BRUCE Springsteen doesn't mince words when discussing his artistic drive. In a lengthy, tantalising profile in The New Yorker, Springsteen says his ambitions have been driven by three separate but connected emotions: "pure fear and self-loathing and self-hatred".
It's a rare look at vulnerability from a rock star, especially one at the arena and stadium level. Though issues of self-doubt appear to have plagued Springsteen for much of his career, the artist speaks of conquering his demons in nearly romanticised terms. Rather than having a polarising effect on his creativity, Springsteen's emotional headaches forced him to the stage, he tells the magazine.
Says Springsteen: "With all artists, because of the undertow of history and self-loathing, there is a tremendous push toward self-obliteration that occurs onstage. It's both things: There's a tremendous finding of the self while also an abandonment of the self at the same time. You are free of yourself for those hours; all the voices in your head are gone. Just gone".
Things got so bad, says Springsteen's biographer and friend Dave Marsh, that the artist in 1982 even contemplated suicide. "The depression wasn't shocking, per se. He was on a rocket ride, from nothing to something," Marsh said, of the period surrounding Springsteen's career-defining stark, acoustic effort Nebraska.
The Boss' emotional turmoil wasn't a complete surprise, The New Yorker writes. After all, Springsteen openly discussed the inspiration behind the song My Father's House (from Nebraska) onstage, revealing to his fans that the song developed through conversations with his psychotherapist.