Story 1996-02-17 Hamburg, Germany
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17.02.96 Hamburg, Germany, intro to ´Adam Raised a Cain´
´´Thank you….thanks….ich bin sehr….(?) Hamburg zu sein….did I get it right ?…wie geht´s euch ? (cheers)….gut (chuckles)….oh….thank you…it´s nice to be back in Hamburg, this is the first place I played in Germany, you see…so….this is my last, uh….(?) my disclaimer, it´s uh…a community event tonight so if somebody around you´s making little too much noise, sort of just band together and…politely ask them to shut the fuck up, alright….”

17.02.96 Hamburg, Germany, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´Thanks….thanks….this is a song about, uh….I guess trying….trying to be new… trying to do things different….ah….it´s about a fella, gets out of prison…..trying to find his way back into his family….back into the world….and trying, uh….trying to be new….which is hard, I guess, your old habits, those are things, that´s how…. sometimes the things they can feel like the only…things that let you know who you are sometimes…..even if they kill you….so this is ´Straight Time´….”

17.02.96 Hamburg, Germany, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´Thank you…..thank you, this is uh….this next song….it´s a song about uh….I guess about self-knowledge….and also uh…..not really knowing what you´re capable of, I guess, self-knowledge is funny…(?) ´cause the….the less of it you have, the more you think you have, you know….that´s what´s blessed about it (chuckles)….and uh… I don´t know, the older you get, the less you´re so sure about what you might do in certain circumstances….at certain times…..”

17.02.96 Hamburg, Germany, intro to ´Murder Incorporated´
´´Thanks…..in the, uh….in the States, we´ve made kind of a bargain that there´s…. that there´s a part of our….our citizenry is basically expendable….and that the death of their …. their hopes and their dreams and their lives are the price of doing business ….we got murder incorporated…..”

17.02.96 Hamburg, Germany, intro to ´Sell It and They Will Come´ (after ´Dead Man Walkin´´
´´Thanks….that´s from, uh…..that´s from a picture, I don´t know if it´s released here yet or not, called ´Dead Man Walking´…but uh….I….that´s funny I….had the tv on the other night ….and I noticed that…..all the, uh…..same commercials for exercise equipment seem to be playing on German television as are playing….is there a lot of those, those late night infomercials over here or not ? (?) do you see Dionne Warwick ?….and her psychic friends ? ….haven´t seen that one yet ?….did you see, uh……uh….what are some other ones ? well, there´s, you know, there´s the exercise equipment, then there´s, uh….uh ….. Evil Knievel, he´s on, he has one….that´s probably just in the States (chuckles)….but uh, jeez, there´s a whole, are you familiar with Tony Little ?….America´s personal trainer ? (chuckles)….well, then (chuckles) have I got a bad song I´m gonna play (chuckles)….this is….this is a song I wrote….in-between sexual fantasizing on a plane trip from Toronto to Detroit (chuckles) (cheers)….and uh….you see, it´s about all these late night infomercials, you know, they, I don´t know what they, the word, the German word for infomercial is but….infomercial ? (chuckles)….I´m not sure….but uh…..I´m gonna take a shot with this and ….see where we go with it…..”

17.02.96 Hamburg, Germany, intro to ´Brothers Under the Bridges´
´´Ah, I´ve struck a chord (?)(chuckles)….it´s uh, it´s an international experience, that´s right (chuckles) oh my God (chuckles) yeah, in about ten years you´ll be seeing me ´Hi, folks….I bet you thought I was dead, didn´t you ?´ (chuckles) ´No, I just like to stay home a lot´ (chuckles)….oh, hey, hey, the entertainment´s not gonna get any better than that, what can I tell you (chuckles)….oh, man, this was a song I was gonna, I wanted to get on the Tom Joad-record and….it didn´t make it on for some reason or another but, uh, it´s a song set in the San Gabriel mountains outside of, outside of Los Angeles and….there was a group of Vietnam Vets that set up camp out there and this is a story about one of those Vets and….and uh….who has a grown daughter and she comes looking for her daddy… and what he says to her….this is called ´Brothers Under the Bridges´….”

17.02.96 Hamburg, Germany, intro to ´Dry Lightning´
´´This is uh….this is a song about, uh….men and women….Männer und Frauen….yeah, Liebe, Sex, sehr compliziert….(?)(chuckles) watchout, my friend (chuckles)….I always, uh…. introduce this song by saying….I was in this one relationship for 30 years…it was with a lot of different women, though….(chuckles) yeah, it´s, that´s…..yeah, and, uh….. like I say, I was very faithful to myself, you know….worked for a little while (chuckles) ….here´s a song about really trying to make it….but not being able to figure it out…..(?) ….it´s called ´Dry Lightning´….”

