We should hardly have to introduce Little Steven (Steven Van Zandt). He’s a guitarist in the E Street Band with Bruce Springsteen, producer, song writer, as an actor he played Silvio Dante in The Sopranos, he has his own radio show Little Steven’s Underground Garage and so much more! He passed by Antwerp during his tour with his own band Little Steven And The Disciples Of Soul for his latest album “Soulfire”, but the day before he made a stop at the Hard Rock Café Antwerp for a live radio show called ‘Underground Garage Dance Party’. We went the 23rd of June to his live radio show where he played a variety of songs from the sixties, like “A Hard Day’s Night” from The Beatles and Bob Dylan‘s “Mister Tambourine Man”.
Little Steven has been doing his radio show ‘Little Steven’s Underground Garage’ since 2002, where you can find it online since. Sometimes he does his radio show live, which was the case in Antwerp. Everyone was welcome for the free show on a ‘first come, first served’ base. So when the photographer and I got at the Hard Rock Café half an hour before the radio show started, the first floor was already packed with -mostly older- fans. When Little Steven arrived, he was received by applause and everyone tried to get as close to the legend as possible. He started with music from 1964, from the ‘British Invasion’. At a certain point Lowell Levinger, the guitarist from The Youngbloods, came on stage to talk about music together between songs.
“I decided to do the trends in the sixties from 1964 to 1969,” says Little Steven about his radio show. “Every year was a different thing, a different genre of music would be introduced: from British Invasion to Folk Rock to Country Rock to Blues, and we all were listening to the same thing back then, you know? Then in the seventies everybody went their own way, and now it’s still that way. But the sixties were different, and it was where we formed our identity.” While he was doing his radio show, he found time to give autographs and take pictures with his fans.
Fun fact: there is a vest of Bruce Springsteen displayed in Hard Rock Café Antwerp, on the same floor where Little Steven played his radio station.
The day after his radio show, he played with his band Little Steven And The Disciples Of Soul in the Antwerp music centre De Roma to promote his first solo album in 18 years, Soulfire. Little Steven told us a bit about what influenced his latest album:
“The influences are actually quite apparent on this album, you know. Everything from doo-wop and blues to some cinematic influences like blacksploitation… A James Brown song was the theme song to a movie called Black Caesar, and I did a tribute on the song I wrote with Gary U.S. Bond, Standing in a Line of Fire, so I really got a chance to talk about my roots on this album which I’ve never really done before. It was nice.”
He starts to laugh when I ask him how he has changed since the sixties. “I haven’t changed much! (laughs) I’m not really nostalgic, I never left the sixties. You grow in your mind, you evolve, and my new album Soulfire really is able to integrate all the things that I like, so it turned out to be quite artistically interesting.”
A very big thank you to Kim and Patrick from Hard Rock Café who made an interview with Little Steven possible!
Pictures: Myriam Garouche