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Steven Van Zandt Says Television Success Was ‘Unexpected’

Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

If Steven Van Zandt is forever best known as the guitarist for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, he’ll be perfectly fine with that. After all, the checks associated with that distinction are probably more than okay, right?

When asked if he was enjoying his new career, Van Zandt tells the A.V. Club in a new interview, “Yeah, I am. And we’ll see how things go. You know, who knows. It’s a crazy world. I mean, ‘Sopranos’ was as big (as the E Street Band), and in many ways, bigger, while it was on. That was unexpected. But you never know what people are going to like, the things you do, you never know what’s going to be the top line in a bio. But if it remains E Street Band, that’s fine with me. I have no problem with that whatsoever. “

He says that already, he’s been “luckier than most” with ‘The Sopranos,’ the success of his radio career and “even some of my political successes when I was into politics, South Africa and all that.”

The rock and roll success that he’s obtained remains a special part of his world, and one that he’s happy to make time for amidst all of his other commitments.

Touring behind a new Bruce Springsteen album beginning in March will occupy a lot of Van Zandt’s upcoming schedule. He says that ‘Wrecking Ball’ is ‘more of a Springsteen solo record’ instead of a proper album with the E Street Band. Because of the band’s limited involvement, the full impact of the loss of Clarence Clemons hasn’t completely sunk in yet.

“I think it’s going to hit us most emotionally when we hit the stage for the first time live. That’s going to be, I think, quite emotional. And it was quite emotional with Danny [Federici, the E Street Band organist who died in 2008]. I mean, to this day, I look over there and I’m still surprised when Danny’s not there on the organ. He was the first member we lost. So I don’t think that stuff will ever change.”

Van Zandt is back on television screens carrying the lead role in the new Norwegian-based series ‘Lilyhammer’ that is exclusively available to Netflix streaming members and he’ll perform with Springsteen and the E Street Band next week on the Grammy Awards.


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