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Little Steven Van Zandt spreads garage-rock love

Actor, guitarist working on music network, festival
/ Source: Billboard

Little Steven Van Zandt -- guitarist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street band, gangster actor on HBO’s “The Sopranos” and host of the syndicated “Little Steven Underground Radio Show” -- has grand plans to spread the good word of garage rock’n’roll.

“It has taken a little longer than I would have liked but we’re trying to put together a circuit of clubs around the country that all of our bands can plug into and play and keep playing,” Van Zandt told “We would have ’Underground Garage’ nights in each club. And we would work it out on a circuit, where every week we would just put another two bands on the road.”

Van Zandt said he’s also close to announcing the details for a three-day garage rock festival, featuring upwards of 70 bands, slated to take place somewhere in the Northeast in August.

Aready set is the inaugural club date for the Little Steven Underground Radio Show tour, featuring the Romantics, the Chesterfield Kings, the Reigning Sound, the Fondas and Cobra Verde. The show will be held Feb. 21 at Cleveland’s Beachland Ballroom, with Van Zandt as master of ceremonies.

Taking a breakAnd with filming completed on the fifth season of “The Sopranos,” speculation is afoot about the next move for the E Street Band. “Hopefully, we’ll take this year off,” says Van Zandt. “I know Patti Scialfa has her record about finished, so I would expect that to be coming out and for her to be spending time with that. I’m not sure if Nils Lofgren has something else coming out or Clarence Clemons possibly, as well.”

“I’m not sure what Bruce is up to,” he continues. “He’s always writing and always doing something so you never know with him. I’m pretty sure we’re taking the year off. I can’t tell you absolutely. But we will make another record and we will be back for sure.”

While rabid fans of Bruce and company will be happy to learn the band is only taking a vacation, one area of interest among his loyal following is the possibility of full live concerts being released to the marketplace, a la Phish or Pearl Jam.

“It might make sense only because every show is bootlegged,” says Van Zandt. “But I’m not a big fan of live records. I’ve always seen it as two different experiences. I really think rock’n’roll does have two separate hearts that combined, create the rock’n’roll experience. And one is records and one is seeing the band live. I see the two experiences as two different things, related obviously, but two different things, two sides, that complete the picture. I have never been a fan of live records. I don’t get it. They are just basically usually inferior versions of what you do in the studio. I just feel with rock’n’roll, it has to be experienced live.”