Posts Tagged ‘Steven Van Zandt’

Steven Van Zandt – known widely in music circles as Little Steven and Bruce fans as Miami Steve, among other sobriquets – is something of a New Jersey renaissance man, yet he’s never been one to really seek the spotlight.

Whether it’s his long-standing role as Bruce Springsteen’s right-hand man in The E Street Band – it was Van Zandt himself who gifted him the nickname “The Boss” – or in his lauded TV role as Silvio Dante in The Sopranos, he’s usually happy playing sideman to bigger names, a role he carries off with a humble aplomb.

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule – he had the lead role in short-lived Norwegian-American gangster series Lilyhammer, and he hosts his own beloved Underground Garage radio show which is syndicated all over the world – but mainly Van Zandt is happy to eschew the limelight and leave the grandstanding to others.

Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul covering The Southside Johnny and Asbury Jukes classic, “I Don’t Wanna Go Home”, performed by Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul at BluesFest 2016.

But with The Boss a couple of years ago deciding to make a lengthy one-man stand on Broadway and his acting commitments having temporarily dried up, Van Zandt found himself reviving the ‘80s outfit he’d formed during another hiatus from The E Street Band – this time when Springsteen was assembling his 1982 solo masterpiece Nebraska – namely Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul.

His solo project had found him returning to the Jersey Shore sound that Van Zandt had helped formulate back in the ‘70s, first with his early group Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes and then on the early Springsteen records (which he largely arranged), and then over the course of a number of staggered albums taking that sound into new and routinely fascinating places.

Yet he’d barely even considered that body of work for 20 years when in mid-2016 he was randomly invited by a London promoter to appear at a UK blues festival, after which he pulled a new version of the band together and hasn’t looked back. Since then the band has two new albums to their name – Soulfire (2017) and Summer Of Sorcery (2019) – and has been touring ever since to global acclaim, something Van Zandt had never envisaged happening again.

“Yeah, it’s been quite an experience and I’m very, very happy I did it,” he chuckles. “It was fortunate, Bruce decided to spend some time on Broadway and I didn’t have a new TV show going, so just through those random circumstances I ended up revisiting my own work, and I found it to be really quite rewarding.

“I hadn’t realised the value of the stuff and how well it all held up and how it had kinda become its own genre through the years, that ‘50s rock-meets-soul thing which at this point is quite unique.

“So it’s just been fun to revisit your stuff and try and reconnect with an audience again and see how the stuff holds up. It’s been quite a year-and-a-half of exploration and discovery and it’s been a very, very satisfying response from the audience – the audiences have been going crazy!”

The Disciples Of Soul are a 15-piece powerhouse, but Van Zandt is like a pig in mud back putting their massive sound together.

“The arranging is the fun part,” he smiles. “I’ve been using five horns ever since we put together Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes really which was mid-‘70s, and then I carried that same sound into my first solo album in ’82. Then the rest of my solo albums are all very different from each other, so I just went back to it recently.

“Plus I recently produced an album for the great Darlene Love and she had these great background singers so I fell in love with background vocals, so that’s the one thing I’ve added to my sound now. I just thoroughly enjoy the horn parts and the string parts and the background vocal parts all being woven together and complementing each other, and making sure that they all work together and don’t step on each other and don’t cancel each other out and they all work dynamically: that’s the fun part for me.”

And being in the spotlight again? Little Steven is fine with it, but you can tell that he’s still taking on such prominence reluctantly.

“I’ve never really needed it, my inclination is to be behind the scenes,” he reflects. “I’m really a producer at heart – that’s how I describe myself. I really am a producer first, but I am a performer and I do enjoy being a sideman.

“Even as a frontman I got really quite good at it in the ’80s – you get used to it and you get good at it – and I’m almost halfway back to being a frontman, I’m not all the way there yet. I’m working my way back because it’s a big mountain to climb, man, it’s a whole different job and you actually have to work for a living as opposed to being ‘the guitar player’ where you can just muck around.”

Van Zandt is famously well versed in many different types of music – as well as the Jersey Shore sound he helped found, he’s a noted rock’n’roll aficionado and curates satellite radio stations covering both garage-rock and outlaw country – and he puts these disparate passions in part down to the timing of his earliest musical forays.

“I think growing up when we did, it was an extraordinary period of time,” he marvels. “It was an absolute renaissance in the sense that the greatest music being made was also the most commercial, which we’ll never see again or not for hundreds of years, I think.

