In preparation for the release, Springsteen talked with Rolling Stone writer Andy Greene. He discusses his work with Tom Morello (and the potential of making Morello a permanent member of the E Street Band), the possibility of a Tracks 2, his faster pace of work since the break between Tom Joad and The Rising, writing his memoirs, and whether or not he will be on the road in the U.S. soon.
Here is a taste of Greene's interview:
You said that this album started as something else and morphed into this project. Tell me how it all came together.
The best way to describe this album would be to say it’s a bit of an anomaly, but not that much. I don’t really work completely linearly like a lot of people do. You have to imagine that at the end of the tour, or when I’m home, I go into a studio and I’m surrounded by paintings that are sort of half-finished. There’s something wrong with this one that I couldn’t finish and it’s just sitting there, and I didn’t have time for this one or this one didn’t fit into the bigger project I was working on.
So I go into my studio where I’m surrounded by all my music that I haven’t released, and I wait to see what’s speaking to me. Imagine something like "The Ghost of Tom Joad." That was originally written to be on the Greatest Hits package we put out in the Nineties. It was a rock song, but I couldn’t come up with an arrangement, so it became an acoustic song. Because it became an acoustic song, I then wrote The Ghost of Tom Joad album that went with it. Then those songs got into our tour, acoustically. Then those songs got into our E Street touring set list and became rock songs. I sort of found some of those arrangements on the road while playing with the band.
One thing leads to another, so they become part of our live show, but miss getting on the studio record because they didn’t necessarily fit with the sonic picture. So "Ghost of Tom Joad" ends up on this record as the rock song it was, perhaps, intended to be 15 years ago. That’s a pretty good idea of the way I go with these things.