Bruce Springsteen was born in Long Branch, New Jersey. To this day, much of Springsteen’s music and personal life revolves around New Jersey.
Springsteen was raised Catholic. At this point in Bruce’s life, he has long since given up on Catholicism, but he can admit it’s influence on his life and music. He said:
[Much of my music is a result of] being completely brainwashed by Catholicism in my formative years. It’s given me a very active spiritual life – and made it very difficult for me sexually!
It’s hard to know quite what he means by the sex part. He couldn’t use condoms? He couldn’t cheat on his wife? He did say, however, that despite not being active religiously, that:
Once a Catholic, always a Catholic.
This was in response to a song off of his Wrecking Ball album with a very Irish-Catholic sort of sound to it. Still, Springsteen maintains his agnosticism, despite accusations that he’s growing more spiritual with age.
Springsteen and politics often go together without a second thought. His music is politically charged and uniquely American. He cites how his father was “emasculated” by unemployment for his becoming aware of the hardships that face working-class Americans. He said of his musical goals:
My work has always been about judging the distance between American reality and the American Dream.
Often, Bruce’s desire to identify with middle and lower-class America causes critics to paint him a hypocrite, considering he is obviously quite wealthy. But Bruce seems sincere and enthusiastic about his ideals, determined to inject his voice into the American political zeitgeist.
In fact, Springsteen has been an inspiration for new generation of political musicians from Rage Against the Machine to The Roots. Initially, Springsteen didn’t know how to approach politics as an artist, saying:
[In the early years, I was] trying to figure out now where do aesthetic issues that you write about intersect with some sort of concrete action, some direct involvement, in the communities that your audience comes from.
But it didn’t take long before The Boss was a major political voice, from campaigning against nuclear power to doing a worldwide tour for Amnesty International to turning down millions from corporations wanting to use his songs in their advertisements.
Bruce has also attached his name to various Democrat and liberal organizations and events. In 2004, he endorsed Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and lent the Kerry campaign his song, “No Surrender.” He supported Obama in 2008 as well, even opening the president’s inaugural celebration concert.
If he’s anything, it’s a liberal Democrat.