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Fame & Fortune
Steven Van Zandt
Steven Van Zandt
Satellite radio builds on Springsteen, 'Sopranos' successes
Celebrity interview

Fame & Fortune: Steven Van Zandt

Bankrate: Silvio fits you like a glove, yet what would you have in common with a mobster?

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Steve Van Zandt: Almost nothing. The only thing we have in common is we're not of the current era. I'm very happy to be stuck in the '60s. And Silvio is a bit of a fish out of water, too, because he's in the '50s. He thinks the glory days of the mob are over and it's on the decline. Everyone is ratting on everybody else and things are not the way they used to be. There's no sense of honor; there's no sense of tradition. Now, of course, he's probably romanticizing it all. There was probably never that sense of honor that those guys thought there was.

Bankrate: Your "Little Steven's Underground Garage" show -- this is one of your radio programs that has propelled garage rock into the mainstream of sorts. Explain what garage rock is.

Steve Van Zandt: We use a pretty broad definition of it. People are going to define it in different ways but I think most would agree that it's pretty basic, simple rock 'n' roll, no drum machine, no synthesizers, mostly guitar-oriented but not big, fat heavy distortion like hard rock is. It's more textured with subtleties to it. Very little keyboard; virtually no piano. Basically, it took its form when Lenny K put together a compilation called "Nuggets" in 1972 of all the one-hit wonder bands of the '60s. That was the defining moment for the genre. The term, of course, comes from that fateful day in history -- Feb. 9, 1964 -- when the Beatles played Ed Sullivan. Before that, there was no such thing as a band, and after that everybody had a band and they all practiced in the suburbs.

Bankrate: Who are some of our garage bands of today?

Steve Van Zandt: Well, we've introduced 110 over the last three years. The greatest ones ... certainly Detroit's The White Stripes, Boston's The Charms, The Chesterfield Kings of Rochester, The Hives of Sweden, The Vines in Australia, The Strokes of New York. Just so many.

Bankrate: Your radio shows have become a very successful venture for you, adding to your successes in "The Sopranos" and the E Street Band. Not bad from a kid thrown out of high school.

Steve Van Zandt: I think that underdog thing stays with you. Forever, you keep that sense of the underdog and I think underdog types just try harder in life because we don't get the respect right away, or didn't in those days anyway. So it's like, "I'll show you." My first wave of success and financial freedom came with the E Street Band and then 20 years later, my second wave of success came out of the blue with "The Sopranos."

Bankrate: I can't see Silvio listening to garage bands.

Steve Van Zandt: Naw, ... he's strictly Tony Bennett, Jerry Vale and, of course, Sinatra.

Bankrate: Ever think you and the E Street Band will go out on tour again?

Steve Van Zandt: Haven't really talked about it but I imagine we'll make another record and do another tour. Why not? We're all in reasonably good shape. We might not be as pretty as we used to be but, you know, we're better.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy -- Posted: June 5, 2007
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