“More than that, we were, in a funny way, pretty much a monoculture back then and the trends would come and go year by year: in ’64 everyone’s into the British Invasion, in ’65 everybody is into folk-rock and that’s when The Byrds and Bob Dylan started, in ’66 it might have been country-rock so everybody gets into country music and then it was jazz-rock so everybody gets into jazz, and then in ’67 it’s psychedelic-rock so everyone gets into that – and I mean everybody! – and then in ’68 blues-rock came in and everybody got into blues, and then the final trend of the ‘60s in ’69 was southern-rock, which is more rootsy and Americana and The Band and Delaney & Bonnie and Taj Mahal and The Youngbloods and people like that.

“And believe it or not most musicians would follow from one trend to the other and you’d pick up some pieces of it – you’d take some of it for your own identity – and then some would stay in it: some would get to country-rock and they’d stay there, some would get to blues and they would stay there for the rest of their career. But a lot of us would go from one to the next, and you’d learn that genre and pick up what you want from it for your own identity and then you’d move on to the next one.

“So I think partially it was a result of growing up in that time, when things went from one trend to another and we were all going to school without knowing we were going to school. Parts of each genre stick with you and in the end you tend to just appreciate greatness whenever you hear it, it doesn’t matter what genre it is really. Even if it’s not a genre that you’re particularly fond of or use for your own identity, greatness is greatness and you recognise it and you appreciate it. I think that’s what’s stuck with me all these years.”

Little Steven And The Disciples Of Soul: Summer Of Sorcery

Steven Van Zandt knows what you’re thinking, especially when the topic is his music and not his acting. You hear his name and immediately imagine a bandana-clad rock gypsy who sings and plays heated, self-righteous diatribes about politics and life in a justice-challenged America. And he doesn’t disagree with you. “All my previous solo records were very political and very personal,” he says from his Manhattan home. “And I wanted to get away from both of those things. I wanted to fictionalize my life. I was sick of me.”

Van Zandt’s first step in that direction came when he heard that his longtime employer, Bruce Springsteen, would be heading to Broadway in 2017. “I said, ‘I might as well use the time,’” he says. On that year’s Soulfire, Van Zandt revived his inactive solo career, his long-dormant band name (Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul) and several songs he’d written for other artists but had never cut himself. “As soon as I did Soulfire, I said, ‘I should evolve this to the next logical place,’” he recalls. “All my records in the Eighties were diverse, but the music was always second to the lyrics. This time I wanted the music to come first.”

For his next project, Van Zandt started with a new song, “Summer of Sorcery,” which he says was “relatively new territory for me — I’d never wandered into that Van Morrison area very often.” Starting with that swirly, strummy reverie, a new idea took shape: what he calls “a concept loosely about going back and experiencing the first summer of consciousness, first time in love, first experiences in life and that thrill of unlimited possibilities.”

Working with his current band, Van Zandt rode that feeling into Summer of Sorcery, the most eclectic record he’s ever made. Set for May release, it largely dispenses with protest songs and revels in the rock, soul and R&B of his Sixties youth. On tracks like “Soul Power Twist,” “Vortex” and “Love Again,” he returns to the sort of Jersey Shore soul shakers he once wrote for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. “I wanted to write some of those songs for me,” he says. “I would’ve given those to Southside, but I never wrote them for myself.”

The album also ventures into Phil Spector–style pop (“A World of Our Own”), Latin music (“Party Mambo”) and garage rock (“Communion”). Even more striking are the lyrics, which avoid autobiography in favor of character studies, like the lovesick romantic in “A World of Our Own.” “Every singer is an actor, and the song is the script,” he says. “And you’re selling it. You’re convincing the audience you are who you say you are. In this case, I had to inhabit the body of that person, and I played and sang along with these different movies that required my singing to be different.”

The results are particularly felt on “Suddenly You,” which features a rare Van Zandt swoony croon. He also points to the horn-swinging “Love Again,” which he calls “a complete fantasy” inspired by pop of a bygone era. “I was thinking about Sam Cooke singing ‘I ain’t got nobody’ [in ‘Another Saturday Night’] and yet he was having sex with two or three women a day!” Van Zandt laughs. “But there’s nothing autobiographical about this one.”

