Bruce Springsteen hasn’t made too many public predictions about whether he’d ever record or tour with the E Street Band again. Sunday night, he answered a firm yes to both those questions.
Although Springsteen gave no indication about when these things might come to fruition — since he does have a solo album, “Western Stars,” coming first — he indicated that writer’s block had come into play, at least when it came to coming up with E Street-appropriate material.
And he’s over it.
In a Hollywood conversation with filmmaker Martin Scorsese aimed at reminding Emmy voters about the Netflix film “Springsteen on Broadway,” talk turned to where songwriting inspiration comes from, and Springsteen said he can’t just summon it at will.
“You have to capture a little piece of the divine,” he said, in prefacing the unexpected news. “And it can come in many, many forms. But whenever I really have written something that I felt has some quality to it, there’s always that little piece of ‘I’m not exactly sure where that came from. I know how I got here or how I got there, but…’
“It’s like I’ve spent about seven years without writing anything for the band,” Springsteen continued. “I couldn’t write anything for the band. And I said, ‘Well, of course … you’ll never be able to do that again!’ And it’s a trick every time you do it, you know? But it’s a trick that, because of that fact that you can’t explain, cannot be self-consciously duplicated. It has to come to you in inspiration.
“And then about a month or so ago, I wrote almost an album’s worth of material for the band. And it came out of just… I mean, I know where it came from, but at the same time, it just came out of almost nowhere. And it was good, you know. I had about two weeks of those little daily visitations, and it was so nice.” He laughed out loud at the memory. “It makes you so happy. You go, ‘F—, I’m not f—ed, all right? There’ll be another tour!”
Springsteen did not seem concerned when he told Variety in September of 2017, “It’s been awhile since I’ve written, but that’s not unusual. That’s occurred plenty of other times in my working life.”
Not that anyone should do the modern equivalent of lining up at their local Ticketmaster just yet. “Western Stars,” which comes out June 14, is an album he’s talked about being in the works, if not done, for years, so Springsteen remains very much a will-serve-no-album-before-its-time guy. There’s also no word yet on whether Springsteen might do an acoustic tour behind that record, as he has in the distant past for other solo albums.
But it’s clear that E Street Band members were telling the truth in the last year when they said they had little idea when or if they’d perform together again — especially if Springsteen had told them he was done with retrospective-focused tours and would need a new band-oriented album to justify hitting the road again. The material to make that happen is in place… and fans may be offering thanks to some kind of divinity, too.
For a full account of Springsteen’s conversation with Scorsese, see this accompanying piece.