What Bruce Springsteen Taught Elvis Costello About Recording
Elvis Costello recalled how he learned a truth about recording during a conversation with Bruce Springsteen.
The English artist had been influence by the Boss’ early work, but he was surprised at the direction of their talk when it took place.
“I wanted to somehow make magic out of the things around me, the way he did on his first two records before he broke through,” Costello told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “The original version of ‘Radio Radio’ [known as ‘Radio Soul’] was really indebted to the Bruce who wrote The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle.”
He continued, “And then it was the strangest thing for Bruce to ask me how we got the sound of [1977 debut] My Aim Is True – and I told him, ‘No money.’ He asked me questions that were sort of the like the ones that I might have expected me to ask him! So that’s when you find out everyone is standing there wondering, ‘How did they do that?’”
Costello also explained his motivation in learning to read and write musical notation. “I’m a songwriter, and needed to gather the skills to communicate my ideas more clearly, and not necessarily have my ideas bent out of shape by arrangers,” he said, adding that it had “opened up the possibilities” for his latest album Look Now.
“I could sketch out all my ideas in advance for the orchestration, and then work with [pianist] Steve Nieve, who could’ve filled every available space on this record, and would’ve done so gladly and wonderfully, but that would’ve been a different record.”