Join 3,495 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"How important can this speech be if we're giving it at noon?"
March 16, 2012 2:16 AM   Subscribe

Bruce Springsteen's SXSW 2012 Keynote Address
posted by Optamystic (42 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bruuuuuuuuce!
posted by caddis at 3:56 AM on March 16, 2012


No longer the Boss. Just a shill for rich marketeers. I saw a bit on CNN on south by southwest and wanted to go in person and punch everyone, including the presenter. I will give CNN props for explaining what the sxsw stood for though. Their dedication to imparting new information, again and again to their audience remains unbeaten. CNN is a test designed to provoke an emotional response.
posted by Yowser at 4:19 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Only 15 minutes in, but what a funny, heartfelt and gladdening speech. Thanks for posting.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:20 AM on March 16, 2012


I liked the talk.

BUT

What the hell is that accent Bruce has developed over the years? Isn't he a New Jersey boy who has spent the last several decades being a very wealthy resident of Los Angeles and New Jersey? Has he been spending his summers working as a tobacco sharecropper somewhere on the Tennessee-Oklahoma border?
posted by pracowity at 5:02 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Keynote address, sure, but also an extended and very personal meditation on how various music opened up Springsteen's heart and ears, how it shaped his convictions about what pop music means, and how it directly influenced his creative process. The first few minutes are so-so, but he really gets going around 9:30, and it's a pleasure to see him re-think, out loud, how what many of us think of as dinosaur rock and roll was a living, breathing force that drove through his life and spoke to his situation. Briefly, toward the end of his speech, he touches on his own self-awareness about being a star, and how he likes his "Pink Cadillac" and the luxuries that come with status...just before talking about Woody Guthrie, and about performing at the 2008 presidential inauguration alongside Pete Seeger, who insists on performing all the verses to "This Land Is Your Land." That doesn't negate the enjoyment of seeing an accomplished craftsman recognize his influences and parse out their meanings, because they matter like life and death itself to him--even if it's only rock and roll.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:05 AM on March 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Beautiful, passionate, powerful and a great history of beauty, passion and the power of rock and roll. I will be late for work but it is worth it. Thanks for posting this.
posted by caddis at 5:11 AM on March 16, 2012


It's not 4 hours long?
posted by mkultra at 5:52 AM on March 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wait, when does he talk about his 3rd place finish in the Jewish Ping-Pong Olympics?
posted by Chekhovian at 6:14 AM on March 16, 2012


The cover of "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" around 25 minutes in, followed by Bruce's confession, is pretty awesome. Then he does it all again with "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" a few minutes later.

This is great, thanks for posting.
posted by gerryblog at 6:32 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Great song. And this reminded me - Damn, Eric Burdon could sing. Not sure where Bruce got the idea they were ugly - they looked pretty sharp to me.
posted by carter at 6:45 AM on March 16, 2012


What the hell is that accent Bruce has developed over the years?

My theory is Bruce secretly harbours major psychological issues with the fact that he's not Steve Earle.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 6:52 AM on March 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


I will never hear The Animals the same again. Wow.
posted by swift at 6:53 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


My theory is Bruce secretly harbours major psychological issues with the fact that he's not Steve Earle.

Don't we all?
posted by Rangeboy at 6:55 AM on March 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


Damn, I love watching anyone talk about music with passion and a fan's enthusiasm. But this is extra great since it's from someone that also has a lifetime of experience working firsthand to share that love with others.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:30 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


2 ... 3 ... 4!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:48 AM on March 16, 2012


My theory is Bruce secretly harbours major psychological issues with the fact that he's not Steve Earle.

Springsteen already had Darkness on the Edge of Town and Nebraska before Earle had a single album of his own.

I honestly think if there's anybody he'd rather be, it's Woody Guthrie.

As to the accent, he grew up in Freehold, which is pretty much on the isogloss boundary between the New York and the Atlantic Midland accent, the latter of which merges (though south of Jersey) with the Chesapeake/Delmarva accent, which most Americans would consider unquestionably Southern. I don't know how much of his accent is exactly natural, but I think it's less surprising when you know that. He's spoken this way both in person and musically for three decades, maybe four, maybe always. It was pretty early in his career that he was exploring roots music, and he's also always spent a lot of time around black musicians.
posted by dhartung at 7:55 AM on March 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


I honestly think if there's anybody he'd rather be, it's Woody Guthrie.

