Story 1996-05-02 Zurich, Switzerland

02.05.96 Zurich, Switzerland, intro to ´Adam Raised a Cain´
´´Thank you….wow…..(Bruce says he´s happy to be here in German, French and Italian)…. alright, that ought to ´bout cover it right there, that´s (chuckles)….this is sort of where I usually make my little disclaimer, it´s that the songs tonight are real quiet so if anybody around you´s making too much noise, feel free to sort of band together and ask them politely shut the fuck up, alright (chuckles)….”

02.05.96 Zurich, Switzerland, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´Dank…´s a song about, uh….trying to be new, I think everybody reaches a point in their life where….the old, your old answers run out on you…..I think then you either sort of die in that spot…..this is, uh, about a fella who gets out of prison, trying to find his way back into his family, back into the world, trying to figure out how to be new….and uh, I think that can be tough when the things that made you feel alive sometimes are the same things that bring you down….this is called ´Straight Time ´….”

02.05.96 Zurich, Switzerland, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´Thanks…´s a, here´s a song about, uh, self-knowledge (someone yells) ah, shut up (chuckles) this is uh, this is uh….I think when you´re young, you know, you, I remember when I was about 22 or 3, I thought I was filled with self-knowledge, I knew what I´d do and what I wouldn´t do….but usually thinking that you´re filled with self-knowledge is, is a sign that….you don´t have very much self-knowledge, you see (chuckles) that´s self-knowledge´s strange blessing, the less of it you have, the more you think you have (chuckles) unfortunately, usually, uh, you get a good dose of it after you´ve made some big mistake (chuckles) it comes along….but uh….this is ´Highway 29´….”

02.05.96 Zurich, Switzerland, intro to ‘Pilgrim in the Temple of Love’
´´Don´t tire yourself out now….this, uh, this next song, this is, uh….usually songwriters don´t like to admit that any of their songs are really about them, you know….it´s bad enough writing about (?) you gotta let people know it´s about you….but of course they´re all about you in some fashion, you know….but, uh, this next song, I hesitate to play this next song because this is like a page ripped directly out of my diary, you know….and I don´t keep a diary so that´s how secretive I am….I fly around in those little planes all the time so if I crash and die, I don´t want anybody knowing what I´m thinking, you see….I don´t want anybody going through my house after I´m dead either so….so, uh, but this song, I gotta confess this song, this is, uh…a bit of a….´Day in the life´-sort of a thing, you know what I mean…people always ask me ´Hey, what´s it like, you know ?´….this is what it´s like….now, it´s a bit unusual, if there´s any young children in the audience, I´m gonna have to ask that they leave during the next ten minutes ´cause….I´m not that boring so….uh, also it´s a little unfortunate, it seems, you see it´s a Christmas song and I know it´s here summertime…..but, uh, I´m not gonna be here on Christmas so I´d better sing it now, if you know what I mean….and uh….so let me, let me set the scene for you, it´s, uh…´s Christmas Eve and I´m….suffering from a bout of low self-esteem which I don´t mind because that´s how I got where I am and uh…. there´s this Route 9 and there´s this go-go bar in deepest, darkest New Jersey, you know…. now, you´ll never guess who I met….(someone yells : ´Santa Claus !´) somebody guessed, alright, very good….here we go….”

02.05.96 Zurich, Switzerland, intro to "Red Headed Woman" (after "Pilgrim in the Temple of Love")
"That's,uh….that's my latest masterpiece right there…hey, who says I don't write 'em like I used to…it's, uh….I kinda, sometimes I feel funny 'bout playing that one 'cause usually people go home and say 'Yeah, you know….that other stuff that was pretty good but that Santa Claus song, that was entertaining….that other, that other shit wasn't bad, though… that Santa Claus song, man, that was the one"….so I hate to…I feel a little ambivalent about it…anyway ….after that one, just for safekeeping, I usually do a song for my wife…. this song features a little yodeling, you know….which…. people in the States, I'm not sure if they have the correct impression, they believe that this is the home of yodeling…. I'm not sure if that's true or not… it's probably like, you know, going to England and saying you feel like taking part in a soccer riot or something …or going to the States and wanting to eat a cheeseburger and kill somebody, you know … so I don't know if it's all just one of those cliches, I guess….let's see if I got it in me…"

