Story 1995-12-05 Washington, DC

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´Adam Raised A Cain´´
´´This is, uh….this is where I get to set the groundrules a little bit….uh….a lot of these songs tonight were composed using a lot of silence, silence is a part of the, is a part of the music so I really need your collaboration tonight in giving me that silence so I can do my best for you ….uh….if you feel like clapping or singing along, you´ll be an embarrassment to your friends and family…and, uh, arrested by the state police very shortly after that….so I don´t wanna see anybody led in handcuffs out of here tonight, please….it, uh, got pretty ugly in L.A and I had to get out there and get really harsh with a few supermodels so don´t make me do that…. anyway, I thank you for your co-operation….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´Straight Time´´
´´Thank you, thank you very much….I can also kind of do without the friendly exultations letting me know if I´m doing well or poorly (chuckles) I don´t wanna have to come out and start slapping people around and ruin my nice guy image….it took a lot of work….here´s a song about a fellow that, uh, gets out of….gets out of prison and tries to find a way to integrate himself back into his life and back into his family and the world at large and, uh, a lifetime of doing things a certain way is a hard thing to dodge, you find out that all your old habits, they become, they´re how they define, they´re what you define yourself with, whether they´re good or bad, whether, whether they kill you or not….this is called ´Straight Time´….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´Highway 29´´
´´Thank you, uh, this next song is a song I guess about, uh, knowing yourself and not knowing yourself, I always think that you really, you really don´t know what you´re gonna do until you get there and you face the circumstance and then you do it….which, uh, of course when I was young, I was sure I always knew what I would do in any circumstance…. which was, uh, evidence of how little I knew what I would do in any circumstance actually, so, uh, as I´ve gotten older, I´ve learned to happily accept myself as a total stranger….alright ….(someone: ´You rock, Bruce!´)….that´s what I´m doing…..´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´Murder Incorporated´´
´´Thanks, this, uh, this next song, this is about, uh….good old-fashioned American paranoia ….and, uh, you know, there´s a part of our population that we basically, whose, whose, uh, lives and dreams we´ve basically declared expendable for the price of doing business and, uh ….so we build more prisons and get those alarms on our cars and our houses and….lose just a little bit of our freedom and our soul….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´Little Things That Count´´
´´Thank you, this is, uh….this is the part of the show where I….I like to regale the crowd with tales of my life and loves….yeah, on the nights that my wife isn´t here, alright (chuckles) but, uh (chuckles) but, uh….I was in a, I was in a city that shall remain nameless and I was going to visit some friends of mine and, uh….I left, they lived a little ways off across the bridge and I left about an hour to get there and it should have been plenty of time and I get on the bridge and I´m traveling and I´m hitting hellacious traffic and I realise that I´m probably going to be an hour late so I pull off the nearest exit and I….and I, uh, end up in this sort of industrial area where I don´t see anything open and I drive a few blocks and there´s a little bar on the corner….so I pull over, I´m in my….I´m, I´m in my folks´ Cadillac and I pull over and I run in the bar and I´m going to make a phone call, trying to be courteous and tell ´em I´m gonna be late….and all I got´s a twenty dollar bill so there´s like a few people in the joint and I go up to the bartender and say ´I need to make a phone call, can you give me change?´….so he says ´Well, we don´t give any change around here´….so I didn´t know if he meant like in the bar or if the whole community had taken on this issue to simply not give change any more…. ´We´ve had it! We´re not giving any change! Goddamn it! Fuck ´em!´ alright (?)….I didn´t have time to do a door to door survey and check it out so I just stood there with a twenty in my hand and a dumb look on my face, uh, meanwhile sort of off in the corner of my eye there´s a waitress and she doesn´t say anything, she just kind of saunters over and goes like this and holds up a quarter in her hand….I say ´Thank you´ and I go over to the payphone….I put the money in the phone and I realize that I´m obviously making a call that´s just slightly out of the area code (chuckles) and, uh, and so I look at her and I say ´Gee, you know, I think it´s gonna cost fifty cents´….and she just looks at me and says ´Oh, that´s too bad´….so, uh, she says ´But I´ll give you another quarter if you give me a ride home´….so (chuckles) I say ´Ok´….all of this took place a very, very long time ago (chuckles) and, uh, this is called ´Little Things That Count´….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´Born In The U.S.A´´ (following ´´Little Things That Count´´)
´´Oh what the lack of change will do (chuckles)….this is, uh, this is a song that I´ve read, uh, many times that people say it´s been widely misinterpreted, you know, uh, I´m not sure if that´s true, it might be, it might not, I don´t know, but if so, it´s sort of in the grand tradition of, of great misinterpreted songs like ´Louie Louie´….´This Land Is Your Land´….and, uh, if it is true, all I can tell you is that´s where the money is (chuckles)….so….take that home with you….do your best to be misunderstood from here on out….but, uh, but the songwriter always gets the last shot, you always get, always gets a chance to get it right, we´ll see if I get it right….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´Dry Lightning´´