Still, Van Zandt couldn’t shut out current events entirely. “Superfly Terraplane” portrays a new anti-gun and pro–social-media generation, while “Gravity” laments the denigrated state of the country (“Two hundred years of muscle/You blew it all trying to be the boss”). “I couldn’t help myself,” he shrugs. “It pulled me back in.”

Yet he admits it’s ironic that he’s made one of his least political records during one of the country’s most tumultuous times. “I got that with Soulfire too: ‘What are you doing?’” he says. “It’s unbelievable what’s going on. We’re in a civil war here. But my usefulness now is trying to bring people together and find a common ground.” Van Zandt learned a hard lesson when he launched TeachRock, a rock-history–based education program for schools around the country. “I didn’t endorse Obama and I didn’t criticize Trump,” he says. “TeachRock is the biggest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and I didn’t want a teacher in Alabama saying, ‘I don’t want to follow this liberal.’”

Van Zandt will be taking the Summer of Sorcery songs on the road starting this summer through October. He hasn’t heard anything about future E Street Band roadwork, but he knows he needs to take advantage of his break and the chance to play his own songs as much as possible. “If Bruce goes back out,” he says, “we could be gone two years.”

Until that happens, assuming it does, Van Zandt says he’s going to enjoy stepping away from himself. “There’s nothing more anxiety-producing than trying to understand yourself and analyze yourself,” he says. “It’s exhausting.”

The upcoming album ‘Summer of Sorcery’, out May 3rd.

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On this day (August. 13th) in 1975: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band performed the first of five sold-out nights at New York City’s Bottom Line; the Greenwich Village music club had a capacity of only 400/500…The ten-show stand at the Bottom Line early in the (Born to Run) tour remains a rock date to rival James Brown at the Apollo or Dylan at Newport. At the Bottom Line, Springsteen became himself. By adding Stevie Van Zandt as a second guitar player, he was liberated from some of his musical duties, and he became a full-throttle front man, leaping off amps and pianos, frog-hopping from one tabletop to the next.

On August 13th, 1975, it was twelve days before the release of Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band began their five night, ten show stand at The Bottom Line. With two shows each night an early and a late set, This was a new E Street Band, with keyboardist Roy Bittan and drummer Max Weinberg replacing David Sancious and Ernest “Boom” Carter, respectively. Steven Van Zandt, who’d played in an earlier band with Springsteen, joined as a  second guitarist.

Columbia Records executives were frustrated by Springsteen’s lack of success. They purchased a quarter of the tickets at the 500 seat venue and distributed them to music industry types to get the word out.  Even so, not all of the shows were sold out until after WNEW-FM broadcast the fifth show. After that, people were lined up around the block to get in.

There are numerous bootlegs of these shows all over the internet. Listening, you have to remind yourself how little known some of these legendary songs were at the time . In “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”, during the second show, when Springsteen sings “And the Big Man joined the band”, there is absolutely no reaction from the crowd. A week later and from then on, it would become one of the great applause lines of every show. The shows had their desired effect. Ken Tucker wrote in the Soho Weekly News “I have just come from the best rock and roll performance I’ve ever seen in my long, decadent life”. The Village Voice‘s Paul Nelson responded in the affirmative to his cover story ” Is Springsteen Worth The Hype?”: “On my feet, clapping, never wanting it to end, I ask myself when I’ve ever been so moved by a concert.”
“It was our coming-out party,” Springsteen says. “And some sort of transformation occurred over those five nights. We walked out of that place in a different place.”

Robert De Niro, was in New York shooting Taxi Driver, he caught one of the Bottom Line shows. He watched as the crowd yelled “Brruuuuuuce!” and Springsteen responded with “You talkin’ to me?”.
De Niro would make that line his own in an improvised scene shot within the next couple of days.

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The highlights August 15th 1975 Early Show

In August 1975, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band performed a 5-night stand at Bottom Line in New York City, NY, from 13 to 17 Aug 1975. They played two shows each night, an early one at 8:30 p.m. and a late one at 11:30 p.m. All ten shows were sold-out. The early 15th August 1975 show was broadcast live by New York’s WNEW-FM.

