Entertainment Music ‘The Boss’ gets political in Perth – Springsteen firmly in anti–Trump corner

‘The Boss’ gets political in Perth – Springsteen firmly in anti–Trump corner

Bruce Springsteen Perth
Bruce Springsteen said one of the jobs of the band is to "inspire people through tough times". Photo: ABC (David Weber)
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Bruce Springsteen, who kicked off his latest Australian tour in Perth on Sunday night, proclaims his band will form part of the “resistance” against Donald Trump.

Springsteen has been a critic of many Republican presidents over the years, and in this sense, Mr Trump is no different.

But with the inauguration and the protests over the weekend, the performer known as “The Boss” has admitted to feeling a long way from home.

“It feels a long ways away, but our hearts and our spirits are with all the millions of people that marched yesterday, and the E Street Band — we are part of the new resistance,” he said.

The campaign and election of Donald Trump will influence the band’s set lists in Australia, Springsteen told the ABC.

“Art’s responsibility is always the same thing — it is to witness and to testify,” he said.

“That is the basic job of the E Street Band, we observe and we report.

“We witness and we testify and hopefully through doing so, we lift up and help people transcend and we try to inspire people during tough times — it’s been our job for 40 years and it will continue to be so in the next coming years.”

Springsteen accepted that some of his traditional fans — and the types of people who have featured in his songs during his career — would have supported Mr Trump.

“Plenty of good people voted for Donald Trump on the basis that I’ve written about for 30 years, which was the de-industrialisation of the United States and globalisation, and the technological revolution hit many people very very very very hard,” he said.

Springsteen ‘hopes Trump succeeds’ on job promises

He said the economic recovery had not benefited everyone.

“It makes you easy pickings for a demagogue, which I believe Donald Trump is, with some very powerful statements,” Springsteen said.

“I hope he succeeds, if he can bring those jobs back I hope he does.

“If he can get a big infrastructure program going that will get people hired, I hope that that happens, I hope he keeps some of his promises.”

The Australia-New Zealand tour comprises Springsteen’s first major run of big shows with the E Street Band since his autobiography Born To Run was published in September.

It was a book about his inspirations, his bandmates, his successes, his struggles with the business, and the — relatively few — women in his life.

Serious, long-term fans probably knew about the performer’s sometimes fraught relationship with his father, yet the book projected the loving side of that relationship too.

What was more surprising was the impact that depression has had on his life.

Springsteen said the autobiography fit into the approach he had always taken in his career.

“Hopefully the idea of the book is it deepens your relationship with your audience. That’s been my pursuit since I started, and continues to be so today,” he said.

“I’m trying to deepen our conversation about life in general, things that hopefully matter to me and hopefully matter to them.

“Martin Scorsese once said the job of the artist is to get the audience to care about your obsessions, and to meet you in the middle and see what you have in common.

“So I think the book will deepen the concerts and peoples’ relationship with our band — that’s my hope anyway.”

Australia to become ‘regular stop’ on tours

Asked whether it was easier to be Bruce Springsteen now than before, he laughed that it was “pretty easy”, but said questioning himself was what drove him as an artist.

Springsteen’s 2017 Summer Tour is his third Australian jaunt in five years.

He said the reason he was touring Australia more often was because of audience reception.

“We hit something that felt like a deeper relationship, a deeper connection to our audience down here and suddenly it just got very, very exciting and very, very fulfilling and it’s gonna be a regular stop on our tours from here on in, that’s for sure,” he said.

“We’ve developed a beautiful audience, dedicated audience down here and that always feels great.”

Springsteen said he had a new album ready to go but “it’s just sort of sitting there, waiting”.

After three concerts in Perth, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band head to Adelaide, before shows in the eastern states in February.


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