´´Thanks….this, uh, this next song, I guess I had, I´ve been telling the folks that I had, uh….I had the, I was in like the same relationship for about 30 years….it was all with different women….and they were all really lovely….but it was the same one…..I wish I´d have met them (chuckles) but uh….you know, then….then it´s over and you go ´Hey, what happened? ….I don´t get it´ (chuckles) anyway, this is, uh, this is a song about any of those, pick any one (chuckles) and, uh, about just missing it….but just missing it is still missing it….this is called ´Dry Lightning´….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´Spare Parts´´
´´This is, uh, this is a song, I guess, uh, how we are so quick to abandon things, it seems, society´s so quick to abandon things, kids, people….until the world´s just full of spare parts ….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´Youngstown´´ (following ´´Spare Parts´´)
´´(?) so to continue in that theme, this is, uh….uh, I read, uh….I was just about finished writing all the songs for the Tom Joad-record, I think I had two or three left I was thinking of writing and, uh….I pulled a book out of….I was downstairs one night, couldn´t sleep, wandering around and I pulled out a book from the shelf, it was a book called ´Journey To Nowhere,´ it´s uh….the text is by a fellow named Dale Maharidge and there´s photos by a fellow named Michael Williamson and what they did is in the mid-´80s they hopped a train in St.Louis and they rode through California up to Oregon, kind of chronicling what they were seeing out on, out on the road…..and uh….about that time I was traveling around from city to city, I met a lot of people from different foodbanks and they were kind of all saying the same thing, that there was more people coming in, there were people coming in that they hadn´t seen before, people who held on to the, held on to the, held on to their jobs until then, had been able to hold on to some middle-class lifestyle, who were…..coming in for the first time and, uh….I read the book and, and I set it down and I think the next day I wrote this next song, a song called ´Youngstown´….and I guess, you know, I sat there in bed and I remember thinking how….I´ve had a fortunate life but what if….I have, I have all these kids and what if I couldn´t take care of those kids, what if I couldn´t be, be their father, what if I couldn´t, uh, give them the things that they needed, is there anything I wouldn´t do?….uh….so what happens when you end up with a craft that you´ve learned for 30 years, I only know one thing….what happens if the craft you learned for 30 years, things that have built the buildings we live in, the bridges that we´ve crossed every day….all of a sudden somebody says ´Well, it´s over for you´….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´Sinaloa Cowboys´´
´´Thank you, thank you, uh, this next series of songs are set on the California-Mexico border, uh, I´ve been in, uh….in and out of California for the past ten or fifteen years, it´s a, it´s a powerful, it´s a powerful place and, uh….I was, I was, I took this trip through Arizona and I was sitting in this little motel in this little, this little desert town that´s about 80 miles, 80 miles east of the California border and it was, oh, about 11.30 at night and we were sitting outside, me and some friends of mine, and, uh, just outside the room, near the parking lot and we were playing some cards and having a drink and….and these Mexican men come in from, in from the west, they were driving a truck and they stopped and took the room next to us, one of the, one of the fellas was….a young guy and kind of, kind of real high, then there was another fellow about my age, he came over and sat down, sat down with us and was looking at the motorcycles that we had, was, told me a story how he lost his brother, uh, a few months ago in a motorcycle accident in Southern California and there was something, something in his voice, there was something in the way that he, he spoke about his brother that, that stayed with me for a year, a year and a half in the back of my head and I always saw his face and….I was, uh, writing a song about the drug trade in Central….Central California where Mexican drug gangs come up into Central Valley and they hire migrant workers to cook metamphetamine, a very dangerous job, very easy to die, and it´s the migrant workers who end getting busted and….and killed and there was something in the way that this fella spoke about his brother that made me think the family….the first, it seems like the first….first line of, of family is to take care and when that breaks down, when that doesn´t happen, what you have to live with….uh….so this is called ´Sinaloa Cowboys´….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´The Line´´
´´Thank you, this, uh, this next song is set on….down at the San Diego, San Diego border station, there´s a lot of fellas that, uh….they get out of the army and….they go to work for the INS….uh, California border patrol and, and….it´s a tough and confusing job….hard to know ….it´s impossible really, it´s hard to know where the, where the line really is….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´Balboa Park´´
´´Thank you….this, uh, this next song, this is set in…in San Diego, down along the border, about this little kids, they come hopping, hopping across the river, running drugs over to San Diego strip or, uh, coming over and selling themselves….on the streets in a place called Balboa Park….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´The New Timer´´
