Story 1995-12-03 Chicago, IL

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “Adam Raised a Cain”
“Thank you, thank you…nice to be here, uh…this is where I make my little speech, uh…a lot of the songs tonight were…were composed using a lot of silence and that silence is a part of the songs and, and so I guess what I’m asking for tonight is, is your collaboration with me in helping me give my best to you…uh, so if you feel like, uh, uh, cheering me on during the song or letting me know if I’m doing well or poorly, uh (laughs from the crowd) please don’t (laughs from the crowd) if you feel like singing or clapping along, well, you’ll be arrested by the state police (laughs from the crowd) they’re right outside the door, but, uh…so don’t make me do what I had to do in L.A, I had to get down into the crowd and confiscate those cellular phones (laughs from the crowd) and speak pretty harshly to some super models (laughs from the crowd) anyway, I appreciate your co-operation, thank you (crowd cheers) …”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “Straight Time”
“Thank you very much, this next song, this is a song about a fellow who gets out of prison and, and is working hard to sort of integrate himself back, back into, back into his family and into the world at large but…a change like that is a hard thing to do ‘cause all your old habits end up feeling like your friends and, uh…sometimes it’s those, those very old habits, it’s how we define ourselves, how we feel like we know who we are, whether it’s true or not, whether they kill us or not…this is called “Straight Time”…”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “Highway 29”
“Thank you, this, uh, this next song, I guess this is a song about how you never really know what you’re gonna do until you sort of get into a certain circumstance and you do it, uh…when I was young, I figured I knew exactly what I was gonna do and I knew exactly who I was and what I would do and what I wouldn’t do… which was sort of evidence of how little I knew about myself (laughs from the crowd) uh…now that, now that I’ve gotten a little older, I’m, uh, complete, I’m, uh, basically I’m very happy to accept myself as a complete stranger (chuckles)(crowd cheers) uh, this is called “Highway 29”…”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “Murder Incorporated”
“Thanks, this, uh…this next song I guess is about good old-fashioned American paranoia…gets better every day…and, uh, about how there’s…a part of our, part of our…population that we’ve basically, uh…decided that their dreams and lives are expendable and that that’s just the price of doing business…and all it costs us is, uh…is more money for our security for our houses and cars and, uh…and a good piece of our freedom and our soul…”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “Born in the U.S.A”
“(A woman yells “I love you, Bruce!”) I’m sure you’re wonderful also (chuckles)(laughs from the crowd) oh, alright…yeah, you guys with the Brownies, the little Brownie instamatics, if you could squash those under your left foot, I’d appreciate it (chuckles) (crowd cheers)…this is a, uh, this is a song that I guess I’ve read many times has been, has been widely misinterpreted, sort of in the great tradition of rock songs like “Louie, Louie” (laughs from the crowd) and, uh…or “This Land Is Your Land” for that matter, I guess, uh…I don’t know if, I don’t know if that’s true or not but, uh …if it is…uh, there’s big bucks in misinterpretation, let me tell you (laughs from the crowd)(crowd cheers)…but the good thing is that the writer always, he always gets the last shot so…let me see if I can get it right this time…”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “Dry Lightning”
“Thank you, thank you…this is a song I guess, uh…(?) I’ve been saying that…I had the sort of the same relationship for about 30 years, I was in the same relationship for about 30 years…it was all with different women (laughs from the crowd) all lovely girls…uh, but, uh…you know, I used to have the same thing, you know, it’s always at the end you go “Hey, what happened? (laughs from the crowd) I don’t get it, what happened?” (laughs from the crowd) so (chuckles)…this is a song I guess about just missing it, just barely missing it…but just missing it is still missing it…this is called “Dry Lightning”…”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “Spare Parts”
“The world’s full of spare parts (crowd cheers)…”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “Youngstown”
“Thank you, this next song is a song, I guess there was a book, I was finishing the, uh…I think I had ten songs in “The Ghost of Tom Joad”-record and I was wandering around downstairs one night when I couldn’t sleep and I went into my living room and pulled a book off the shelf and it was a book called “Journey to Nowhere” …and uh, it was written in, the text was written by a fellow named Dale Maharidge and the photos by a fellow named Michael Williamson and basically they were two reporters who, uh, they hopped a train in St. Louis, I think, and they rode it west through, uh, out through to California and up north into Oregon in the mid-‘80s sort of chronicling what, what they were seeing going on out on the road…and uh…at the same time I was kind of traveling across the country and I’d meet people from different, different foodbanks and in almost every city I was hearing the same story while we were sort of hearing how, how good things were going or were supposed to