17.02.96 Hamburg, Germany, intro to ´Youngstown´
"I grew up in a….in a house where sort of like work was all-important…..it was most of what we knew….uh….it was something if you didn´t have….I kinda saw the effects of how it…. what it does to your spirit and your sense of yourself…. I know my job´s always felt like the breath of life to me, you know…so…about, oh, I guess three or four weeks ago now, I was in Youngstown, Ohio in the States….which was, uh…. center of the….center of the steel industry, one of the centers of the steel industry for the first half of the century… where, uh … and I guess around late 70´s, early 80´s, they began to close all the mills…. population of the town dropped by two-thirds and thousands and thousands and thousands of…of jobs were lost and …. people were basically scattered, you know….uh…..I don´t know what it´d be like to be 40 or 50 and have somebody come up to you and tell you that you weren´t….of any use any more….or that the craft that you´ve learnt was gonna …..you´d have to learn something new now….how´d you go home and face your family or face your kids or your wife….these were the people that built the buildings that we´ve lived in and the bridges that we´ve crossed and that were deemed expendable…."

17.02.96 Hamburg, Germany, intro to ´Sinaloa Cowboys´
´´Thanks, this, uh, this next series of songs, these are all set on the, uh….California-Mexico border….and uh, the chair´s gotta be just right (chuckles) or else the rest of the night just pssh, goes to shit like that (chuckles) and uh….occasionally I have a chance to take some road trips out ´round….Southern California desert, out through Arizona and New Mexico…. and I go with these three brothers….I was telling the people in Munich that, uh, you see my wife calls it ´man-dancing´, you know, but the, I asked what the German word for it was and someone in Munich said that the German word for ´malebonding´ is ´Springsteen´, I´m not sure if that´s true (chuckles) it didn´t sound right to me, you know (chuckles) that must be the Bavarian, uh (chuckles) must be a Bavarian explanation, I´m not sure but uh (chuckles) but if that be the case (?)(chuckles) out Springsteening around and uh….we stay in all these little four-corner-sort-of desert towns and they´re great ´cause you get off the, stay off the interstate, don´t go anywhere near that and (?) little state and county roads, two-lane roads and about every 100 miles, there´s a little four-corner town, there´s a….you know, a grocery store, a motel, uh, uh, store, a motel, (?) I know the last one (someone yells) yeah ! (chuckles) thank you, my friend, come on up here and do that, no (chuckles) he´ll tell you (chuckles) it´s uh….a grocery store, motel, gas-station and a bar, of course, you know, the necessities of human existence….(chuckles) and uh…..I was in this one little place about 80 miles east of, east of the California border and….it was a little late at night, around 11.30 and we were sitting outside and….in the fall the desert is so hot, you know, but at night it´s great, like 85 or 90 degrees at midnight, you sit outside this, your little room and uh, we drink, play cards, listen to some music….and uh, these two Mexican men came in from….the West and one was a young kid, other one, other guy was an older fellow about my age, I guess ….and uh….he was looking at our bikes and started, started talking….he´d had a younger brother who had died in a Southern California motorcycle accident….rode with a group called the (?)….and uh, he talked for about an hour about, about his brother and….there was something in his voice that always stayed with me, you know, maybe because, uh, I was saying that the first line of family always feels like it´s to protect….to protect and to take care of particularly the ones that come after you, you know….and uh, I guess about a year later, I was writing this song about these two brothers that get caught up in a Central California drug trade…. where the Mexican gangs come up and they hire migrant workers to work in the drug labs and they´re the ones that get blown up or busted by the DEA…. and I had his voice in my head….so this is for my friend….this is called ´Sinaloa Cowboys´….”

17.02.96 Hamburg, Germany, intro to ´The Line´
´´Thank you….thanks, this next song is, uh…..set, set at the San Diego station of the….. California border patrol….and uh….(?) you get a lot of young guys that come out of the army and….in and around San Diego and they end up going to work for the INS….for the border patrol….and uh…..Mexico was…..California was Mexico till about 1848, I think ….so, uh, like I was saying the writer Carlos Fuentes, you know, he says that, that….that the border is more of a scar….instead of a border….so this is a song about a young border patrolman…. trying to figure out where the line really is…..”

17.02.96 Hamburg, Germany, intro to ´Balboa Park´
´´Thanks….this. uh….this next song´s about kids and uh….you know, kids are funny, before you have ´em….you can´t imagine what the hell people are getting so excited about (chuckles) you know….and uh…..I remember (?) I had friends that´d come over my house, particularly if they had, like, new kids, you know, all they did was talk, talk, talk about their kids….made you kind of sick, you know….´Hey, control yourself, pal´, you know (chuckles) ….and uh, you know, what´s, what´s worse is then they bring ´em over, you know, and…. before you have kids, your house ain´t ready for kids, you know, they start touching all your shit, running around and….I lived alone for 30 years, I don´t like that (chuckles)….I didn´t like that….then you have your own….and you end up doing the same….the same thing, you know, I´m doing it right now (chuckles), I can´t stop myself (chuckles)…somebody stop me (?), but uh, but uh….you have your own and then, you know, then they really touch all your shit, they….they just fuck everything right up, you know (chuckles)….and, uh, but, I don´t know, somehow it´s ok, you know….so…..I guess people always ask you, you know….what, what difference do they make, you know, what´s, what´s…. and the only thing I´ve been able to, able to figure out was that….that kids, right from when they´re born, for some reason, they…they have a window….onto the grace that´s in the world….and uh….for some reason that, for them that window´s always open….and they, they bring that grace into your life, you know….and I think as you grow up, as you become an adult, that that window closes a little bit and gets harder to reach, harder to touch….like I say, that´s probably why people go see films or…read books or listen to music….or, uh, engage in bizarre and unusual sexual practises, you know (chuckles)….that always brings a little grace into my life (?) (chuckles) ….but, uh, but, uh, so….but, yeah, they do that too, they do it too, like I say they bring it with ´em when they come….that´s for sure so….here´s a song about these young kids that come across the border and…..across the San Diego border there and end up, they´re running dope, they´re 12, 13, 14 years old….they end up selling themselves in this place called Balboa Park in San Diego….I guess this is what happens when….when the grace is violated, it´s violated ….”

