How does author Peter Ames Carlin generate ideas for his books? He digs through his record collection.

That is how he came to write about Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson, and naturally that is how his latest book “Bruce,” came about.

by: PETER AMES CARLIN - 'Bruce' book coverCarlin will discuss his book, a biography about Bruce Springsteen published in 2012, and more, when he speaks at the Ledding Cultural Forum at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 6.

In addition to writing biographies about his favorite musicians, Carlin has also been a freelance journalist, a senior writer at People in New York City and a television columnist and feature writer at The Oregonian. A regular speaker on music, art and popular culture, he lives in Portland with his wife and three children.

Carlin is still pondering where his remarks might take him at the forum, but he will probably discuss “the relationship between eccentricity and creativity. That would be a good way to link all the folks I’ve written about, or been interested by, in the arts. They’re all weirdoes at heart, but what others might see as a weakness turns out to be their greatest strength, and sometimes their greatest torture,” he said.

He noted that he spent time with Springsteen while he was working on the book, even though it did not start out as an authorized biography.

“But even after his manager reached out to me and opened all the doors to his closest colleagues and bandmates, it took Bruce 10 months to sit for an interview. I think he’s comfortable being last. If you see him play a show with his band, Bruce is always the last to take the stage,” Carlin said.

“We met in his hometown of Freehold, N.J., outside his Aunt Dora’s house. He introduced me to her and then came back an hour or so later and we went out for pizza and beer. And tequila. He was nice. Smart and funny and cool, obviously. He’s a great storyteller,” Carlin noted.

This book may just have had its origins in 1978, when Carlin first saw Springsteen play at a concert.

“I enjoyed his work when I was a sophomore in high school. I could never find a reason to stop listening to him, or to not be interested in the things he said and the things people said about him, so I kept paying attention over the years.”

Pop culture

by: FILE PHOTO - CarlinAnd then Carlin found himself writing about culture and people started paying him to write books, so it seemed like a good idea to write about his musical idols, like Springsteen.

“It seemed like an excellent way to spend a few years. I had 30-plus years of experience and accrued info to start with, then spent three years digging and tunneling, interviewing people all over the place, mostly in New Jersey and New York City, and then got to do some hanging out with Bruce in his recording studio, tour rehearsals and then at a few arenas during the early part of 2012,” Carlin said.

He is working on a book about singer Paul Simon, and yes, he came up with the subject matter by digging through his record collection.

Hangin’ with ‘The Boss’

What: The Ledding Cultural Forum presents author Peter Ames Carlin

When: 7 p.m., Thursday, March 6

Where: Milwaukie High School’s Black Box Theatre, 11300 S.E. 23rd Ave.

Details: This event is free. To learn more about Peter Ames Carlin, visit In addition to “Bruce,” Carlin has written “Paul McCartney: A Life,” and “Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall & Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson.”

Contract Publishing

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine