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Bruce Springsteen Gets Candid About Being 'Crushed' by Depression

by Sophie Schillaci 4:40 PM PDT, September 06, 2016
Playing Bruce Springsteen Gets Candid About Being 'Crushed' by Depression

Bruce Springsteen is opening up about his mental health.

The 66-year-old rocker tells all in his new memoir, Born to Run, out Sept. 27, and is promoting the release with a candid interview in the latest issue of Vanity Fair. In the book, Springsteen opens up about his ongoing battle with clinical depression.

"I was crushed between sixty and sixty-two, good for a year and out again from sixty-three to sixty-four," he writes. "Not a good record."

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Though the musician says he kept it together professionally during that time, recording 2012's Wrecking Ball, life at home was another story.

"Patti [Scialfa, his wife] will observe a freight train bearing down, loaded with nitroglycerin and running quickly out of track," he writes. "She gets me to the doctors and says, 'This man needs a pill.'"

"If I’m being honest, I'm not completely comfortable with that part of the book, but that’s OK," Scialfa tells Vanity Fair. "That's Bruce. He approached the book the way he would approach writing a song, and a lot of times, you solve something that you're trying to figure out through the process of writing—you bring something home to yourself. So in that regard, I think it's great for him to write about depression. A lot of his work comes from him trying to overcome that part of himself."

Photo: Vanity Fair

Another topic heavily addressed in the book and article is Springsteen's complicated relationship with his own father, Doug, who suffered from mental illness.

"You don’t know the illness's parameters," he tells the reporter. "Can I get sick enough to where I become a lot more like my father than I thought I might?"

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In truly poetic, Springsteen-esque fashion, he explains why the painful topic was so important to include in his book.

"One of the points I’m making in the book is that, whoever you’ve been and wherever you've been, it never leaves you," he says. "I always picture it as a car. All your selves are in it. And a new self can get in, but the old selves can't ever get out. The important thing is, who’s got their hands on the wheel at any given moment?"

"I knew I was gonna 'go there' in the book," he adds. "I had to find the roots of my own troubles and issues -- and the joyful things that have allowed me to put on the kind of shows that we put on."

Springsteen called touring his "trustiest form of self-medication" (the statement was made "half in jest," Vanity Fair notes) and mused about the lasting impact of his song, "Born to Run," for which he named his book.

"A good song gathers the years in," he says. "It's why you can sing it with such conviction 40 years after it's been written. A good song takes on more meaning as the years pass by."

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