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER this previously uncirculated treasure is now being shared with Bruce Springsteen fans worldwide! The Bottom Line Shows are legendary and for those wondering if a recording of the August 13th, 1975 show would ever surface, the wait is finally over! For a fan who was there in those early days, Mr Anonymous can tell you what it was like:

“The story of Bruce’s early days has been documented many times, most recently in the current New Yorker magazine. As described therein, Bruce’s five night, ten show stint at The Bottom Line was crucial to launching his third album, “Born to Run”. Many executives at Columbia Records were frustrated with Bruce’s lack of commercial success and Born to Run was likely his last chance with the label. Columbia reportedly bought a quarter of the 500 seats for each show to distribute among music industry people . Even so, tickets did not sell out immediately and a week after going on sale they were available for any of the shows. That all ended when the public heard WNEW’s broadcast of show number 5. The next two nights, fans were lined up around the corner with the hope of getting a standing room spot at the bar to hear the new phenomenen.

This is the first recording of one of the late shows to surface. It is the first night and this tape captures all of the ambiance of this intimate club. You can hear each breath and whisper from Bruce while dishes and glasses are shuffled on the tables. Bruce seems to just appear behind the piano and gets a single reaction from the crowd as he opens solo with “For You”. It is evident how he captures the crowd more and more with each song. By the time he hits the 20 minute versions of “Kitty’s Back” and “New York City Serenade”, he has them in his hands.”

Bruce Springsteen Bottom Line 1975 cover artwork

Thanks to Mr. Anonymous who met the taper, ODoc55, thru Dimeadozen

Bruce Springsteen 13th August 1975  The Bottom Line – New York, NY – set list:

For You (Bruce On Piano) (7:09)
Tenth Avenue Freeze Out (4:08)
Spirit In The Night (6:31)
When You Walk In The Room (3:58)
Night – (First Known Performance) (3:39)
Growin’ Up (3:05)
Its Hard To Be A Sain In The City (5:31)
The E Street Shuffle (12:17)
Born To Run (4:12)
She’s The One (5:38)
Thunder Road – (Bruce On Piano) (5:47)

Kitty’S Back (19:56)
New York City Serenade (19:26)
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (11:38)
Fourth Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) (7:08)
Quarter To Three (6:55)

The first known live performance of “Night” and the earliest known recording of “When You Walk In The Room”. Opener “For You” is played by Bruce alone onstage at the piano. “Thunder Road” is the slow version with Roy on piano and Bruce on harmonica and vocals. Both “Kitty’s Back”, which includes a brief snippet of Carole King’s “Nothing’s Too Good For My Baby”, and “New York City Serenade” are extended 19+ minute renditions. This is the last recorded and confirmed performance of “New York City Serenade” until the 1999/2000 Reunion Tour

This sound source has some crackling, and sound does fade in and out a bit here and there, because this source was recorded off the radio broadcast, but it is sourced from a master tape of the show, not the vinyl record source. So there are a few tape cuts between songs, and a few times the source sound varies, but overall a very, very nice recording.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band“The E Street Shuffle” Live on 8/15/1975 at the Bottom Line in New York City, Recorded during the early show (of two that night) on 15th Aug.-1975.

The Bottom Line club only held 400 people, and it was unique in that it had seating rather than standing room only.This made for a small and intimate atmosphere between the audience and performer. The E-Street band at this time was: Clarence Clemons-sax, Garry Tallent-bass guitar, Roy Bittan-piano, Danny Federici-organ/accordion, Max Weinberg-drums, Steve Van Zandt-guitars, and Bruce.

Max Weinberg and Steve Van Zant,  both had only been in the band less than a year, joining in September.-1974 and March-1975 respectively. This was clearly the start of Bruce’s fame, and these shows are legendary.

Rolling Stone magazine listed this run of shows as one of the top-ten defining moments in rock and roll history, right up there in “the top ten” along with: Elvis at Sun Studio 1954, Rolling Stones 1971 Exile on Main St. summer, Dylan going electric in 1965, ect.

The Boss and the band put everything they had into these shows, and it shows…..despite being early Springsteen, the charisma and dynamic intensity is obvious. After these shows, Springsteen and the E Street Band became a mighty force to be reckonned within the rock and roll industry.

They were no longer just the “opening act” but headliners selling out arenas and large concert halls.

After this run at the Bottom Line, gone were the days of playing small clubs like the Student Prince, the Stone Pony, the Main Point.
Now Bruce was going to be headlining such places as the Spectrum, Madison Square Gardens, Hammersmith Odeon, Boston Gardens, LA Forum. If you couple this with his show at the Main Point club on 05th Feb.-1975, this was the beginning of the Springsteen wave of popularity, and the point of no return for Bruce and the band. A month later after this run of shows, Springsteen made the cover of both Time and Newsweek magazines in the same week.
These performances are among the best early Springsteen I have ever heard, This show, along with the Main Point show of 05th Feb.-1975 are incredible considering Springsteen was only 25-years old at the time.

He had come a long way in 3-years since auditioning for John Hammond Sr. in May 1972. As John Hammond Sr. put it: “When Dylan came to me to audition, he was simply Robert Zimmerman. But when Bruce came to me, he was already Bruce Springsteen, he was already a Superstar on his way….he was much further developed….everyone just knew he was going to be huge.” To be sure, there would be the future legendary Darkness On The Edge Of Town tour shows in 1978, but up until that time, there would be no finer Springsteen performances than this run of shows at the Bottom Line.

Between song banter has been edited a bit, but Bruce and the band do have some very funny comments.
Songs are complete, and band performance is top notch. Springsteen and his lawyers went all out to prevent sale of the vinyl record way back in 1976 threatening lawsuits against distribution.

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This was because Springsteen had recorded several of the Bottom Line shows for a possible official live album release. So Springsteen decided to release a live album officially, with performances culled from the run of live shows at the Bottom Line club during August 1975.but these are on the source tape, not taken from a vinyl transfer. There is a complete CD set of the entire broadcast that includes complete between song banter, radio DJ comments, ect. is called: “The Punk Meets The Godfather” on Godfather CD’s.

At the early show, “Thunder Road” is performed in the slow version with Roy on piano and Bruce on harmonica and vocals. “Rosalita Come Out Tonight” includes a snippet of “Theme From Shaft” in the midsection. At the late show, “For You” is performed solo piano and “Thunder Road” is performed full band. The setlist would also include the only known 1975 performance of the rhythm and blues standard “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66”.

There are rumors that at least one of the Bottom Line shows was professionally filmed by Bruce, possibly parts of other Bottom Line shows also. Film footage is rumored to be hi-quality color, pro-shot with several cameras, and is a complete performance.

Legend has it that this film footage is considered to be “superb” by the Springsteen band, and was a serious contender for inclusion with the 30th Anniversary release of the Born To Run box set.

