Aging establishment rocker and Democratic Party activist Bruce Springsteen agreed with former President Barack Obama’s characterization of Springsteen’s fans as racists who would have called iconic E Street Band saxophone player the late Clarence Clemons the “n-word” offstage even after cheering him onstage in concert.
Springsteen and Clemons in photo used for classic Born to Run album gatefold cover, released in 1975.
Springsteen and Obama made the comments attacking Springsteen fans in a taped interview with CBS Sunday Morning that aired last Sunday to promote their new book, Renegades: Born in the USA, which is based on a series of podcasts the two did together earlier this year.
Interviewer Anthony Mason: “You say in the podcast and the book that in many ways it was the most important story you ever told is you and Clarence on the stage together.”
Springsteen: “Well, It was not intellectual. It was emotional. It was the language of the heart. But it was incredibly visual, you know. And for a long period of time, you know, that was a story we told on stage, you know, which was, like I say, it was more valuable than the stories I wrote in my music, you know.”
Obama: “In an ideal world what Bruce and Clarence portrayed on stage was essentially a reconciliation, right? Redemption.”
Springsteen: “That’s right.”
Obama: “But most of your audiences were primarily white. And they can love Clarence when he’s onstage, but if they ran into him in a bar, suddenly…”
Springsteen: “Oh yeah.”
Obama: “… the n-word comes out.”
Springsteen, nodding in agreement: “Yeah.”
Obama: “And part of Bruce’s music and part of my politics has been, “no, no you gotta surface that stuff, you gotta talk about it.” Sunlight is the disinfectant. (BS: “Yeah.”) And if you talk about it then you can reconcile in a true way. Not in a phony way, but in a real way.”
Short clip posted by Newsmax’s Greg Kelly:
WOW. Barack Obama can't Help Himself. He says BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN FANS loved Clarence Clemmons but only "on-stage"–if the "primarily white audience" ran into Clarence at a bar, they'd call him THE N-WORD. Barack–you don't have a damn CLUE about this country. pic.twitter.com/X4xwQU5ld8
— Greg Kelly (@gregkellyusa) October 26, 2021
Longer clip with context of Obama and Springsteen talking about the evolving racial make-up of his band over the years.
La tournée médias de Springsteen & Obama, pour le livre Renegades, commence aujourd'hui.
Dans cette intvw d'Anthony Mason – le meilleur pour les portraits d'artistes – des images inédites de Bruce + Clarence Clemons et un message qui tombe à point nommé: https://t.co/PmP2yoSEIi pic.twitter.com/1E2JqSAd2S
— Martine St-Victor (@MartineMontreal) October 24, 2021
While Springsteen throwing his fans under the bus as racists has not been widely reported yet, some fans who did see the interview were outraged.
“Hey @springsteen I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time. I can assure you that if I saw Clarence at a bar or anywhere else I would not call him the N word. Would it kill you to stand up for your fans who have lined your pockets for decades when Obama calls us all racists?”
Hey @springsteen I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time. I can assure you that if I saw Clarence at a bar or anywhere else I would not call him the N word. Would it kill you to stand up for your fans who have lined your pockets for decades when Obama calls us all racists? https://t.co/kWg1maafKQ
— Maxine McCann (@maximccan) October 26, 2021
Obama said that Springsteen’s fans are all white & only liked Clarence Clemons when he was on stage but would have called him the N word in a bar & that Clemons was a token phony onstage. Springsteen just sat there agreeing. Really @springsteen?! Pathetic!! Racist @BarackObama
— fatcoachinggear (@fatcoachinggear) October 24, 2021
Saw Clarence at Big Mans West in NJ. Everyone in that bar respected and admired the Big Man. All White. It was a love fest. Bruce and Obama have a political agenda. Stir up racism to keep Democrat voters. It’s so obvious. Big Fail @springsteen Big Fail.
— John Petrarca (@Jpetrarca724) October 26, 2021
Saw Clarence play an impromptu set at a restaurant bar in north palm beach. No springsteen, no empty seats, no Obama a great time was had by all including Clarence. Great guy and great musician and show man. He came back a few time over the years for similar sets.
— Shae (@Shae04886553) October 26, 2021