Springsteen recently sat down for an interview with NPR’s Ann Powers (listening time = 1 hour, 18 minutes). In one of our favorite moments, he discusses how he used to work on music, the moment it got to be too much, and how he learned to let go of control — for the better.
[AP:] Do you have to let go at some point? I mean do you have to step back? Your own ego has to retreat and allow for these collaborations …
[BS:] I never let that happen. [Laughs] But what I have gotten used to doing is I do delegate a lot more in the studio than I used to, which is nice because I don’t think I could work the way I did in my 20s when I, we had a little bit of the half-blind leading the blind in that we all went in and just recorded until a record happened.
I remember reading you would be sleeping in the studio in your coat.
Oh, yeah. It was terrible, you know. In truth, it was awful, an awful way to make records but it was the only way we knew how. Everybody simply suffered through it and the endless, endless, endless hours I can’t begin to explain.
We thank you for those hours.
But it was just what it took at the time, you know, I was just very, very much more controlling at the time so I was always there and I always had my hand in everything. Where today, now, you know it’s very similar even with the live show, where I, over the years, have gathered a team of people, where you find people who, when you leave, will advance your thought processes and then come up with things you would not have thought of and you can come back then and you can edit what you feel is great and what you feel might not work.
He goes onto say that after a certain number of times, he just couldn’t work like that anymore. It’s a good example of how many careers may be started by, and go far on, sheer grit at first, but it’s ultimately unsustainable in the long run. At some point, you’re gonna need to find those you can lean on.
Read (or listen) to the rest of the interview here.