Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Springsteen Sidekick Steps into Spotlight for Tyneside Festival Bill; ALAN NICHOL HAS ALL THE LATEST FROM THE BLUES AND ROOTS SCENE

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Springsteen Sidekick Steps into Spotlight for Tyneside Festival Bill; ALAN NICHOL HAS ALL THE LATEST FROM THE BLUES AND ROOTS SCENE

Article excerpt

Byline: ALAN NICHOL

Cordovas IN the vanguard of this year's Mouth of the Tyne Festival is a man with a CV which is as comprehensive as it gets.

Steven Van Zandt - in his guise as Little Steven (he is also known as Miami Steve, but was actually born Steven Lento in Massachusetts) - brings his 15-strong Disciples of Soul to a sold-out Whitley Bay Playhouse on Monday night.

He may be known primarily as the indispensible sidekick to Bruce Springsteen (on guitar and mandolin) but Van Zandt's skill-set goes way beyond that inadequate description.

Van Zandt, apart from his obvious talents as musician/performer, is a songwriter, arranger, TV and music producer, DJ, teacher, historian, actor, film composer, activist and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

He has recorded with Ronnie Spector, Gary U.S. Bonds, Darlene Love and others and is a founder member of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Dukes.

Fans of the TV series The Sopranos will remember Van Zandt (as Silvio "Sil" Dante) in one of the key roles as the convincing "administrator" to the Soprano mob. He later starred in the Norway-set Lilyhammer.

Despite those extra-curricular activities, he will always be the man who occupies centrestage next to "The Boss" - Springsteen. The pair met in the mid-1960s and later performed together in a band called Steel Mill prior to the formation of the E Street Band.

Apart from a hiatus in the '80s the pair have toured together for over 40 years. Springsteen was even best man at Van Zandt's wedding (to actress Maureen Santoro) with the Reverend Richard Penniman (Little Richard when he is on stage) presiding.

The fact that the gig was sold-out well in advance is a testimony to the power of his musical authenticity in a band which, with 15 members and crew to pay, cannot be a moneyspinner. This is one act where the term "love of the music" is patently appropriate.

Other acts at the Mouth of the Tyne Festival include Paloma Faith plus Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott (both shows already sold-out) at the Priory in Tynemouth. Beverley Knight is on the same stage next Sunday night, Josh Rouse is at Tynemouth's Surf Cafe (also soldout) and Suzanne Vega is at Whitley Bay Playhouse a week on Sunday. …

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