Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • -Welcome, welcome, welcome!

  • You look awesome, buddy.

  • Thank you so much for coming back to the show.

  • -Thank you. -This is not our normal studio

  • where we normally interview each other.

  • This place, this is Studio 6A. It's smaller.

  • But we once played here together, too.

  • And I'm sure, of course, you remember this.

  • [ Laughter ] Alright.

  • I'll refresh your memory. [ Laughter ]

  • Let me tell you this. -Give me a hint.

  • -So this is where Conan O'Brien used to do his show.

  • -Ah! -So we were here one time.

  • I was a guest on the show with Conan.

  • And you came on with The Sessions Band, wasn't it?

  • -Right. Right. -So I was there.

  • I was so excited to see you and everything.

  • And I got a knock on my door, on my dressing room door.

  • And it was you and Patti and you go like,

  • "Hey, Jimmy." Pardon the impression.

  • [ Laughter ]

  • -That doesn't sound like me. -No, no, no, no, no, no!

  • [ Laughter ]

  • So you go, "Dude, do you know how to play the spoons?"

  • And I go, "What? Hi, first of all. Hi.

  • Oh, yeah, sure. I'll do it." And you go,

  • "Well, come on, play the spoons with the band for this song."

  • I go, "Okay, okay, I'll play the spoons."

  • So you're like, "Yeah, let's get the spoons!"

  • I go, "Yeah, I'll get the spoons!"

  • You go, "Spoons!" And I go, "Yeah, spoons!"

  • I don't even know where am I going to find spoons.

  • I ran down to the commissary -- true story -- and I go,

  • "You guys got to give me two spoons

  • 'cause Bruce just asked me to play with him in the band

  • and I got to do it," and I couldn't even believe it.

  • You asked me to do it. I was so excited.

  • And I think we have a clip.

  • Here I am playing the spoons with Bruce Springsteen.

  • Take a look at this.

  • ♪♪

  • ♪♪

  • I could see it all coming back to you.

  • -Well, I like that you broke a sweat in about five seconds.

  • [ Laughter ]

  • -I was that excited.

  • -That's how easy it was.

  • -I'm the first person to break a sweat playing spoons.

  • -That's right.

  • -Why spoons? It just fit the sound?

  • -That's the only band that you could play spoons in,

  • I believe, and make it sound --

  • Or you can also -- the washboard.

  • We've had people come out of the audience for that band --

  • when they come, they come dressed in their own washboard.

  • -Bring your own washboard.

  • -Next time we'll get you the washboard.

  • -I'll always have one in the dressing room

  • just in case you ask me.

  • Congrats on "Letter to You."

  • The record is -- well, it's a beautiful --

  • it's a beautiful inspiration to why you wrote this record.

  • But talk to me about it. How do you get into this?

  • -I always like music that was where the singer

  • sounded happy and sad simultaneously,

  • you know, and I wrote about this a little bit

  • in the memoir that I wrote,

  • where I always love The Drifters'

  • "Saturday Night at the Movies," "Up on the Roof,"

  • "Under the Boardwalk."

  • For some reason, the singer

  • always sounded hopeful, resigned.

  • Like he had his spirit, but sad at the same time,

  • and you felt the whole world open up to you.

  • So those are the kind of songs that I like, you know,

  • and that I think hit the deepest.

  • If you're lucky enough

  • to be able to write one or a small group of them,

  • and "Letter to You" kind of strikes that balance.

  • And it's a record I'm really proud of.

  • I'm proud of the writing and the playing on it.

  • -It's about people that you have lost,

  • as well that you've played with,

  • but also people that you haven't really played with yet.

  • -Right. -But also, I think

  • "Letter to You" -- I mean, obviously,

  • people take their own meaning from a song.

  • But right now, in these times it was speaking to me,

  • whereas it could be speaking to you.

  • -Yeah, a little. You know, its...

  • Well, its original inspiration was I had a close friend of mine

  • who was in my very first band,

  • and he passed away a couple of years ago in the summertime.

  • I went down and saw him before he died.

  • And I came back and I -- it was just,

  • you know, it just sat with me, and that's --

  • and the song called "Last Man Standing."

  • I ended up being the last living member

  • of the first band that I was ever in.

  • And there's something about I was in a band

  • that lasted for three years with teenagers.

  • I mean, that's very, very unusual.

  • -Right, yeah. -From 1965 to '68,

  • from when I was 15 to when I was 18, it was the same guys,

  • the same guys from high school in the same band.

  • And so -- and it was my entire school of rock.

  • Every basic lesson that I learned,

  • I learned in that band -- the beginnings of performing,

  • how to put a show together,

  • the beginnings of your writing, everything.

  • Everything began during those three years

  • with that band, so that's something that --

  • and it was a momentous time in American history.

  • 1965 to '68, you know, it was just tumultuous.

  • And so it was a very, very memorable part of my life.

  • And so I started to write a little -- some of the songs

  • were set a little bit in that time period

  • where I went back a little bit

  • and thought about what it was like to play in the Elks Club,

  • the Firemen's Fair, the Union Hall,

  • in front of the drive-in movies, before the movie stars,

  • the VFW hall, and all those sort of very definitive

  • but small gigs that you play when you're just learning

  • your chops and your way, you know.

  • So the record sort of stretches from that time period

  • all the way to now.

  • Whereas the modern record that I cut with the E Street Band,

  • who I've been working with for 45 years or so,

  • and it's about -- part of it's about a life,

  • a life in music, you know, and it's about the music itself

  • and the role it plays in people's lives,

  • the role that it's played in my life.

  • And it's a bit summational as a record like that, you know?

  • -Do you remember -- When you were 15,

  • do you remember the first taste you got of, like, getting on

  • a stage or performing in front of a crowd or that vibe?

  • -It was at the Elks Club in Freehold,

  • and I went in about a month ago just to see

  • if the room was still there that I first played in.

  • And they redesigned the inside of it.

  • So it wasn't recognizable at this point.

  • But they had a nice little bar downstairs and...

  • [ Laughter ]

  • -Did you hop on stage with the band?

  • -No, it was 35 cents.

  • You played on Sunday, 35 cents to get in.

  • There was a room about this size

  • and there was a circle of --

  • the bands would set up in a circle,

  • and every band would play about three songs

  • then the next band would play three or four or five songs

  • and the next band would play for a little bit.

  • And all the bands were playing for free, you know.

  • And, you know, maybe there was...

  • It was less than 100 kids there,

  • but it was an amazing place to kind of start out.

  • And I remember -- the only thing I remember most is I got up

  • and I sang "Twist and Shout,"

  • and I've been singing it ever since.

  • -Was that your first song you learned?

  • -That was the first rock song.

  • You know, the first song I ever learned

  • was a song called "Greensleeves."

  • [ Crowd murmuring ] [ Laughter ]

  • You can hear the reaction from your audience.

  • [ Laughter ]

  • -"You guys will hear 'Greensleeves'!

  • "Please play 'Green--'" Wow!

  • -Playing "Greensleeves"?!

  • [ Laughter ]

  • Damn! -Wow!

  • We thought that was going to come with the encore.

  • You're gonna open with "Greensleeves"?

  • -It was a folk song.

  • The first thing I had was a big American --