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Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin
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Bruce (edition 2012)

by Peter Ames Carlin

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199959,063 (3.53)5
Member:AnotherAge
Title:Bruce
Authors:Peter Ames Carlin
Info:New York : Simon & Schuster, 2012.
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:non-fiction, biography, Bruce Springsteen, music, rock

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Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin

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Bruce
Author: Peter Ames Carlin
Publisher: Touchstone
Published In: New York City, NY
Date: 2012
Pgs: 494

REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Summary:
First biography of Springsteen in over 25 years that had the cooperation of Sprinsteen himself. Intimate. Vivid. Reflecting the heart and soul of America in an award winning music career spanning over 40 years. From the birth of the nickname, to the firing of the E Street Band in 1989, to the reunion tour of 1999 that The Boss almost went awry with ambivalence, from Freehold, New Jersey through the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Genre:
Behind the Scenes
Biography
Music
Non-fiction

Why this book:
Love Springsteen’s music. There were always rumors that he was a legendary dick. Can’t believe he allowed himself to be portrayed like this in a book written with as much access and direct contact as this author had. Course, maybe it was a hostile witness kind of thing and the Springsteen camp didn’t realize the hatchet job that was coming. And yes, I called it a hatchet job, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t true.
__________________________________________________​

Favorite Character:
The music.

Least Favorite Character:
Bruce. I knew he was a bit of a prima donna. But much in the same way that the Sinatra bio that I read awhile back, this one exposed things about his character that makes me wish I wouldn’t have read this book. His slapping of Pam Bracken in the middle of a fight over his cheating on her. These biographies alway knock the icons off the pedestal. But we want to know them in ways beyond the accepted media norm and their art. We end up with a vision of them warts and all in a more human and less media god sense. And more and more examples throughout the story.

The Feel:
Usually this section deals with the feel, emotion, contextual resonance of the novel, but this book’s physical feel was off. The dust jacket has a rubbery texture that I find disquieting, that’s not the right word for it, but there it is.

Favorite Scene:
Bruce and friends going to see Janis Joplin and her noticing him in the crowd, coming over to talk to him, and when she goes back on stage for her encore, he rabbits, described as having a deer in the headlights look. And her sending her road manager out to find the cute guy at the bar for her. Wow. And woof. And double wow.

During the mixing of Darkness on the Edge of Town, Bruce was trying to describe the sound he wanted on a specific song to sound mixer Chuck Plotkin, “picture a movie scene; two young lovers sharing a picnic in a sunlit park; sun is shining; grass is emerald; ducks paddle across the pond; camera zooms out to reveal, just behind them, a human corpse lying in the bushes behind them. This song is the dead body.”

Pacing:
Once passed the home life, the growing up, once you get to the music phase, the pace kicks up.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
I wanted the story of his draft notice, his father, their confrontation, and its resolution that he tells from the stage, occasionally. There is a small piece of the story here, only the part about his hair. Reader is left to wonder if the story he told from the stage was stagecraft instead of truth. It is an awesome story. Be a shame if it weren’t true. Can’t believe that having to go appear at the draft board in the shadow of Vietnam would miss being included in this book.

Hmm Moments:
Where the nickname came from is an illustration of the legendary, rumored douchiness of “The Boss.” A nickname born in the haze of home rules Monopoly games in the New Jersey music scene. ...really.

Bruce’s favorite book as a child was Brave Cowboy Bill, a story of a 6-year old “storming across the frontier, rounding up cattle rustlers, killing deer and elk for dinner, befriending Indians at gunpoint, killing bear, dominating the rodeo, and staying up all night singing songs by the campfire before going home to dream of the frontier.” Sounds a lot like Bruce Springsteen conquering the music world. Except for the Indians at gunpoint, though some of his band members might see similarities.

Steel Mill vs the Middeltown Police Department sounds a lot like a late 60s conservative police chief wanting to show those damned hippies that he was in charge. Horrible in the shadows of Kent State.

Thanks to this book I did something that I haven’t done in years. I listened to an LP all the way through. Born to Run is still a helluva album.

Bruce’s highs and lows and depression giving way to the giggles makes me wonder. It’s put down as his perfectionism fighting with his need to get on with it trying to come out of the studio on Born to Run. But I wonder if he had some clinical level something working not so far in the background of his psyche.

The idea of Springsteen walking every concert hall and amphitheater checking for echo and sound to make it right sounds mythological.

The thing that he did to his ex, Lynn Goldsmith at the No Nukes concerts in New York, twisting her arm cause she didn’t want to be dragged up on stage, for, horrors, showing up at a political cause show that she was connected to. How dare she! Bruce has extensive feet of clay. MTV burnished his image severely.
__________________________________________________​

Last Page Sound:
Glad I read it.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
glad I read it

Disposition of Book:
Half Price Books
__________________________________________________​ ( )
  texascheeseman | Mar 27, 2016 |
Longer review TK. ( )
  Caryn.Rose | Mar 18, 2015 |
Light on the 21st century, but a good read. ( )
  MikeRhode | Feb 5, 2014 |
It's a bit relentless as is Bruce's own character - moral, perfectionist yet amenable to change eventually. At times reading felt like a slog but it was interesting in parts - especially 9/11. It lacked humour and for an authorised biography revealed Bruce's dark side - which clearly was OK with Bruce. All in all a fascinating glimpse of how he got to be what he is. ( )
  jerhogan | Jun 19, 2013 |
I've never thought that a biography of Bruce Springsteen would be very interesting, and that's basically correct. Aside from a flubbed romance or two and some diva moments on stage, there is very little scandal or high life here. As an authorized biography, the author has presumably traded access for the freedom to speak his mind, but one does get the feeling that Springsteen is speaking fairly frankly in the interviews and Carlin does throw in some muted criticisms. The author is a very good writer, and manages to make a few insider topics such as some inequitable contracts and occasional interpersonal sitffness with the E Street Band and other staffers interesting. The book is enough of a job to read that one's interest level and evaluation of its quality will probably hinge on how compelling they find Springsteen's music. ( )
  Big_Bang_Gorilla | May 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
...

But let's give the Boss his due – and Carlin his, for he does not shrink from Springsteen's sometimes shoddy treatment of women and musical personnel. At one show, he noticed an ex-girlfriend in the wings, dragged her up on stage, introduced her to the crowd – and then told security to kick her out. When a tour manager ordered chicken cordon bleu instead of the preferred fried chicken, Springsteen (sounding rather like Elvis) demanded to know "What's this shit?" before throwing it in the poor man's face.

...
added by marq | editThe Guardian, Giles Harvey (Nov 28, 2012)
 
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For Sarah Carlin Ames – "This is not a dark ride."
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Första gången någon kallade Bruce Springsteen The Boss var i början på 1971, i matsalen i en kylig lägenhet i utkanten av Asbury Parks centrum.
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