A FORMER councillor has traded in battles at the ballot box for brushes with The Boss after writing the first definitive biography of Bruce Springsteen’s youth.
Author Craig Statham, 44, has been a long-time fan of the American songwriter and has devoted the last 18 months to chronicling Springsteen’s early years. He even swapped his native Newbattle for New Jersey to embark upon a week-long research mission to the United States where he interviewed former bandmates, managers and childhood friends.
All will be revealed in the book, Springsteen: Saint in the City 1949 to 1974, which is set to hit all major UK stores, including Waterstones, and online retailers such as Amazon today.
The ex-Dalkeith councillor, who admits “politics weren’t for me” after standing down at local elections last year, hopes his labour of love is born to run and run.
He said: “All the big stories have been told but I tried to find the little stories from the people who knew him but have never been interviewed before.”
One little story sure to surprise fans of the 63-year-old rocker is the name of Springsteen’s first band, which Statham claims was called The Rogues.
Other sources have claimed Springsteen first played in a band called The Castilles – a fact now disputed by two members of The Rogues Statham was able to track down.
It also explores everything that made a teenage Boss “tick”, from his little known Dutch background to his love of baseball, early crushes and relationship with his father.
All of it is inspiration that would go on to fuel anthems that continue to rock stadiums around the world.
Asked what inspired him to write this chapter of Springsteen’s life, Craig said: “A lot of the people who were around at that time, like people in the band, are now starting to die off.
“Once they have gone their stories are gone and I suppose I wanted to collect as many stories as possible.
“Also, much of the stuff out there I knew to be wrong because I have been researching this book for many years so I wanted to correct some of that as well.
“This is his career up until 1975 which is a bit of a departure from a lot of the material that’s out there which skims over this period.
“They tend to concentrate on his later career, usually from Born to Run onwards.”
Mr Statham, a father-of-two, has already received extremely positive feedback.
He said: “I’ve interviewed people who previously played with him and those that knew him when he was younger. The whole concept was not about interviewing people who had been spoken to before.
“It was the opposite and so there are 100 stories in the book that have never been told before. Add all these small stories together and they tell a big story that is new.”
A prolific writer, the local authority worker has already published five books including a history of East Lothian which has been his biggest seller so far.
But now he’s hoping for a global response to his Springsteen page-turner that could catapult his writing career to new heights.
“This book has been a real departure because everything previously was local history,” he said. “I hope it sells internationally because it has wider appeal than history books.
“To be honest, though, I’m just a fan. I just want the information in the book to be out there. If I make a profit that’s great.”
Albee Tellone, former roadie and member of Springsteen’s E Street Band, heaped praise on the biography and even elected to write the foreword.
He said: “What sets this book apart from others is that it is the truth from the people who were there.
“I am eagerly anticipating it because of the depth of the subject matter.”