The Light in Darkness

A few weeks ago a man named Lawrence Kirsch noticed that I had written a few posts about Bruce Springsteen (All Bruce Posts). Lawrence is among other things, a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen. He organizes what I will call crowdsourced books in honor of the rock & roll legend – He reaches out to fans of Bruce and allows them the opportunity to submit a piece of writing or photography to the book.

I jumped at the opportunity, but I wanted to do a bit more to promote the book and the concept behind it. I think a book by the fans is an incredible idea.

To spread the word Lawrence gave me a few minutes of his time for an interview:

The Geek Whisperer: Tell me a little bit about the The Light in Darkness.

Lawrence Kirsch: The positive reaction to my first book on Bruce Springsteen, For You Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans was overwhelming. I always thought about digging deeper into one of Bruce’s original albums, and since Darkness on the Edge of Town is my favourite album and tour, it was an obvious choice.

TGW: How did this project come about?

LK: I was researching photos for a Spanish collection of CDs last year, reissues of all of Bruce’s original CDs with fantastic new collector books for each album. I was having a lot of satisfaction tracking down never-before-seen photos that I thought the Springsteen fan community would enjoy.

From there it was a natural leap to start researching my own volume on Darkness.

TGW: Why write specifically about Darkness on the Edge of Town?

LK: Many reasons, but if I can quote from one of the fan submissions:

“It’s a hard, hard album with a sound so brilliant, gorgeous and true that there really ought to be a law against it just so we could break it. This is the climax of American Rock. It is tired, ragged, angry, moving, but still spirited. A grizzled fighter with one last bout. It feels like the Okie standing in front of the tractors in The Grapes of Wrath. That kind of rage — empty handed, wanting someone to hit, hopeless but not gone yet.

But there’s still that spirit, a vestige of the youthfulness of Rock still in it. It conjures up bits of Eddie Cochran, Roy Orbison, Elvis, Johnny Cash. It stands next to Tom Waits’ Blue Valentine like brothers coming to the same conclusion through different paths. It’s brilliant and hungry.

Listen with care”

I witnessed the opening concert of the 1978 Darkness tour in Buffalo, the last two in Cleveland and about 15 in between. It still ranks as my top tour and top performance of any artist I have ever seen.

TGW: Who can submit writing or photography?

LK: Glad you asked. I feel that too many fans have the false impression that only those who saw the 1978 tour can contribute. That is definitely not the case. Anyone who is a fan of the album can submit a story.

Whether you heard it first in 1978, or more recently discovered Darkness, we want your stories about how the album and/or live shows affected you. We are also looking for original 1978 photography and memorabilia.

TGW: When is the deadline for content submissions?

LK: July 1, 2009

TGW: How can I buy a copy of The Light in Darkness?

LK: You can visit to find out more about the project, order books, or submit content.

* * * * *

Since I am far too young to have been around for the release of Darkness I decided that it was appropriate to reflect on the timeless nature of Bruce’s work:

Darkness on the Edge of Town is a timeless album. Bruce Springsteen’s music in general is everlasting because he crafts his lyrics and instrumentals in such a way that they avoid the trite clichés and trends of most other popular music while still remaining remarkably relevant and relatable. This is why Bruce Springsteen endures, why his music always has meaning in spite of the passage of time. His music isn’t about a “cool riff,” an incredible solo, or even his legendary lyrics; they are about universal emotions. That is why thirty years can pass and Darkness on the Edge of Town endures.

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