Bruce Springsteen opens up on mental health struggles

Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen (Image credit: Getty)

Bruce Springsteen has revealed that he still worries about his mental health after admitting his battle with depression left him “crushed” a few years ago.

The 66-year-old singer-songwriter says his wife Patti Scialfa observes his bouts of mental illness as “a freight train bearing down” on him. He also describes his inner struggle as a car with multiple versions of himself inside – and there’s no way of knowing which one is in the driver’s seat.

He tells Vanity Fair: “I was crushed between 60 and 62, good for a year and out again from 63 to 64. Not a good record.

“Whoever you’ve been and wherever you’ve been, it never leaves you. I always picture it as a car. All your selves are in it. And a new self can get in, but the old selves can’t ever get out. The important thing is, who’s got their hands on the wheel at any given moment?”

He adds: “Playing a show brings a tremendous amount of euphoria – and the danger of it is, there’s always that moment, comes every night, where you think, ‘Hey, man, I’m gonna live forever.’ You’re feeling all your power.

“And then you come offstage, and the main thing you realise is ‘Well, that’s over.’ Mortality sets back in. I realise there is a finite amount of time in which I’m going to continue to do what I’m doing.”

Speaking of his family’s history of mental illness, which include agoraphobia and hair-pulling disorders that were largely ignored or left undiagnosed, he expresses fears that he’d end up like his late father – who he describes as “a bit of a Bukowski character.”

He adds: “You don’t know the illness’s parameters. Can I get sick enough to where I become a lot more like my father than I thought I might?”

Springsteen also reveals he’s set to launch a solo album next year, describing the as-yet-untitled record as “more of a singer-songwriter kind of record.”

He adds that he was inspired by “pop records with a lot of strings and instrumentation” – particularly the work of Jimmy Webb and Glen Campbell in the 60s.

He’ll launch his forthcoming autobiography Born To Run on September 27 along with his record Chapter And Verse on September 23 – which is designed to accompany the memoir.

Chapter And Verse album artwork

Chapter And Verse album artwork

Bruce Springsteen Chapter And Verse tracklist

  1. Baby I – The Castiles (previously unreleased)
  2. You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover – The Castiles (previously unreleased)
  3. He’s Guilty (The Judge Song) – Steel Mill (previously unreleased)
  4. Ballad Of Jesse James” – The Bruce Springsteen Band (previously unreleased)
  5. Henry Boy (previously unreleased)
  6. Growin’ Up
  7. 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
  8. Born To Run
  9. Badlands
  10. The River
  11. My Father’s House
  12. Born In The USA
  13. Brilliant Disguise
  14. Living Proof
  15. The Ghost Of Tom Joad
  16. The Rising
  17. Long Time Comin’
  18. Wrecking Ball

Bruce Springsteen remaining tour dates 2016

Sep 07: Philadelphia Citizens Bank Park, PA
Sep 09 Philadelphia Citizens Bank Park, PA
Sep 11: Pittsburgh Consol Energy Center, PA
Sep 14: Foxborough Gillette Stadium, MA

Inspirations: Bruce Springsteen

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.