17.02.96 Hamburg, Germany, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´This, uh, next song, I guess when I was….I grew up in a house where there wasn´t a whole lot of…culture or books or…or, uh….you know, talk about art….and really, I guess, music was the first thing that sort of….opened me up in some fashion….to, uh ….I don´t know, to the experience in the world….you know, I heard a world of….of sadness and beauty in….Sam Cooke´s voice….but uh….you know, I got a little older and somebody…I remember I guess I was about, oh, 27, 26 years old and somebody showed me John Ford´s Grapes of Wrath…. and it had a big…it resonated for some reason throughout, throughout the whole rest of my life, you know, uh….I don´t know, maybe I was, when I was 19, I remember my folks packed up, they went to California…I think they had, they had like three grand, they slept two nights in the car….and one night in a motel….and they went out there and they started a new life, you know….but uh….I guess there was something about the picture, that picture´s about what it´s like to be a refugee in your own land….to be a stranger in, in the land that you were born….and…also it asks, I guess, a really fundamental question that sort of in some way we ask ourselves every day….either by our actions or our decisions….´Whether we´re individual souls or not …or whether we rise and we fall together in some fashion ?´….at the end of the picture….Tom Joad kills a security guard that….that murdered his friend….and he knows he´s gonna have to leave his family after they´ve traveled thousands of miles….and he´s gonna have to tell his mother she´s gonna lose her son now after she´s already lost her home and so much else ….and this scene is set up by this dance scene that´s very….very beautifully shot….it sort of holds out the possibility of beauty in the world….and then Tom slips into his mother´s tent and wakes her, he says ´Mama, I gotta go´….and they step out underneath these trees and they sit down….and she says ´Well, Tommy, I knew this day would come but how am I gonna know if you´re alive, how am I gonna know if you´re alright, how will I know how you are ?´….and uh, he says ´Well, Ma, all I know´s I gotta go out, I gotta kick around and I gotta find out…what´s wrong and if there´s something I can do about it, try and make it right…and you´ll know where I am because at night when you´re sleeping, I´ll be in the darkness that´s all around you….I´ll be in the sound of men´s voices when they´re yelling ´cause they´re angry ….or happy ´cause they´ve found work, you know ….I´ll be in the way that kids sound when they come in at night and they know that there´s gonna be food….on the table and that they´re, they´re safe and that they´re protected´ … and then he disappears off into the night….the next scene is the Joads….heading north looking for work and uh….the father says ´We lost, you know, we lost Tommy, what are we gonna do now ?´….and the mother says ´Well, we´re just gonna keep on going…. we´re gonna keep on going….”

17.02.96 Hamburg, Germany, intro to ´This Hard Land´ (after ´Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street ?´)
´´I always say that´s the, uh….that´s the song that explains why I never did any hallucogenic drugs (chuckles)….alright, this is uh….I guess it´s a song about friendship ….brotherhood, sisterhood….how it ain´t over until it´s over….anyway, this is what I´m talking about tonight here….”

17.02.96 Hamburg, Germany, intro to ´Galveston Bay´
´´….this is uh….this is a song that took place down in the Texas Gulf Coast in the mid-80´s…. and uh….basically what happened was after the Vietnam War, there were a lot of Vietnamese refugees that settled into the Gulf Coast area….and there was a tremendous amount of tension….between, uh….between the Vietnamese refugees and Texas fishermen, many of whom had fought in Vietnam…and uh, I guess….this is a song, at the end of the record I was looking for something that would bring a little….a certain sort of hard light…. into the album….and it´s a song where somebody, uh…..they take one individual action….. and they do something and in doing so…..somebody sort of decides not to compound….the brutality that´s already out there and in doing so, changes himself and changes the part of the world that he touches….so, blah, blah, this is ´Galveston Bay´….”

17.02.96 Hamburg, Germany, intro to ´My Best Was Never Good Enough´
´´Alright….there was a…a book out called ´The Killer In Me´ by´a writer named Jim Thompson….in which there is a sheriff that speaks….constantly in cliches….and goes around during the course of the book and….murdering off his enemies….and I said ´Hey …that sounds like a good idea…the speaking in cliches part´ (chuckles)… however….I don´t know if these are cliches in Germany (chuckles)….so here we go (chuckles)….”

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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