My Biggest Musical Influence: Bruce Springsteen
My Biggest Musical Influence: Bruce Springsteen
My Biggest Musical Influence: Bruce Springsteen
By: Bobby Mahoney

My name is Bobby Mahoney, and I am a Sophomore in the Popular Music Studies Program here at William Paterson. I sing and play guitar in my hard rock/punk band called “Bobby Mahoney and the Seventh Son.” So far, I love going to school here. In the last year and a month, I have made so many connections and have learned so much about the music business. It is so cool that I can be furthering my career by just showing up to classes and learning about what I love.

Bruce Springsteen’s Influence On 21st Century Bands

My biggest musical influence is Bruce Springsteen, who at age 65 is still one of the biggest names in the industry, and is still the best live performer I have ever seen. He came from a working-class family in Freehold, NJ, and made a name for himself as a young musician in the shore town of Asbury Park as a dynamic live performer and songwriter.

Springsteen has had a huge impact on my stage show. After watching how he can have 60,000 crazed fans eating out of his hand, it really pushed me to work on my stage presence and audience interaction. The sheer amount of energy he uses on stage is incredible. At a Springsteen show, you can go from weeping uncontrollably to dancing your ass off in a span of 5 minutes (Trust me, I have done both). I have never seen a performer who can connect with an audience as well as he can.

His songwriting has also had a big influence on mine. His use of imagery is beautiful and it helps me to understand what the characters in his songs are seeing and feeling. The characters in his songs feel real because of how he writes the songs around them, so that is something I strive to do in my own songs.

Bruce Springsteen in Asbury Park, NJ
Bruce Springsteen in Asbury Park, NJ

I think the biggest impact Springsteen has had on my life, is the fact that he came from a similar background to me, and to see that someone can come from Central New Jersey can end up touring the world, playing for Thousands of people, and make a difference. It gives me hope that maybe if I work hard enough, I can accomplish my own goals. I can relate to him and the places and things he sings about in his songs, and that isn’t something I can say about a lot of my other musical heroes.

Being able to stand next to him on stage was one of the biggest honors of my life. There were a lot of other people on stage that night, but to be holding a guitar, playing my favorite songs on stage with the guy who wrote them was an incredible feeling. I still pinch myself. Before the show, he said “Don’t f*ck up”, and then after the show he said “You were great and you didn’t f*ck up.” That’s a victory in my book. Thank you, Bruce.

-Bobby Mahoney- William Paterson ’17

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