´´This is a song about a fellow who loses…..comes, comes west from Pennsylvania, gets laid off, finds a….meets up with an old hobo, who kind of takes him under his wing for a while…. and….and ends up just drifting….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´Across The Border´´
´´Thank you, this, uh, when I was a kid, I guess I was about 26 years old, I saw John Ford´s ´Grapes Of Wrath´ for the first time and it was a picture that resonated throughout the rest of my life in some fashion, wherever I´m going, if I´m going to one direction or another but I keep, always keep coming back, back to it for some, some reason and uh….there´s a beautiful scene towards the end of the picture that….Tom Joad is, is wanted, he´s wanted because he, he killed a security man that killed his friend….and…..and he knows he´s gonna have to go away, he´s traveled with his family….such a long distance, now he has to tell his mother that he, they have nothing and yet, and now she´ll lose him….and they´re in this camp and there´s a beautiful dance, dance scene, a lovely dance scene and the dance is over….and his mother´s sleeping in a tent and he comes in and he touches her gently and wakes her up and he goes ´Mama, I have to go now´….and she gets up and they walk out underneath the trees and she says ´Tommy, I, I knew this day would, I knew this day would have to come but how am I gonna know how you are, how am I gonna know….am I ever gonna see you again? how am I gonna know how you´re doing, how you´re feeling?´….and he says ´Well, Mom, I just, all I know is I gotta go out there and I gotta start scratching around and I gotta see what´s wrong and maybe if I can see what´s wrong, maybe there´s some way that I can help make it right….and so, so I´ll be here, I´ll be here, at night I´ll be in the darkness that´s all around you….and I´ll be in men´s voices when you hear ´em yelling ´cause they´re mad or angry and I´ll be in, in the sound of the little kids when they come in and they know that supper´s on the table….I´ll be all around you….because maybe….maybe they got it wrong and maybe we´re not all individual souls….and maybe our fate is not independent at all….maybe we´re all one, one little piece of one big soul´….and he disappears into the darkness and the next scene in the picture is, uh, the Joads heading north in a truck in the morning, the father says ´What are we gonna do now?´ and….the mother says ´Well, we´re just gonna keep going….because that´s what we do´….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?´´
´´Thank you, thank you very much….(?)….thanks, uh, this next song, this is, uh….this is kind of an explanation as to why I never did hallucinogenic drugs….I would have….as I got older, I looked back and said ´Gee, I would have liked to have done some LSD´, uh, my friends said it was a lot of fun - the ones that didn´t kill themselves - spiders crawling all over your body, seeing God….then I realized that I don´t wanna see God, we´d pick a fight….so…..´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´This Hard Land´´
´´Thank you, this is a song about, uh, hope, happiness, friendship, passion, brotherhood, uh, how, uh, it ain´t over till it´s over, uh….uh….survival, uh….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´Dead Man Walkin´´´
´´Thank you…thanks, there´s gonna be a picture coming out at the end of the, end of December, I guess, or beginning of January, it´s a picture called ´Dead Man Walking,´ a picture by Tim Robbins, uh…basically it´s about, uh, a picture about capital punishment and about a man that´s waiting on death row to be executed and, uh….and a Sister who´s send to, to, and takes it on herself to care for him….and his last days so this is called ´Dead Man Walkin´….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´Galveston Bay´´
´´Thank you, thank you very much….thanks, I just wanna take a minute and say, I wanna thank you for helping me, helping me work tonight, uh, this is music that means a lot to me and, and you´ve shown it and me a lot of love and I appreciate that, thanks, you´ve been a great audience….this next song, this is, uh, in the mid-´80s, this is based on an event that happened down in the Texas Gulf in the mid-´80s, at the end of the Vietnam War, there were a lot of refugees that came out of Vietnam and settled in the Gulf Coast area because it reminded them of home, uh, they went into the fishing industry….and there was a lot of tension and, and violence between the Vietnamese fishermen and the Texas fishermen….this is a song called ´Galveston Bay´….´´

05.12.95 Washington, D.C, intro to ´´My Best Was Never Good Enough´´
´´Thank you, folks, this is, uh, this next song, I was, uh, I was reading, I read a bunch of those Jim Thompson novels a while back, I don´t know if you´re familiar with him but he´s highly entertaining (chuckles) and, uh, he´s got this one novel called ´The Killer In Me´ where he has, one of the characters is a sheriff in this hick town and, uh, he kind of runs around acting real stupid and speaking in these cliches all the time, drives everybody crazy ….and, uh, but meanwhile inside he´s got this sort of, you know, really sinister mind and he´s slowly picking off his enemies one by one….´Have a nice day´ (chuckles) and soI sat around and I said ´Gee, that´s a great idea´…the cliche-part, of course (?)….and so I called on 30 years of songwriting expertise, settled down with my pen in my hand, puffed myself up for the challenge and with my wife cheering me on…..(starts playing)….(says in high voice:) That´ll be just right….´´

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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