It’s 1980. I’m not a concert goer. Some friends of mine said ‘You gotta go to this Bruce Springsteen show.’ We drive 45 minutes to the Hollywood Sportatorium. It’s raining like crazy. It was his River album. Six hours later, I left there and I was absolutely blown away with this guy’s energy, his passion. He played “The River” and talked about his relationship with his dad and conflict with long hair and his dad wanted him to be a certain thing and he said ‘You’re never going to amount to anything with that daggung guitar.’
When he spoke, it touched me. I’ve never been a stargazer. I can’t hold a tune, I’m tone deaf. I liked it a lot but I never planned on having a 30-year musical affair with him.
I listen to other things just as music. I listen to Bruce as help for my life.
Ain’t that the truth? It’s who we are. To me, the interpretation is so many things can take our focus of what’s really important, so many things can take us out of reality — you can be looking at the prize but you really gotta watch the path so you don’t fall down the potholes. I think professional athletes get addicted to the light — TV lights come on and they play — when the TV lights aren’t on, life changes for them. I think you should play because you love it.
Relentless. Don’t flash me something one time, keep showing it to me. Prove to me that by the end of the night, I should be thinking ‘Damn that guy is getting it done.’ I think of it in baseball terms: Don’t just send flashes of something…
I don’t think we can be afraid to go after it — we can’t be afraid to change spots, we can’t be afraid to move on. We can get stuck; do I wanna look up at 65 years old and say to myself ‘Here I am doin’ the same thing again running up this one path” — “Born to Run” to me is this verse:
Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap
We gotta get out while were young
`cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run
Gotta get out. Can’t get caught up in something. Go in and do your work. It doesn’t mean moving jobs. Doesn’t mean running away from things. We are who we are. We go in and do our thing. But when we lose our passion or gets to the point where it isn’t about the real stuff anymore, I think the Universe tells you your time is done there and it’s time to go. It has a way of not letting you stay in places you don’t belong.
It’s funny how Bruce has affected me over the last 5 years. It’s really had a profound effect. Back then in 1980,
I thought “yeah it’s great” but it didn’t affect me like it does now because now it’s real. Especially when you’re in a place of
nowhere like being between jobs. “The Rising” is about team. Lock arms. Rise up. It’s community.
It’s get off your ass and stop complaining about things and go.
The Rangers had a homecoming
In Harlem late last night
Just talking about living in the city. for me, just living in the rat race, the chaos, the competitive world and this is what happens… it’s not all about being the best. It’s about being able to survive when the stuff goes down. That’s a powerful song.
“Thunder Road” is maybe if I had to say my favorite song. Every single morning for maybe 10 years I’d drive from Ahwatukee to ASU, only song I’d listen to. To me it was ‘I’ll get through this. I’ll get to where I want to be. I ain’t going anywhere.’
For all of us, we didn’t grow up with the tracks greased for us. Foundation isn’t always laid on Wall Street in Manhattan. A lot of foundation is laid in the backstreets. “Backstreets” to me is what goes on behind the scenes in those tough times, learning lessons but once you get to downtown — when you get Main Street, that’s when it takes off… the backstreets is when it all happens when nobody is watching.
Some lines in this song remind me of Pat Tillman.
Blood brothers in the stormy night
With a vow to defend
No retreat, baby, no surrender
It’s about friendship. Trust. Never turn your back on someone.
I love it because ‘The Wrestler’ to me is about you become your job and that’s sad. When you become your job and you need the self-esteem you get from it then it’s a dangerous thing for all of us. It hits home with me because if you become a one-trick pony then you can’t become a good father, a good partner, a good friend. If all your self-esteem comes from you being the ASU baseball coach and you tell yourself ‘You finished 3rd in the country this year so you’re that good’ — it isn’t real. We all have a tendency to be a try be a one-trick pony. You need to be more than that. Bruce’s lyrics — I was never into poetry — but that’s poetry.
We played it at the end of every ASU song for the last 14 years. The minute the game was over Steve Kirkman would play it over the loudspeakers. It’s about screwin’ up and just wanting to be back home. I let a good friend, Bob Welch, listen to it and it blew him away. He had no idea. It’s a very personal song. It’s about forgiving yourself. It’s time to not worry about who won or lost. It’s about going back to reality, going home, being a dad. It’s about forgetting the black hole you feel when you lose or when you win you might think you’re better than you are… it’s just a humbling, sweet song about being true. It’s awesome. Everyone thinks it’s about a woman but not me. This one I couldn’t listen to because it reminds me of all 15 years at ASU. I can’t listen to it right now.