With The Sopranos in mind, I was thinking about the last Springsteen/E Street Band tour in '99-'00, and thinking to myself, "there is no way that guy in the scarves and bandanas playing a mean guitar and jumping around onstage with Bruce and the boys is "Silvio," the scowling, jowly mobster. But he is - must be a pretty damn good actor. I interviewed Steven Van Zandt in 1998:
Steven Van Zandt is an important artist (Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul), songwriter and political activist (the anti-apartheid project "Sun City"), who is also guitarist and de facto leader of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, as well as co-producer of Springsteen's great albums The River and Born In the U.S.A., which between them have sold almost 20 million copies. Van Zandt has also written songs for and/or produced Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Ronnie Spector, Gary "U.S." Bonds, Lords of the New Church, Lone Justice, Darlene Love, and Meatloaf.
Steven Van Zandt was born November 22, 1950 in Boston, but grew up in South
Jersey. "The first record I remember buying was Little Anthony and the Imperials' 'Tears On My Pillow.' My emotional involvement increased a bit when I was 11 or 12 with 'Twist and Shout' by the Isley Brothers, 'Pretty Little Angel Eyes' by Curtis Lee, and 'Sherry' by the Four Seasons. I didn't have too many records, but I was passionate about the ones I had. I had to re-buy 'Twist and Shout' and 'Sherry' because I wore them out," Van Zandt writes in his manifesto, found on his website.
"I had my first epiphany some time during the 77th playing of 'Pretty Little Angel
Eyes.' It was an overwhelming, deeply spiritual, exciting yet calming warm flood
of emotion that I didn't understand but I knew connected me in some permanent
way to music. It was either an epiphany or puberty kicking in - I'll never know -
but it was intense.
"I had my second epiphany June 13, 1964. The Rolling Stones played the Hollywood Palace show on TV and that was it for me. They may have been from another planet like the Beatles but somehow they were accessible, and relatable. They were ugly, aloof, sloppy, crazy, casual, confident, and totally out of place. They were perfect. It even made sense to me that Dean Martin, who I was and am a big fan of, made fun of them and put them down. I had no problem then and have no trouble now reconciling these two contradictory species that coexist in me."