Bruce Springsteen stopped by the Ed Sullivan Theater to serve as the featured guest and musical performer on Monday’s episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The appearance came in support of his new book, Renegades: Born in the USA, which he co-wrote with former the U.S. president, Barack Obama. The book is culled from the unlikely pair’s recent podcast of the same name.
In addition to performing a solo acoustic rendition of “The River”, Springsteen spoke at length with host Stephen Colbert about how he first linked up with Obama, how he spent his 30th birthday, and the impressive global travel history of his beloved Fender Telecaster “mutt” with an Esquire neck.
In the first clip, Colbert asked about how Springsteen and Obama addressed each other. As Bruce responded, “Well, I actually asked him about that. I said, ‘How do you want to be referred to? I would assume ‘Mr. President.’ And he said. ‘Call me Barack.’ And then he asked how I wanted to be referred to, and I said, ‘Mr. Boss, please.'”
Springsteen also spoke about his initial surprise that Obama wanted to collaborate with him. “Of course, I thought he had the wrong number because he’s… [counting on his fingers] Columbia graduate, teacher of constitutional law at University of Chicago law school, first African-American president of the United States. I am… a guitar player. I am… a Freehold Regional High School graduate…” Springsteen joked, shrugging. Colbert responded, “I will email your resume to you, it’s a little bit longer than that.”
Bruce Springsteen On Linking Up With Barack Obama – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
In the second interview clip, Springsteen played some “show and tell” with his beloved Born To Run Fender Telecaster guitar, which he has played for 50 years. “I bought it when I was 22 for $185 on Highway 34, I think, in Belmar, New Jersey … and I’ve had it ever since. It’s kind of a mutt, it’s made up of two different guitars, but this guitar has been in every club, theater, arena, and stadium across America and most of the world.”
He added about the instrument, “This feels like my arm. If I have this guitar, I don’t have anything on. This became an extension of my actual body. Anything else I pick up, it’s a guitar.”
Bruce Springsteen’s Guitar Has Been Everywhere – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
In his final Late Show interview segment, Springsteen spoke with Colbert about his “The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts” with the E Street Band at Madison Square Garden benefiting MUSE. On November 19th, Springsteen and company will release a new concert film/live album featuring ten never-before-released performances from the MSG MUSE benefit concerts as well as and full footage of the band’s entire setlist, available worldwide for the first time. Edited by Bruce’s longtime collaborator Thom Zimny from the original 16mm film alongside remixed audio from Bob Clearmountain, The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts represent the highest quality Bruce performances from an explosive, rarely-filmed era of the E Street Band. The film will be released in HD on physical formats on November 19, including on two CDs with DVD, two CDs with Blu-Ray, and two LP formats. It will be available globally in HD for digital download on November 16 and digital rental on November 23. Pre-order your copy here.
On Colbert, Springsteen spoke about the memorable 1979 shows, which featured a slew of high-profile artists and happened to coincide with his 30th birthday. “I still feel about it the way that kid would have, that hasn’t changed at all,” the musician said in response to a clip of his younger self from the film.
Bruce Springsteen On Turning 30 Onstage At Madison Square Garden – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band – The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts Trailer
Finally, in honor of the 1979 No Nukes Concert release, Springsteen offered up a mellow acoustic reading of “The River” for the viewers watching at home. Watch the performance clip below.
Bruce Springsteen – “The River” – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert