Bruce Springsteen Talks Pot Busts, Making Bail And Dodging Taxes

There's never a shortage of potholes on the road to fame and fortune. For rock legend Bruce Springsteen, those pitfalls came in the form of pot busts, bailing bandmates out of jail and dodging the taxman.

The Boss recently opened up about the struggles he faced in his early years during an interview with actor Tom Hanks during the Tribeca Film Festival last weekend. 

"In rock bands, you're in your twenties, you're with all these misfits, and everyone is crazy – that's the people who are drawn to the field," Springsteen recalled. "People are hitting one another, fighting, getting thrown in jail, and you're trying to bail them out. Then you bail one guy out and another guy's going to jail. [They're] leaving marijuana plants on the front seat of their car, the car gets towed away, they go to the cops and say, 'My car was stolen,' and they get thrown right back in jail. These things are going on constantly and every day."


That's why he took a different approach to governing bandmates when he left the group Steel Mill in 1971 and putting The E Street Band together. "It was basically a benevolent dictatorship," he said of the new approach.

But Springsteen later learned that he wasn't above the law when the taxman came around for a cut of The Boss' take. "I never met anyone in New Jersey who paid taxes," he said. "Certainly no one under 25 was paying any taxes. Years went by and no one was paying any taxes – me, the band, no one I knew."

But the IRS caught up with them in 1980 and left Springsteen - who had made a fortune on albums like 'Born to Run' (1975) - with only $20,000 to his name.

For more insights from the Tribeca interview, check out this transcription courtesy of Elias Leight of Rolling Stone.


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