Deliver Us From Nowhere: TRACK FOUR
Track Four: 'Winning Ugly,' inspired by 'Johnny 99'
Well, I'm the Literary Manager of this lovely company we call Tympanic, so I was part of the brainstorming process that birthed Deliver Us From Nowhere (those that are hip in the industry know it as DUFN, pronounced - duh-fin). We knew we wanted to create a night of theatre that was inspired by a rock album, and naturally our Artistic Director, Daniel Caffrey, is a huge Springsteen fan. So again, naturally, he knew Nebraska was rife with deep, dark stories of seedy, down-on-their-luck characters that had nothing left to lose. We felt it uncanny, the similarities these characters had to people today; that have lost their jobs, and don't know what else to do. I knew I wanted to be a part of this magical endeavor, and directing seemed like a good fit.
I think Bruce is a singer songwriter who knows the struggle of the common man. He isn't singing or rapping about being rich and sitting on a throne or whatever. He appeals to us because he is one of us. And he appeals to Tympanic, because he is a great storyteller, who knows how to tell a dark story that fills you with compassion or hatred (both are good, right?). Plus he's still super-cool and has been rocking out for over 30 years! Have you seen him on Jimmy Fallon? Dude's hilarious!
'Johnny 99' is so different from everything on the album, but yet it fits in the same family. It's one of the only "picked up" songs, and it's just tragic that this guy, in the song, feels compelled to go on a murdering rampage because he lost his business. He has no money, and nowhere to go. He needs to be "delivered from nowhere," if you will... 'Winning Ugly,' written by Bob Fisher, grabbed me, because like the song, it felt so different from the other pieces, and it was ugly. Ugly because these characters have nothing left to lose. They throw caution to the wind, and don't care about the consequences anymore.
I love Bruce's solo album, Devils and Dust. In the titular song (titular is a hilarious word, by the way), the lyrics "I've got my finger on the trigger, And tonight faith just ain't enough, When I look inside my heart, There's just devils and dust," really stick with me.
That shit's real.
Tympanic does the Boss right.