If you ran for governor of New Jersey, you’d win — is that ever a temptation?
Pssht, nooo. I would have no business in politics. I’m just not interested in policy-making enough. I know people in entertainment who are interested in those things, but I’m a musician.
Many people wondered why you didn’t come out in support of Hillary Clinton’s campaign earlier. Was there a reason for that?
Um… I don’t think I’m necessarily that essential a factor. And I still tend to be a little bit ambivalent about getting involved directly like that in political campaigns. I’ve done it when I felt it was really necessary and that maybe my two cents might make some small bit of difference. But the more you do it, your two cents becomes one cent and then no cents whatsoever, so I think your credibility and your impact lessens the more you do it. So I’ve been hesitant to overplay my hand in that area, and I generally come to service when I feel it’s kind of necessary and it might help a little bit.
I guess that was the case when you played at a rally for 32,000 people in Philadelphia on election eve?
Yeah. I thought she would have made an excellent president, and I still feel that way, so I was glad to do it.
Midway through “The River” anniversary tour you stopped playing the nearly 90-minute album in its entirety. Were you tired of it?
No, it was actually very enjoyable on a nightly basis because that record was well built, well put-together, so it gave a formal but very satisfying experience. I’m hoping to have something similar occur with [the Broadway shows]. But the reason we stopped is because we were going to play outside [stadiums] and, particularly, we were going to Europe, where I just didn’t know if it was going to ring and play as well. The few times we did it in Europe it played very well, but I wanted to have the freedom once we went outside to these bigger shows to just play whatever I wanted.
And sometimes that meant playing your first two albums, “Greetings From Asbury Park” and “The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle,” almost in their entirety, which you did later in the tour?
Yeah, when we’re in that mode, [the show] varies on a nightly basis, and I think we got in a place toward the end of that tour where we were playing a little bit chronologically. I think the whole first hour or more of the show was the first and second records, which was a lot of fun because I hadn’t done that in quite awhile. It was the band before it was a hard-rock band, which we didn’t really become until “Born to Run.” Previous to that we were a rock and soul band, a swingin’ little club band; the music had a lighter touch to it. Once we fired on all eight with “Born to Run,” that’s when the rock started.
You’ve done so much looking back recently, between the book and “The River” anniversary tour and now this Broadway run. Any thoughts on what’s next?
I suppose the [solo] record that I haven’t released. It’s not topical at all — topical writing at the moment doesn’t hold a lot of interest to me. I really got out a lot of what I had to say in that vein on “Wrecking Ball.” I’m not driven to write any anti-Trump diatribe; that doesn’t feel necessary at the moment.
Why, because so many people already are?
Yeah, because it’s everywhere and all over, ya know? It feels a little redundant to me at the moment. And, once again, I always try to look at what I can deliver that’s personal to me and of most value. The audience has a wide variety of needs; whatever you’re writing, you’re trying to meet your own need, and as I’ve said in other interviews, Marty Scorsese once said, “The job of the artist is to make the audience care about your obsessions.” So I hope I write about the things that obsess me well enough for my audience to care about them.
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