William Broadhurst on Driving to Bruce Springsteen

1. What's your first memory of hearing Bruce Springsteen's music?

I was 10 years old and planes had just flown into the twin towers. A few months later dad brought home a CD called The Rising and I thought that there were some particularly beautiful tracks on it that that touched on the things we all saw on TV that morning. I was too young to really make sense of what had happened in New York City that day but through the album I felt hints of grief and despair, and more importantly an overriding sense of resilience.

2. What is it about Springsteen you identify strongly with?

A pathos through storytelling towards those living small town country lives whose subsequent trials and tribulations are equally as important as those who are foolish enough to make judgement.

3. Share a lyric from a Bruce Springsteen song that really moves you. Which of his songs have the best lyrics?

I couldn’t name a specific lyric but the combined lyrics to 'Factory’ on Darkness I think are very special. On Born to Run you have an album all about tearing down the highway, never looking back and escaping this suffocating environment that has seemingly ensnared all those around you. On Factory he comes back to these people, and there’s this overwhelming sense of humanity, maturity and most importantly an understanding, which I find achingly beautiful.

4. Where and how is it best to listen to his music for you?

When your visual surroundings add emotional weight to the themes expressed in his lyrics. If I’m a long way away from home in a strange place I often put on the Nebraska album and that opening harmonica just cuts through me every time.

5. What other singers would you listen to on the road? Is there a particular type of music that suits driving long distances alone?

I’ve got quite a few CD’s permanently in the car. One is Time (The Revelator) by Gillian Welch, another is Tonight’s The Night by Neil Young, Lou Reed’s Coney Island Baby, Bach’s Goldberg Variations by Jeremy Denk and lastly Aphex Twin’s discography. I don’t think one genre works best on the road over another. It’s just whatever I’m into at the time. For the last year I’ve only been listening to the latter from the list and heaps of other 90’s electronic dance artists. I also find it great to listen to radio national in the regional areas. Helps get your head in.

6. Where's the loneliest place you've ever driven?

Driving down from Lincoln, Nebraska through Kansas and Oklahoma was pretty harrowing. Field after field of wheat, and silos marking out a town every now and again.

7. Whose photographs from the road do you admire most? Are these the same as your influences? Why?

Of course there’s Stephen Shore and Joel Sternfeld and those important photographers before them. But more importantly for me there’s Edward Hopper before that. They’re all interconnected.

8. Do cars have personalities the same way different cameras do? Which has stuck with you?

I think so. I’m a big believer in choosing a camera setup and sticking with it. When you’ve used it for so long, nothing is guesswork anymore. It’s just an extension of your hand and you can pay attention to more important things. Similarly, I know my car is going to hold up on long interstate drives and I know its every quirk. There’s a great chapter in The Grapes of Wrath where Tom Joad is driving the Joad’s truck along route 66 and the whole time he’s just listening to the engine for any trouble that might cause a breakdown.

9. What car do you drive the most often? How did you come to own it?

I’m still driving my first car, a 99 Subaru Forester that I got from my Grandpa. It’s absolutely perfect for me. A mattress is permanently in the back and I’m not bound by anything. The windows are tinted midnight black for privacy.

10. How do you stop from nodding off, or becoming fatigued to the point where you are no longer paying attention?

The volume knob and an Ice Breaker Iced Coffee.