be going and yet every time one of these people come in, they told me that there was, there was more demand for their services and that, uh, they were seeing people that they hadn’t seen before, people who were coming in, who were coming in for the first time, who were dropping out of that middle class and who they, who they hadn’t seen come in before, families, uh, uh… and I guess there was a chapter on Youngstown, Ohio in, in the book…I remember I read, I read the book, I read it all in one sitting and I laid in bed and…I’ve had a fortunate life and, and, but it was real easy to imagine what if, what if your craft, like the one thing you do, you know, all of a sudden you couldn’t do any more, something that you’ve put 30 years of your life in, 40 years of your life, something that was who you were, that was what you did, that was what, what, what kept your head high and, uh, was what fed your children, what if you couldn’t, if you came home all of a sudden you stopped getting your kids fed, getting them the kind of medical care they need, uh…people who, who built the buildings that we live in, who built the bridges that we cross, the very infrastructure of, of the country that we take for granted…”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “Little Things That Count”
“Uh, this is a song, I guess this is another song about, uh, uh…uh, not knowing what you’re gonna do until you do it, I guess, uh, I was, I was out in a bar one night (some people yell) let’s hear it for lack of self-knowledge right, alright (crowd cheers) I was, uh, I was out in a bar one night and, and I was suffering from a bout of low self-esteem, which I don’t mind ‘cause that’s how I got where I am but uh (laughs from the crowd) I was standing at the bar and, and a girl comes up to me and says “Gee, would you, would you like a shot of tequila?” and, uh, I say “Well, sure, sure”…and, uh, she has a seat, she gets the salt and we’re having tequila shots and before I kind of know what’s happening she throws the salt on my neck, licks it off and downs a shot of tequila (crowd cheers) the best shot of tequila I ever had (laughs from the crowd) of course that happened a very, very long time ago (laughs from the crowd)…this is, uh…this is called “Little Things That Count”…”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “Sinaloa Cowboys”
“(?)…this, uh, thanks, Kevin…uh…these next songs are set in, uh… set basically on the California-Mexico border and uh…California’s a powerful place, a powerful place and, uh…I was in, I was in Arizona, I was in this little town, desert town about, uh, about 80 miles east of the California border, it was one of those towns that’s got, uh…it has a bar, has a grocery store, has a little motel…and uh…I was sitting outside, me and a few friends of mine, we’d sit outside the motel at night and we’d have a drink and play some cards and these two Mexican men came in from, in from the west, they were driving a truck, one was kind of young, he was pretty high and uh… then there was another fellow, he was about my age and we ended up sitting down and…and he was looking at our motorcycles and he started talking about his brother who’d recently died in a Southern California motorcycle accident and he’d been a member of the Vagos which was a Hispanic motorcycle gang…in the Valley and, uh, there was something about the way that he talked about his brother that, that stayed with me for the next year in the back of my head…and I guess it’s the, the first, first duty of family is to take care…and when that breaks down…so, uh…about a year and a half after that I was…I was sort of reading about the drug trade in Central California, Mexican drug gangs come up and hire migrant workers in the Central Valley, uh, to cook up the metamphetamine, which is a very…dangerous job, usually they’re the ones that get busted and take the heat and get killed and…so this is, uh…I don’t know where my mysterious friend is right now but this was a song that came from that conversation and it’s called “Sinaloa Cowboys” …”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “The Line”
“So this next song, this is a song set at the San Diego border patrol station and I guess what you get is there’s a lot of guys…that come out of the army and end up working for the, uh, for the INS…and it’s a, uh…it’s a tricky job because it’s impossible, number one, and uh…you really, you can’t tell where that, where that, where that borderline really is…”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “Balboa Park”
“Thank you, this, uh, this next song is a song about, there’s these little border kids, they come, they come hopping across the border from, from Mexico, twelve to thirteen, fourteen years old, uh, running drugs, come across to the strip in San Diego where they end up, uh, selling themselves…they’re real young, uh…the name of the place is, uh, Balboa Park…”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “The New Timer”
“Thanks…this is, uh…this is a song that, uh…the, uh…a lot of the new guys that ended up out…out on the road in the mid-80s and, and today…they’re called new timers…and uh…this is a story about a fellow that gets…he sort of, he leaves thinking he knows where he’s going and just gets, just gets, ends up adrift…apart from…from his family and the things that, the things that when you’re down keep you sane…”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “Across the Border”