02.05.96 Zurich, Switzerland, intro to ´Brothers under the Bridge´
´´(?)….here´s a song set in the, uh…..San Gabriel Mountains which is a mountain range just outside of Los Angeles, on the edge of the Mojave Desert…..and uh, L.A is a funny city ´cause you go about 25 minutes outside of town and… get into the foothills of these mountains and then you´ll go for 100 miles and there´ll be one little town….and they roll over down into the desert, it´s beautiful, beautiful country….but uh… the mid-80´s there was a group of homeless Vietnam Vets….that left the streets of the city and set up a camp… the San Gabriels and this is the story of one of ´em that….had a grown daughter, has a grown daughter that he´s never seen…..and she grows up and comes looking for her dad….and what he tells her, this is called ´Brothers Under the Bridges ´….”

02.05.96 Zurich, Switzerland, intro to ´Dry Lightning´
´´Thank you….this is a song about men and women….Man, Frauen… know, love, sex, Liebe, Sex….very, uh….sehr schwierig….sehr kompliziert (chuckles)….aber wichtig….I have, I have mastered the language, that´s right, folks (chuckles) this is uh…..about one of those relationships where….I usually preface this song by saying I was in one relationship for 30 years…but it was with a lot of different women, you see (chuckles) and uh, that was the only problem but uh…..I guess this is…..about one of those where you get to a spot and there´s a lot of things that are good but for some reason you can´t quite…let it, let it be, you know…and uh, baby (chuckles) just missing it is still missing it…..this is called ´Dry Lightning´….”

02.05.96 Zurich, Switzerland, intro to ´Spare Parts´
´´Here´s, uh….when I first picked up the guitar, I remember as a kid thinking….the music, it affected me so powerfully that I thought it was capable of very, very powerful things….if you wrote the right song and took the right stand, you could save the world or change the world ….and you grow up a little bit and….the world kind of kicks that messianic complex right out of you (chuckles) which is good, that´s alright….´long as you don´t forget sort of what is possible, I guess….this is a song about a woman….who saves the part of the world that she touches….that´s pretty good…..”

02.05.96 Zurich, Switzerland, intro to ´Youngstown´
´´Thank you….I was in, uh….Youngstown, Ohio in the States about three months ago, I guess, and uh….I played this little town hall and uh….I remember I set up and I come in and the boy scouts come in….a whole troop of boy scouts….´Gee, the boyscouts….no ´Santa Claus Song´, I guess´ (chuckles) they were, they were ushers and uh…..but it was the town that was the center of the steel industry in the States for, for the first-half of the century and uh….there wasn´t anybody there that night that hadn´t had a brother or a father or a family member that´d been affected when those mills closed down in the late 70´s and 80´s….and people that´d lived there for generations and generations and did all the right things….you know, gave their kids to the wars that we fought…..and uh, I don´t know what it´s like to do something 30, 40 years and be 50 years old and have somebody come along and tell you that that´s not useful any more and you´ll have to find something else… this is a song about the men and the women that built the buildings we´ve lived in and the bridges that we´ve crossed….who were deemed expendable, as a price of doing business…..”