The correct answer is Pete Seeger. When old Pete finally leaves us his soul will be directly transferred to Bruce, whereupon he will start playing a baritone 12 string acoustic and awkwardly lead the audience through slow-motion singalongs even though everyone has known the words to the songs for 84 years already.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:10 AM on March 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


re: the accent

I know a few guys from that part of the country who sound something like Bruce. Also, he's picked up some of that Okie flavor probably not so much from hanging with black musicians, but from singing with that accent so much. Lots of pop singers have an accent in performance that's not present in their native speech. Sometimes it leaks over. I guess the longer you do it, and the more you identify with the characters/material you're putting across 150 nights a year, the more it leaks over.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:58 AM on March 16, 2012


When old Pete finally leaves us his soul will be directly transferred to Bruce, whereupon he will start playing a baritone 12 string acoustic and awkwardly lead the audience through slow-motion singalongs even though everyone has known the words to the songs for 84 years already.

When Bruce starts playing the banjo and records an album of covers from the Smithsonian Folkways: Classic Mountain Songs, my head will explode out of sheer delight.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:24 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't care who paid for this; this was good.
posted by grubby at 9:35 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


And it is written:

Guthrie begat Seeger who begat Dylan who begat legions, including McGuinn and Springsteen and Earle and...

(and say what you want, Steve Earle is the closest to the overtly political roots of Guthrie and Seeger, IMO)

Great speech, BTW. As Slack-a-gogo said, it's great to listen to a man who is still such an enthusiastic fan after all these years.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:43 AM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


That was really good. He's quite nervous initially, not looking up at all, then around 20 or 25 minutes in he starts to come out of himself. I found his references to the Animals quite revealing, too. Must youtube them and re-listen.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:47 AM on March 16, 2012


"When Bruce starts playing the banjo and records an album of covers from the Smithsonian Folkways: Classic Mountain Songs, my head will explode out of sheer delight."

As well it might. The two Seegar Sessions albums he did (one studio, one live) are both superb. The Seegar Sessions out-take (American Land) included as a bonus track on deluxe editions of Wrecking Ball is great too.

Personally, I find that stuff among the very best of Bruce's career, and far more exhilarating than the E Street Band's overblown bluster. For me, it's Seegar Sessions Band first, solo Springsteen second and E Street Band a distant third.
posted by Paul Slade at 9:53 AM on March 16, 2012


Glad you posted this. I saw on my twitter feed the other day that someone said Bruce was going for the SXSW record for most f bombs in a speech. Verdict is he now OWNS that record.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:12 AM on March 16, 2012


Is that a lot of f-bombs? I wouldn't have thought that for SXSW. (Maybe it's just the crowd I hang out with!)
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 10:24 AM on March 16, 2012


Ohhhh Springsteen not Sterling... odd choice of venue had me confused
posted by infini at 10:43 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wanted to listen to this on a long car trip this weekend, so I grabbed the video off YouTube and converted it to mp3. Here's a download link.
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:49 AM on March 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


That was fucking great.

Springsteen's thought a lot about music and we're better for his having told us some of what's been on his mind.
posted by mistersquid at 11:08 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I honestly think if there's anybody he'd rather be, it's Woody Guthrie.

The correct answer is Pete Seeger.


What? The same Pete Seeger who tried to take an axe to the power mains when Bob Dylan went electric at that Newport folk-fest in 1965? Nah, Bruce would never be so self-important, uptight. He's his own man, surfing on an accumulation of all the giants who preceded him as grown men do. To that list, I would quickly add Van Morrison, Phil Spector, Otis Redding.
posted by philip-random at 11:34 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Were it only in writing, this would have been a extraordinary presentation of 50 years of what's involved in making pop music that matters.

Springsteen's wise, funny compassionate delivery added a whole 'nother dimension to that. This will be heard and quoted from for decades.
posted by Twang at 2:07 PM on March 16, 2012


No longer the Boss. Just a shill for rich marketeers. ...

Sure, maybe. But he did something very important in this speech--he started by acknowledging the popular cynical opinion that 10,000 (sic) bands all suck, and then answered that later in the keynote with having the whole audience sing a few bars from "This Land Is Your Land".

Maybe not the Boss, but that's how it's done, and it felt good.
posted by hanoixan at 2:10 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


What? The same Pete Seeger who tried to take an axe to the power mains when Bob Dylan went electric at that Newport folk-fest in 1965?