“Thank you…when I was about, I guess I was 26 and I saw, uh… John Ford’s “Grapes of Wrath” for the first time and it was a picture that had a tremendous, tremendous effect on me and it’s really resonated throughout the rest, the rest of my life in some fashion and, uh, there’s, uh (tries out his harmonica quickly) there’s a beautiful scene at the, at the end of the movie where Tom Joad…is, is wanted for having killed a security man who killed his friend and him and his family have, have traveled a long, long distance and… and now he knows he’s gonna have to leave the people that he loves…and it’s night and at first there’s this beautiful dance scene and the dance is over and the camp quiets down and his, his mama’s lying in bed and he comes in and he, he touches her gently and she wakes up and he says “Mama, I have to go”…and, uh, she gets up and they walk out under these, under these dark trees and they sit down…and she says “Tommy, I, I knew that this day would come but how am I gonna know how you are, am I ever gonna see you again, how am I gonna know how you’re doing, if you’re alright?”…and he says…”I don’t know, Mama, I think I gotta go on, I gotta, I gotta go out there and scratch around, I gotta see if I can find out what’s wrong, then see if there’s anything I can do about making it right…and, and I’ll be with you ‘cause I’ll be all around at night in the dark you see everywhere, where there’s, where there’s men yelling because they’re angry, where there’s, uh…where there’s kids laughing, coming in for dinner…you know, I’ll be there, you’ll, you’ll hear me in their voices…because,” he says, “maybe, you know, maybe they got it wrong, maybe, maybe we don’t have individual souls…maybe we’re all some real tiny, tiny little parts of this own big soul”…and he kisses his mother and he disappears into the darkness and the last scene is…is his family traveling north looking for more work and his papa says to his mother: “What are we gonna do, Ma?…What are we gonna do now?”…and she says “Well, we…we’re just gonna keep going…’cause that’s what we do” …”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?”
“Thanks…(?)…this, uh, this next song I guess, this next song sort of single-handedly explains why I never did any hallucinogenic drugs (laughs from the crowd) you know, I, uh, you know, as I got older I thought “Gee, I would have liked to have done that LSD” (laughs from the crowd) my, uh, my friends told me it was a lot of fun – the ones that didn’t kill themselves (laughs from the crowd) little spiders crawling all over your body, seeing God…then I realized that I don’t wanna see God – we’d pick a fight (chuckles)(laughs from the crowd)…”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “This Hard Land”
“Uh, this next song, this is a song about, uh, happiness, uh, struggle, friendship, brotherhood, over the rise…how…things look, things look bad but it ain’t over till it’s over, uh…uh…every Western I’ve ever seen…”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “Dead Man Walkin’”
“Thanks…this, uh…there’s a, uh, there’s a movie coming out around the end of December or the beginning of next year, it’s a movie called “Dead Man Walking,” it’s a film by Tim Robbins and uh… basically it’s the, uh, it’s a movie about, about capital punishment and it’s a story of a man waiting, uh, waiting to be executed on death row and, and, and a Sister that comes in and, and, and cares for him in his last days…this is called “Dead Man Walkin’”…”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “Galveston Bay”
“Thank you…(crowd cheers) first, uh, first I wanna say you were a good crowd, thanks (crowd cheers) I guess this is, uh…uh, you know, you meet, meet people all the time telling you how much they love you and all that (chuckles)(laughs from the crowd) but I wanna say this music means very, very a lot to me and tonight you’ve shown me that you mean that love and I appreciate it (crowd cheers) this is, uh, this is a song, in the mid-‘80s there was, uh…based on an incident that happened down on the Texas Gulf… at the end of the Vietnam War there were a lot of refugees that came out of Vietnam and they settled down in Texas in the Gulf Coast area because it was a lot like home and, uh, they went into the fishing and shrimping industry and there was a lot of tension between, between the refugees and the Texas fishermen…uh, this is, uh…this is called “Galveston Bay”…”

03.12.95 Chicago, IL, intro to “My Best Was Never Good Enough”
“Well, uh, well, this song was a song, I was reading these Jim Thompson novels, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Jim Thompson, he’s highly entertaining (laughs from the crowd) and he had a song where there was, uh, a song, he had a novel where there was a sheriff in a small hick town who did almost nothing but speak in clichés and he’d get everybody crazy…uh, you know, and so…you know, “have a nice day,” “it’s raining as hard as a cow pissing on a rock” (laughs from the crowd) and so meanwhile inside he was this really smart…uh…guy sorting out how exactly he slowly went about killing every one of his enemies (laughs from the crowd) and I said “That sounds like a good idea” (laughs from the crowd)(?) uh, the clichés-part (laughs from the crowd) and, uh…so anyway, I sat down and used 30 years of experience, ladies and gentlemen (laughs from the crowd) used, uh, all my writing expertise and craft…and, uh, my wife cheering me on, I wrote this song (crowd cheers)…”

Compiled by Johanna Pirttijärvi

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