Bruce Springsteen: 'Donald Trump is undermining the entire democratic tradition'

The Boss speaks out against Trump, and opens up about his approach to parenting, at an event in London to promote his autobiography, Born to Run

Bruce Springsteen has again condemned Donald Trump, with less than a month before the US presidential election. Springsteen, who had previously called the Republican presidential candidate “a moron”, told an audience in London: “It’s a terrible thing that’s happening in the States. He’s undermining the entire democratic tradition.”

Springsteen was speaking at an invitation-only event for European press at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London to promote his autobiography, Born to Run. When asked by host Antoine de Caunes to explain to Europeans the appeal of Trump, Springsteen replied: “Nobody’s been able to explain that.”

Springsteen also paid further tribute to Bob Dylan, following the latter winning the Nobel prize in literature. “Like a Rolling Stone was the first time I heard a version of my country that felt naggingly real,” he said. “Long after all of us are forgotten, Bob’s work is going to be ringing out loud and clear.” He contrasted Dylan’s writing favourably with his own work: “Bob’s certainly a poet. I’m a hardworking journeyman.”

Born to Run dealt extensively with Springsteen’s family, covering not just his relationship with his parents and grandparents, but also the changes parenthood had wrought on his own life. He said the final section of the book, “writing about everyone you know now”, was the hardest to write. “I showed my kids the things I wrote about them,” he said. “Patti [Scialfa, his wife] and I discussed that section of the book and she didn’t change anything, [though] she wasn’t necessarily comfortable with everything. There were some things I wasn’t comfortable with myself. But she gave me a lot of room to explore.”

Discussing how his troubled relationship with his father had affected his own parenting, he spoke of how people honour their own parents by trying to steer away from the things they had difficulty with and by passing on the things they did well. “The difficult thing was not having a role model to pass on what it meant to be a good parent,” he said. That meant being a father “did not come naturally: the suspension of deep personal time; the giving over of yourself at any moment of the day. I was used to my work taking over my time. It was my sacred space. To have ‘Hey! I need a ride to Billy’s house,’ was something it took me a while to get used to. But I have a good relationship with my kids. I wouldn’t say I was perfect, but I did OK.”

He spoke, too, about how playing live had helped him cope with the depression that had struck him at intervals over the past 30 years. Playing such long sets – Springsteen routinely goes well past three hours when performing with the E Street Band – meant he would be “too tired to be depressed. To be depressed you need to have certain amount of energy, to go hunting through the weeds. There’s also a great centring element that wards off [the effects of depression]. It hardens your centre; that wards off self doubt and the unproductive questioning that comes with depression.”


Michael Hann

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Bruce Springsteen calls Donald Trump a 'moron'
Singer says Republican candidate offers ‘simple answers to very complex problems’ and backs Hillary Clinton for president

Staff and agencies

24, Sep, 2016 @1:02 AM

Article image
Bruce Springsteen attacks Trump over 'Muslim ban'
President’s US immigration policy is ‘anti-democratic and unAmerican’, musician tells audience in Australia – as other US stars voice their protests too

Guardian music

31, Jan, 2017 @11:01 AM

Article image
Bruce Springsteen tribute band say Trump inauguration gala is 'non-political'
The B Street Band, who are set to play Garden State Gala on 20 January, appeared at both of Obama’s inaugurations and were booked for this year’s event in 2013

Guardian music

13, Jan, 2017 @9:14 AM

Article image
Bruce Springsteen unveils anti-Trump anthem That’s What Makes Us Great
The Boss has put his longstanding antagonisms with the US president into a song, released with collaborator Joe Grushecky

Guardian music

20, Apr, 2017 @10:36 AM

Article image
Drink-driving charges against Bruce Springsteen dropped
Rock star ‘pleased with outcome’ of court hearing in which he was fined $500 for drinking alcohol in a national park

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

24, Feb, 2021 @5:28 PM

Article image
Bruce Springsteen: born to write
With the Boss still in prime stadium-filling form, and with plenty of intimate truths still to give up, his new tome promises more than the average rock memoir

Michael Hann

30, Aug, 2016 @12:42 PM

Article image
Bruce Springsteen plays farewell gig for Barack Obama at the White House
The Boss, a regular visitor to the White House, played a 15-song acoustic set for the president and his staff

Guardian music

19, Jan, 2017 @10:57 AM

Article image
Bruce Springsteen: Letter to You review | Alexis Petridis's album of the week
Reunited with the E Street Band, songs about downbound trains and glory days show a scaled-down ambition – but are they also political, emotional and sometimes hugely enjoyable

Alexis Petridis

22, Oct, 2020 @11:00 AM

Article image
Bruce Springsteen tribute act B-Street Band pull out of Trump inauguration gala
Musicians bow to criticism from fans and withdraw from ball hosted by groups from Springsteen’s home state of New Jersey, despite event’s non-partisan roots

Guardian music

17, Jan, 2017 @10:34 AM

Article image
Bruce Springsteen, O2 Arena, London

O2 Arena, London

Richard Williams

20, Dec, 2007 @9:25 AM