02.05.96 Zurich, Switzerland, intro to ´Sinaloa Cowboys´
´´This Kevin Buell, everybody….right there, Kevin Buell, from the great state of New Jersey ….my guitar man, financial advisor, guru, yogi teacher….this, uh, these next four songs are all set on the California-Mexico border….and uh….it was in 1989, I took a big trip out through the Southwest, went a couple of thousand miles and uh, I was in this little desert town in Arizona….there´s a whole lot of them out there, they´re these little, you know, four-corner ….oasis, I guess….you have a gas-station, you have a grocery store, a motel and a bar….all the necessities of human existence in one spot (chuckles) and uh, uh, there´s hundreds of them out there (?) you know, every 80 miles….every 100 miles, so….it was in the fall, it was ….(?) desert´s really, really just very hot and beautiful in the fall, and I was sitting outside this little motel….and uh….it was like 11.30 or midnight and the heat of the day was coming back up at you from the ground and these two Mexican men came in from the west…..and one was a young kid, another one was a fellow about my age and uh….uh, he come over, he took a look at the motorcycles and started talking that he had a younger brother who died in a motorcycle accident a couple of months earlier and we sat for about an hour and he told me all about his kid brother and…..and for some reason this always stayed with me, you know ….you know how it is, you see something and 30 years later you wake up and you had a dream about something you only saw once….and uh…..I think that part of it is…..once you have your own kids, you know, you´re always worried about protecting ´em….they all bring all that happiness but they bring new fear….and uh….you realise ´Wow, that´s, that´s something you´ll carry forever now, forever´ and uh…..that takes some getting used to….I think that that first line of family always feels like it´s to protect the ones that come after you and if that breaks down…..whether it´s your fault or not, I don´t know how people right themselves again….so I was writing a song on the Central California drug trade where the Mexican gangs come up and hire migrant workers to work in the metamphetamine labs, they´re the ones that get blown up or busted by the D.E.A…..and uh, I was hearing my, this is a song about two brothers and I always, I was hearing my friend´s voice… my head as I was writing it so I dedicate this to him every night wherever he might be, this is called ´Sinaloa Cowboys´….. ”

02.05.96 Zurich, Switzerland, intro to ´The Line´
´´(?) next song is set at the San Diego border station, you get a lot of guys in Southern California, young guys that come out of the army and….end up going to work for the border patrol….which is a confusing job…..I think, uh…..Carlos Fuentes, a Mexican writer, said that ….California was Mexico till about 1848 so the border´s more like a scar….than a borderline ….this is uh….about a young border patrolman trying to figure out where that line really is….”

02.05.96 Zurich, Switzerland, intro to ´Balboa Park´
´´This next song, this is a song about kids and uh….before you have your own kids, they sort of seem like just aggravating little bastards, you know what I mean….then you have your own and they are aggravating little bastards (chuckles) but they´re yours, you know (chuckles) and uh….you know….so instead of your friends coming over your house, boring you for hours with stories of their kids, you get to go over their house and bore them for hours with stories of your kids (chuckles) and me, I get to bore thousands with stories (chuckles)….people always ask what´s the, what´s the biggest change in your life, you know, how….and I think, I think that kids, they got this window on to the grace that´s in the world because they´re not all closed up yet, you know….and that they just bring it into your life just by….being there, you know, uh….I think it does, I think they do define a certain fullness…. you know and….I think that as you get older, that window can close down if you´re not careful, you know, you get hurt and you let less in all the time….and I always say that´s why people go out and go to films or go to hear music or….you know, seek out art or engage in bizarre and unusual sexual practises (chuckles) to bring that grace back into their lives somehow (chuckles) and uh…..this is uh…..but the kids, they bring it with ´em when they come so this is a song….like, the funny thing about ´em is once you have your own, you feel some connection to all of ´em, you know, and uh… pick up a lot of tolerance (chuckles) and uh….this is a song about kids, 10, 13, 14 years old, still kids, coming across the border into San Diego, running dope or they end up selling themselves in this place called Balboa Park…..and they are unprotected, uh…..that´s what happens when that grace gets violated …..”