Bruce was also known for his opening stories to introduce his songs

15.08.75 New York City, NY, intro to ´The E Street Shuffle´
´´Bam !….It was about, uh….it was about three, four years ago, four years ago now, about this time of the year, it was…it was around August, it was a night like this….and uh…I was working in this bar down on the Shore, right….I worked there for about three or four months, this place called The Student Prince (someone yells) (chuckles) Where you going ?…and uh, I worked there for about, like I said three or four months, it was like, there was me and it was Steve here and me and Steve, was Garry, Garry was in the band then….Southside Johnny, this cat Southside Johnny….do you folks get down to the Shore much ? (cheers)… alright, well, you gotta go see Southside Johnny´s band, he´s, he´s got a band down, yeah, The Jukes.…alright (laughs)…..and anyway, this is about three, four years ago, me and Steve and Garry , we´re working in this bar down there….and, uh….like we was feeling like, it was like, it was, we was feeling like…. real discouraged at the time because nobody would give us a gig or nothing, you know, we went into this bar, like the only way we got this job was this guy had just bought the bar and we went into this bar about, like, at midnight on a Saturday night, you know, when the joint, you know, should be, you know, should be a few folks in there, right, went into this place….the darkest, dampest, dingiest place you ever seen and there was nobody in there, right, so we figure, you know, so we walk up to the cat and we say ´ Listen, we´ll come in, man, we´ll play for the door, we´ll play for, you know, we´ll charge a dollar at the door and we´ll play for that´….so we had a seven-piece band at the time, we had a big band and we brought the band in the first week and, uh, and, uh and we played and we made about like….hell, we must´ve made. (Steve: ´13.75´) yeah, we split 13.75 between us….and, uh, a few guys quit, you know (chuckles)….the next week I was there with a six-piece band….threw some cat out, next week a five-piece band, this went on for a few weeks, right… until we got it down to, to like…. you get down to your boys when you´re starving and it was like ….it was like we was playing this joint and we was always figuring, like, these people was always trying to set us up like ´Man, I got the manager from the Byrds coming down here tonight to check you guys out, right…. so like you dudes better be good, right´….so, so like we would play like, like mad dogs all night and like three in the morning we´d all be sitting at this damn little table saying ´Where is the cat ? You know ? What happened to the joker ? Where is the dude ?´ so….and Steve, Steve was like, uh…. Steve was known then, he was known, he was like, he´d practise his guitar day in day out, night and day, all the time, every time I´d see him he would practise, practise, practise, right …he always had his guitar with him everywhere he went, you know, see him on the boardwalk he´s got his guitar with him like that, you know, practise, practise, practise….so, so one night after the, after the gig, you know, after the gig, we was all feeling like down in the dumps and we was all pissed off and mad, you know, figuring ´Man, we´re better´, you know when you´re sitting there saying ´Man, we´re better than them cats and they got two records out, how come we ain´t got no record out ?´, right…..so you do all that kind of stuff, you know, so me and Steve was feeling really really drug out and we figured we were gonna go home so we figured we´d walk home down, (?) we´d walk north along the boardwalk, you know… so we got out there and it was a nasty damn night, it was raining, it was raining and, and….and the club was flooded ´cause some, like, bikers came along and ripped off the front door, right….really, they just took the sucker off, you know, brought it home or something, I don´t know what they did with it…..they ate that thing, right, so….so we was walking down the boardwalk this time of night, you know, it was late, must´ve been four in the morning…. Steve had his guitar with him….he was practising …..and we was just walking down the boardwalk figuring we wanted to get home, you know….so…. all of a sudden….way down at the other end of the boardwalk ….we see something coming, man, there´s something coming down….I said ´Steve, you see something down there, something coming ?´ (Steve : ´Uh, huh´), he says ´Yeah´…. I said ´I don´t know what that is´ but we don´t want to take no chances like, you know, we just wanted to get home, we don´t wanna fool around so….so we ducked into this doorway, you know and, and he says ´Man´, he told me to peek out and I peeked out, you know….and whatever it was, man, it was coming , it was, like, it was raining, the wind was blowing, it was in this, it was in this big mist and it was dressed all in white, with a walking stick, walking like there ain´t no rain, no wind, I said ´Steve! Are you, am I crazy or is that dude carrying a saxophone ?´ (cheers)(chuckles)….so….we figured any cat at four in the morning, dressed in white, walking like there´s no rain with a saxophone was not to be messed with ! was let to walk on by, right….so we, we huddled in the doorway and we were sort of scared, you know, like we were….we were a little scared (?) we didn´t want to get messed around or nothing, I said ´That´s all I need, come home with 3.50 and a messed-up face tonight´, so….so we heard his, we heard his his footsteps coming closer…. and they came closer and closer…..they came even a little closer than that…..ok….and, and, and we figured now, we figured this was no time to look like you´re scared, right, we figured this guy is gonna come along, we better like, you know, better act like at least like we´re bad, so here the cat´s coming and we´re starting to get ready for (?)… and, right, we´re getting ready and, and it´s like….and this cat came up and he turned and he faced off right in front of us in the doorway and we just jumped back like this…. and, and the first we did was we threw all our money down, right….threw all the damn money down, right and then, you know, like I, I didn´t know where the cat was at, he didn´t move and did nothing, right, he stood there (?) held, it was a saxophone, I took off my sneakers, I wasn´t going to take no chances, I threw that down, I figured he might want me to do that….but all he did was put out his hand….so me and Steve, man, we leaned back and ….we got…. just a little closer…. and then when we touched it was like …”

