussed that phase.
“It lasted for a long time – it would last for a year and then it would slip away. Then it would come back for a year-and-a-half,” Springsteen said, adding that he combated the depression with help from his wife and E Street band member Patti Scialfa.
“It sneaks up on you. It’s like this thing that engulfs you. I got to where I didn’t want to get out of bed, you know? And you’re not behaving well at home and you’re tough on everybody. Hopefully not the kids. I always try to hide it from the kids. But you know, Patti really had to work with me through it. And her strength and the love she had was very important as far as guiding me through it. She said, ‘Well, you’re gonna be okay. Maybe not today or tomorrow! But it’s gonna be all right.'”
Hitting the studio also helped pull Springsteen out of his emotional rut. “I believe every artist had someone who told them that they weren’t worth dirt and someone who told them that they were the second coming of the baby Jesus, and they believed ‘em both,” Springsteen said of his artistic drive. “And that’s the fuel that starts the fire.”
During the interview, which also featured Springsteen giving CBS’ Anthony Mason a tour of his hometown, Springsteen spoke at length about his relationship with late E Street saxophonist Clarence “The Big Man” Clemons, who died from complications following a stroke in 2011.
“It was very primal,” Springsteen said of their relationship. “It was just, ‘Oh, you’re some missing part of me. You’re some dream I’m having.’ He was this huge force, you know? While at the same time being very fragile and very dependent himself, which is maybe what the two of us had in common. We were both kind of insecure down inside. And we both felt kind of fragile and unsure of ourselves. But when we were together we felt really powerful.”
Springsteen added that while the two were close as band mates, they were not really friends off the stage. “We were very different people, you know? Clarence lived fast and loose and wild and wide-open, you know? And I tended to be a little more conservative,” Springsteen said, joking that a friendship with Clemons would “ruin” his life. “But Clarence could be Clarence excellently. He was very good at it.”
Springsteen’s autobiography Born to Run hits shelves September 27th.