02.05.96 Zurich, Switzerland, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´Thank you, I´m, uh….I´m about coming to the end of my tour and uh… know, it´s been a…..tremendous pleasure for me to be able to kind of come out here and do this music like this and uh….I feel like I´ve had the chance to sort of…..take the things that I´ve been singing about for a long time and, and distill them, them down to their essence a little bit and uh, being able to do this like this is also been, it´s a gift that the audience´s given me and so I, I thank you, it´s been, you know….but uh, I think…..when I was 26, a friend of mine showed me John Ford´s Grapes of Wrath and I remember sitting back on the couch after I watched it and saying ´Yeah, that´s what I wanna do´….and I think that the film and the Steinbeck novel asked a certain question that I´ve always kind of tried to get to in my own work which is…. you know (?) I guess it´s, you know, ´Is salvation individual or are, is everyone´s faith connected in some fashion ?´, you know….and can that be denied and when it is denied, what´s the price that you pay for that denial and what´s the fortune that you gain in….in the acceptance of some sort of common soul, you know ?….but the, the scene at the end of The Grapes of Wrath sort of hits it on the head, you know, Tom Jones…..he´s killed a security, uh, guard that´s killed a friend of his….and uh, he knows he´s gonna have to leave his family and he´s gonna have to tell his mother that after…..did I say ´Tom Jones´ ? (laughs) no, he´s the guy who sang ´What´s New, Pussycat ?´ (laughs) and uh…..but uh…..I´m losing it now (?)(laughs)…..I don´t know if he left his mother or not, I´m not sure (chuckles) but he, he behaves like he has (laughs) but uh, before this scene that I´m talking about, Ford shoots this ….dance scene and it´s really….very lovely, you know, he…..there´s the music and the way people are holding one another, it´s shot in this workcamp and uh…..I always thought that that was Ford holding out a possibility of beauty…..uh, the, the usefulness of beauty in the world, you know….and uh, ´cause wherever there´s beauty, there´s hope and wherever there´s hope, there´s divine love or…..Tom Jones records (?)(chuckles) and uh….but at the end of the dance scene, you know, she slips in and he, Tom Joad wakes his mother and he says ´Ma´, you know, he says ´I gotta go now´ and uh, they step out underneath these trees and she says ´I knew this day would come, you know, that you have to leave but, uh, when will I ever see you again ? you know, and how will I speak to you ? you know, how will I know you´re alive ?´….and uh, he says ´All I know´s I gotta go out and I gotta kick around and see what´s wrong, see if there´s something I can do about it…..and you´ll see me because at night I´ll be in that darkness that surrounds you….when you´re sleeping….and you´ll hear me in, in men´s voices when they´re yelling ´cause they´re angry and you´ll hear me in the way that kids sound when they´re coming in and they know that there´s food on the table and they got a home and they´re safe´….he says ´You´ll see me´….and he disappears off into the night, the next morning the…..Joads are going to look for work…..up north and the father says ´What are we gonna do without Tommy ?´ and the mother says ´Well, we´re gonna keep going´….and uh, so this is a song about…..mystery of that part of human nature, you know, even after the world reveals itself, people return to hope and faith and belief in love because …..that´s all there is…..that and Tom Jones records of course (chuckles)…..”

02.05.96 Zurich, Switzerland, intro to ´This Hard Land´
´´Alright, here´s a song about, uh, faith, hope, love, brotherhood, sisterhood and how it ain´t over till it´s over, uh….there´s still work to be done, a little bit of Tequila on the side, every Western I ever saw and good old friends…..”

02.05.96 Zurich, Switzerland, intro to ´Galveston Bay´
´´Thank you….I wanna thank everybody for coming out to the show tonight, thank you very much…..this is the, uh, last song I wrote for the ´Tom Joad´-record, it was, uh, based on a…. series of incidents that happened in the Gulf Coast of Texas in the mid-80´s….you know, I was looking to find some way….to bring some light into the record….to, uh….I guess, get to the, get to the, an idea about what difference individual action makes….and uh, after the Vietnam War, there were a lot of Vietnamese refugees that came and settled in the Gulf Coast of Texas and they, uh, went into the fishing industry and there was a lot of tension between the Vietnamese fishermen and the Texas fishermen, men who had served and fought in Vietnam, this is called ´Galveston Bay´….”

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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