Bruce Springsteen said writing his song "Born in the U.S.A" helped him cope with his mixed feelings about dodging the draft during the Vietnam War.
"I had some friends, very close friends of mine...guys who came home in wheelchairs, and then, I didn't go," the singer told Tom Hanks at Tribeca Film Festival event Friday, "I was a stone-cold draft dodger."
Springsteen explained he pulled "everything in the draft-dodger's text book."
"So, perhaps, I felt guilty about that later on. I had friends who went. I had friends who went and died. I had friends later on who were seriously hurt," he continued.
He decided he needed to "come to terms with myself" and sing about what he had done.
Much of the conversation between Hanks and Springsteen were based on stories from the singer's recent memoir, "Born to Run." He discussed the tough times at the start of his career when he was broke and playing gigs wherever he could. He and his bandmates never paid taxes and avoided bills for years so when they hit it big, they spent years paying off debts and attorney fees.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.