News • May 2, 2023
Warren Zanes’ ‘Deliver Me from Nowhere’ About the Making of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Nebraska’ is Out Now
“Deliver Me from Nowhere” by New York Times bestselling author and musician Warren Zanes, the fascinating story behind the making of perhaps Bruce Springsteen’s most surprising album, was released today — revealing the pivotal role “Nebraska” has played in Springsteen’s career.
The natural follow-up to Springsteen’s hugely successful album “The River” should have been the hit-packed “Born in the U.S.A.” Instead, in 1982, he came out with an album consisting of a series of dark songs he had recorded by himself, for himself. But more than forty years later, “Nebraska” is one of Springsteen’s most important records — the lasting clue to understanding not just his career as an artist and the vision behind it, but also the man himself.
“Nebraska” is rough and unfinished, recorded on cassette tape with a simple four-track recorder by Springsteen — alone in his bedroom — just as the digital future was announcing itself. And yet Springsteen now considers it his best album. “Nebraska” expressed a turmoil that was reflective of the mood of the country, but it was also a symptom of trouble in the artist’s life — the beginnings of a mental breakdown that Springsteen would only talk about openly decades after the album’s release.
As a member of the Del Fuegos, Zanes has shared the stage with Springsteen — and spoke with him as well as many others involved in making “Nebraska” in research for the book. In fact, he interviewed more than a dozen celebrated artists and musical insiders — from Rosanne Cash to Steven Van Zandt — about their reactions to the album. Zanes interweaves these conversations with inquiries into the myriad of cultural touchpoints, including Terrence Malick’s “Badlands” and the short stories of Flannery O’Conner, that influenced Springsteen as he was writing the album’s haunting songs. The result is a textured and revelatory account of not only a crucial moment in the career of an icon, but also a record that upended all expectations and predicted a home-recording revolution.
Springsteen was featured on CBS Sunday Morning for an interview with Jim Axelrod around the release of the book. Watch him reflect on “Nebraska” below and see the full feature at CBSNews.com.
Praise for ‘Deliver Me from Nowhere‘
“Warren Zanes is in possession of a genuine, often astonishing writerly gift. This book is about Bruce Springsteen’s weird, gothic, heartbroken 1982 left turn, ‘Nebraska,’ which is not just a startling swerve in the career of a great American artist or a pivotal yet neglected transitional moment in the history of recorded music, but the question Springsteen asked himself forty years ago: what do you do when you begin to understand that the things you have loved most have begun to do you harm? This is some of Zanes’s best writing ever, which is saying a lot.”Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay”
“Zanes has emerged from the wilderness of ‘Nebraska’ with one of the greatest books about the creative process ever written. By focusing on Springsteen’s dark masterpiece and the soil it emerged from, Zanes elevates it to near mythic stature. ‘Deliver Me from Nowhere’ is profoundly felt, deeply understood, and (as it should be) full of joy and abandon — with a hint of menace.”Nick Flynn, author of “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City”
“This book, more than any other, reveals the hidden corners of Bruce Springsteen’s creative world. It zeroes in on a period of both volatility and artistic breakthrough, when Springsteen made the record no one was asking for but that he was compelled to make. Warren Zanes, one of our very finest music writers, always comes from the place of the music and its maker. No one else could have told this story.”Judd Apatow
“You can waste your access by protecting your subject or trying to get too pretty. Warren Zanes does neither. He honors the access he gets to all of his central characters. If you’re a writer, his gift will make you jealous. But not jealous enough to stop reading. This is the Springsteen book we’ve been waiting for.”Geoff Edgers, national arts reporter for The Washington Post and author of “Walk This Way: Run-DMC, Aerosmith, and the Song that Changed American Music Forever”