I wasn't being overly serious. If I were being overly serious, and if I were to go out on a limb, I'd suggest that Bruce Springsteen is the male, jewish New Jersey Joni Mitchell if Joni Mitchell played telecasters and smoked a little less and was more into coal mining and factories.
posted by jimmythefish at 2:33 PM on March 16, 2012


SXSW needs to reign in the "interactive" aka "advertising" part of the festival or the backlash is going to take down the film and music festival too. FWIW I was at the film festival and I saw tons of great independant films this year.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:34 PM on March 16, 2012


I'd suggest that Bruce Springsteen is the male, jewish New Jersey Joni Mitchell"

Bruce converted? Springsteen's father is descended from the original Dutch settlers of New Jersey and his mother is Italian-American.
posted by plastic_animals at 4:00 PM on March 16, 2012


What? The same Pete Seeger who tried to take an axe to the power mains when Bob Dylan went electric at that Newport folk-fest in 1965?
Poor sound quality was the reason Pete Seeger (backstage) gave for disliking the performance: he says he told the audio technicians, "Get that distortion out of his voice ... It's terrible. If I had an axe, I'd chop the microphone cable right now."[9] Seeger has also said, however, that he only wanted to cut the cables because he wanted the audience to hear Dylan's lyrics properly, because he thought they were important.[9] Rumors that Seeger actually had an axe, or that a festival board member pulled or wanted to pull out the entire electrical wiring system[7] are apocryphal. In the film No Direction Home, John Cohen of the New Lost City Ramblers, who is Pete Seeger's brother-in-law, states that Seeger wanted to lower the volume of the band because the noise was upsetting his elderly father Charlie, who wore a hearing aid.[10] In the same film, Dylan claimed that Seeger's unenthusiastic response to his set was like a "dagger in his heart" and made him "want to go out and get drunk".[11] According to Jazz historian John Szwed, the legend about Pete Seeger cutting the cable or pulling the cords of the acoustic system may have arisen from an actual incident from earlier that afternoon. Szwed writes that Festival organizer Alan Lomax had asked Texas folklorist Mack McCormack, discoverer of Lightnin' Hopkins, to find a Texas prison gang to bring up to Newport to sing work songs, but the Texas Attorney General would not allow it, so McCormick had rounded up a group of ex-convicts. Since they had never performed together in front of an audience, much less a microphone, McCormick wanted to accustom them to the stage before the concert. "But Bob Dylan's electric band had been rehearsing for some time and refused to leave. 'I was trying to tell Dylan, we need the stage', McCormick said. 'He continued to ignore me. So I went over to the junction box and pulled out the cords. Then he listened'."[12] *
posted by hippybear at 5:59 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


This was 50 minutes really well spent, very enjoyable being taken along through his musical memories and inspirations. I almost skipped this when I saw it was almost an hour... I'm so glad I didn't. This may well trigger a Bruce retrospective weekend.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:08 PM on March 16, 2012


Listening to Bruce describe what he took from all of his influences is pretty interesting. In particular, I was shocked at how much "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" sounds like a Springsteen song when Springsteen is singing it. I guess it's surprising mainly because the similarity of subject matter and tone is completely obvious...once it's been pointed out, which is a neat trick. I was also pleased to hear him confirm that I wasn't mistaken to think that the guy behind "Darkness at the End of Town" had to have at least heard of the Sex Pistols.
posted by Ipsifendus at 7:53 PM on March 16, 2012


Very nice!

The Animals X Badlands was the best part.

On the crowd scans that crowd looked mighty white.

The comments about Bruce's accent in this thread are spot on. That dude (God bless him) has got one weird ass accent.
posted by bukvich at 8:57 PM on March 16, 2012


bruce's accent - one part he ever so slightly wishes he was a soul singer from a little bit further south plus two parts comes from a long line of mumblers who grunt a few words between sips off a can of beer, and he's transcended that by teaching himself to say it loud and say it proud in front of thousands of people.

Hints of southern twang turn up organically in places you might not expect, from nearly the midwest (Indiana/Missouri/Southern OH) to Delaware/Maryland.
posted by C.A.S. at 8:15 AM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Animals' Eric Burdon was in Austin recording when he heard about Bruce Springsteen's keynote. Then, he drove across town to join Springsteen onstage to sing "We've Got to Get Out of This Place." Fan video of the performance.
posted by gladly at 8:11 PM on March 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Better version ...
posted by philip-random at 12:51 AM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


How random and amazing.
posted by Optamystic at 2:37 AM on March 19, 2012


« Older Classic Hollywood Guide on how to react when you s...  |  Twelve bus tickets from the 19... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments