Boss Interview: Watch Highlights From Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Stern Show’ Debut

Watch The Boss play “Thunder Road,” “The Rising” and more as well as discussions about Clarence Clemons, his evolution and other topics.

By Scott Bernstein Nov 1, 2022 11:20 am PDT

Bruce Springsteen made his The Howard Stern Show debut on yesterday’s episode of the SiriusXM program. The Boss spoke with host Howard Stern for over two hours and played, at least portions of, some of his most beloved songs. The interview took place at Stern’s studio in New York City, marking the host’s first time broadcasting from the facility since the pandemic began.

The wide-ranging interview covered plenty of ground as Springsteen was in good spirits throughout. One of the few somber moments came when Bruce discussed the final days of late E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons. The Boss was by the Big Man’s side as he passed away and recalled the experience. “I had a feeling he could hear me because he could squeeze your hand. When I first went to see him, there was some response to your voice and being in the room,” Springsteen said. “I knew that he was gonna die. I Just brought the guitar in, and I strummed this song called ‘Land of Hope and Dreams.’”

He also talked about his instrumental skills. “My guitar playing is underrated as a matter of fact,” Springsteen told Stern. “I started out as a lead guitarist. That was my original gig … I wouldn’t have survived otherwise … I was all about shredding through my teens and early 20s.”

The Rock & Roll Hall Of Famer went on to discuss a medical procedure he underwent a few years back. “I had to get an operation on my neck because … my fingers were going numb,” Springsteen noted. “I’d get halfway or three-quarters of the way through a solo and my fingers would just fatigue.”

“It was a bit freaky because they cut your throat, basically – open you up, tie your vocal cords off to one side, and they tell you, ‘You’re not going to be able to sing in three months,’” Bruce added. “I didn’t sing for three months, then I went in my garage, picked up a guitar … I played ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town.’” The Boss then performed the title track from his 1978 studio album.

Bruce played piano at points and shared a story of learning the instrument. Springsteen had an aunt who let him use her piano and he made the most of situation, as he recalled:

“When you walked into her house there was a little foyer, and she had an old aeolian piano there … I would go down while my mother was visiting and I would start to pick chords out on the piano. She gave me a key to her house, and she says, ‘Anytime, you want to come and play the piano, use this key no matter who’s here.’ And so, after school, I would take the key and I would go to my aunt’s house, and I would sit in her foyer, and I would just transfer what I was learning on the guitar onto the piano.”

Why Springsteen performs marathon concerts, the potential for retirement, his appreciation for Bob Dylan, the songwriting process, signing with Columbia Records and his early days as a musician were just a few of the many other topics discussed. “Thunder Road,” “The Rising,” “Not Fade Away,” “Rosalita,” “Born To Run” and “Land Of Hope And Dreams” were among songs played either partially or in full by The Boss during his Stern Show appearance.

The sprawling conversation finally hit upon Bruce’s upcoming covers album, Only The Strong Survive, towards the end of the visit. “I worked very hard on my singing on this record,” The Boss noted and explained “I made an entire record … and threw it out.”

“There’re 15 songs on this record, 40 songs left on the floor,” Springsteen revealed. “I basically chose songs that I love and … [that] got my voice out front.”

Watch highlights from Bruce Springsteen’s Stern Show debut below:

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