Didn’t pay taxes, dodged draft — Are you disillusioned with Springsteen?
Not a good week for Bruce fans. At Tribeca Film Festival he was interviewed by Tom Hanks. He admitted to the two time Academy Award winner that he used to not pay taxes early in his career. This was not a one time thing. This apparently went on for years.
According to Springsteen, "First of all, I never met anyone in New Jersey who paid their taxes. The entire state wasn't paying any taxes. So, years went by and all of this time went by. Nobody's paying any taxes. Me, the band, no one I know ... I didn't pay those taxes."
Really Bruce? I always paid mine. So did my father, and my mother, who worked their asses off working for the U.S. post office, in factories, in warehouses, you know, the very stuff you write about?
“Then when we got with Mike Appel. He was handling all our business and his thing was, ‘We’re not paying any f—— taxes.’ So, years went by and … all of this time went by. Nobody’s paying taxes — me, the band, no one I know.”
Nice Bruce, blame it on the manager. Like you didn't know better.
It wasn't until 1975 rolled around and Born To Run landed Bruce Springsteen on both the cover of Time and Newsweek simultaneously that the government paid attention.
“Finally, some guy at the IRS must’ve got smart and said, ‘Who is this guy on the cover of this magazine? Let’s see what he’s doing. They came after us and I had to work for a couple years for somebody else every night.”
It gets worse. He also admitted that the IRS bills weren't the only ones not getting paid. He said he and his crew “weren’t paying any bills either.”
“Then we had to pay lawyers. In 1980, I think I had about $20,000 to my name, which would’ve sounded like a lot of money when I was 20, when you’re 30?”
Just, wow. I don't even know what to say hearing all this. Keep in mind Born To Run was not the first album he had out. There was Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., plus The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle before this, both on the Columbia label as well. For him to have not paid taxes all the years is disgusting to me.
It also came up in his interview at Tribeca with Hanks that he was in his own words a "stone-cold draft dodger", having faked being high on LSD and employing other tricks to get out of the draft during the Vietnam War. I'm not sure if this was the first time this was revealed, but it was the first time I ever heard about it. I remember in a live recording Bruce telling a story from stage just before launching into "Independence Day" about his father. How he had disappeared for a few days after getting a draft notice that his dad did not know about. His father was pissed. It's no secret how they never got along, and his father used to tell him, "When the army gets a hold of you they'll make a man out of you." Told him this all the time. So it was poignant when in his story Bruce said how when he finally showed up back at home after those few days his very angry father asked him where the hell he'd been. Bruce explained he'd received a draft notice and was reporting to take care of it, and Bruce's dad asked what happened. Bruce said they told him he couldn't go because of a bad back. And all his father said was, "Good."
Now I always thought that was the whole story; that he legitimately was excused from service due to a medical condition. Knowing about the draft dodging, and the tax evasion, is very disillusioning.