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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Feb 01, 2017

An Intimate Chat with The Boss

By Lauren Hoffman

As if Bruce Springsteen’s streak of record-breaking shows in New Jersey at MetLife Stadium last summer wasn’t enough, we now have some of his prime possessions right here in our own backyard. And on the evening of Tuesday, January 10, The Boss himself took us back to school, at the site where the collection is stored. Presented by Monmouth University, “A Conversation with Bruce Springsteen” took place at the Pollak Theatre. With only a few hundred tickets made available, they immediately sold out within minutes, so it was a special honor for The Journal to be included in the legendary New Jersey native’s presence for such an intimate gathering. The event was moderated by a true music expert, Bob Santelli, the GRAMMY Museum executive director.

It was announced at the start of the conversation that Monmouth University has become the official archival repository for Springsteen’s written works, photographs, periodicals, and artifacts. Serving as the home of the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection since 2011, the new collaboration will preserve and promote the legacy and role that Springsteen plays in American Music. A big part of this partnership is to integrate history and inspiration into the curriculum and research experience at Monmouth – one of only nine university affiliates of the GRAMMY museum.

Springsteen’s new and enthralling memoir, Born To Run, which was released in September, is now on book shelves everywhere. It was no surprise that what he referred to as “a project” turned into a New York Times bestseller. After reading the autobiography and taking a look inside what Monmouth University will hold, there seems to be nothing this legend is hiding from his fans. He discussed a range of topics, a few of which are touched upon here.

Admitting he was ambitious, with a big ego, while trying to break out into the music scene, the boss never went far from his roots. “I was conscious of building my own identity. Where I came from had a lot to do with that,” he explained. For Springsteen and the band, it was all about finding a place to perform original music. “It was a crucial period during the first three records. Our music was pretty openhearted. That’s just the way we were,” Springsteen said.

What would a conversation with The Boss be without mentioning Asbury Park? That was where it all began for this favorite New Jersey icon. “The scene was pretty rich in musicians. It was enough of a small scene to nurture the music that came out of here,” he told the audience.

As Santelli expressed how we must celebrate our “Jersey-ness,” Springsteen went on to discuss the background of getting the band together, gathering inspiration walking down the Asbury boardwalk, and much more. While putting the final touches of his 1973 “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.” together, the words that came to his mind were, “Who’s from New Jersey? Nobody. It’s all mine.” Well, folks – that is apparently why the forever famous album cover is a postcard.

In a nod to a topic that is undeniably front and center in the news today for fans on both sides of the aisle, Springsteen also noted, “Music is a political force…at a certain moment, the right song can start a fire.” He continues to make headlines everywhere, and received special attention from the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. Springsteen was among the 2016 recipients who were awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in recognition of his outstanding impact to American music over the years.

One audience question revolved around the Super Bowl, with this year’s game only days away as this issue goes to press. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band performed at Super Bowl XLIII in 2009 in Tampa, Florida. “They asked us for about a decade and I kept putting it off,” Springsteen explained. “It was the most terrifying and thrilling 12 minutes of my life. We were able to play for an audience we always dreamed of.”

For more information on the new Bruce Springsteen collaboration and affiliation with Monmouth University, visit

(Photo credits: Danny Clinch)