15.08.75 New York City, NY, intro to ´Kitty´s Back´
´´Funny thing happened the other day, I had a few days off, you know, and uh….before I played here, I had a couple of days off and I was staying at home, you know, like, staying down by the beach and uh….one day we figured, you know (?)…me and Steve and Clarence, we went down…we was walking down the boardwalk and uh, you know, (?) and we see this new cat, you know, a new man outside the fortuneteller joint, right, this cat´s got a turban, you know, it was a, it was green, it was like light green kind of color (?) and he had one of those red rubies, you know, red rubies in his head and like, he says ´Come on in, man´, you know, ´you wanna find out what´s happening tomorrow, today´ so….we figured we´d, you know, I don´t usually go into them joints, I don´t like them joints too much, they scare me, right...Clarence, for some reason, Clarence was into finding out what was happening tomorrow….today, right, so we figured 50 cents, we´d go in and catch 50 cents´ worth of tomorrow so….we go in and we´re sitting there, we´re sitting there, we´re sitting there for like and watching the clock and 45 minutes go by, right, and we were wondering what´s with the gypsy, man, you know, (?) somebody in there´s got a whole lot of tomorrow (chuckles), anyway, the curtains finally part, out comes this skinny girl, right….her dress all twisted and she had, her knees are shaking and she looks like, and she drops and falls right in front of us and she passes out….so like …. we figured….too much tomorrow, right….not enough, not enough today (chuckles) …. so ….so the cat with the turban drug her out, outside, drug her out onto the boardwalk and they´re, you know, they´re waking her, you know, she ran off screaming down towards (?)….but anyway, so finally we go in, you know, we go in there and we´re sitting there and she says ´Ok´, you know, she´s rubbing her hands, she´s looking at us, she´s like, she says ´Ok, uh, which one of you guys wants to find out what´s gonna happen first ?´, you know….so like….so we flipped a coin, you know, and Stevie said he didn´t wanna and all of a sudden Clarence didn´t wanna either….so they put it on the Boss, right…. being the Boss, you see, being the Boss, you got to like, you got to have this leadership, you know, you got to, you can´t let it show that you´re scared and nervous, you know, like (?)…. so I figured ´Ok, you know, I´ll find out´ so I gave her my 50 cents, right, she looked at me a few times and (?) on the table she had this crystal ball, you know, and (?) the ball, says ´Ok, son, I´m gonna look into that crystal ball, I´m going to know what´s happening´, so I said ´Alright´ and she starts checking the thing out and, and….the thing starts smoking up ….you know how they do that, it´s smoking up, it was getting all smoky and stuff and she was checking it closer and closer and she just looked in so close she had her face right up on that thing, you know….and then all of a sudden she started shrieking and screaming and yelling and doing all things, she slipped off chair, she fell down on the floor and became unconscious in front of us….so we said ´Gypsy lady !´, you know, ´Gypsy lady, what´s, what´s happening ?´ (chuckles)…´What´d you see in there ?´ – nothing, nothing, she was comped out (?), so we figured we was gonna be in some trouble, we were gonna beat it out of the joint, for like mugging the gypsy lady or something….and like I don´t know what for but for something so, so anyway I said ´Wait a minute´, these guys are pulling me out now, they´re pulling me to run out, I´m going ´Wait a minute, wait,I paid my 50 cents, I wanna see what´s happening tomorrow´, right, so (?)…and I looked in to see what upset her so much, you know, I figured am I gonna die, am I gonna, you know, be hit by a train or what´s gonna happen, I don´t know, so I looked in…(somebody: ´What you see ?´) what did I see ? (?) I seen (?) I seen this nasty weather (?) this rainy (?) and down in the end of the alley, I seen something coming and it didn´t have no sax on so I knew it wasn´t you….she got so upset because….Kitty´s back !…..”

15.08.75 New York City, NY, (late show), middle of ´Twist and Shout´
´´I don´t think I can go on, Clarence. It´s the cholesterol on my heart. My doctor told me if I sang this song once more, he wouldn´t be responsible. But I gotta do it, Clarence, I gotta.´´

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14.08.75 New York City, NY, intro to ‘The E Street Shuffle’
´´Dancing with the lights down…..lower than that…..lower than….lower than that…. (?)…. wait a minute, wait a minute, gimme a break with that, let me see….. (?)…this guy (?)…. you do that there, bam…..this girl (?)…..Walter, what’s he gonna say, big bucks…..yeah (?) big bucks here…..Clarence…..you can see better (?)(chuckles)…..it’s nights like this…..bring in the bass…..it’s nights like this….yeah…..play a little bit, Steve…..bam !…..(?) gonna talk to you tonight….. it was a nice like this, very similar to this, the same month, it was August…..it was about three years ago or four (?)…..I was walking down a street in Asbury Park…..(?) …. on the other end of the street (?)…..”

14.08.75 New York City, NY, intro to ‘Night’
´´This is something that’ll be on the new album, should be out pretty soon…..called ´The Night’….´´

14.08.75 New York City, NY, intro to ‘Thunder Road’
”Yeah, yeah…..do you come here every night ?…..’cause some guy yells that all night every night…..(someone : ”Bruce, you played it at Max’s, you can do it here !”) ….. Give me a break…..give the Boss a break…..(someone : ”Cousin Brucie!”) Don’t say that….it’s like…..that happens all the time, it’s like your name is Bruce, everybody….. you hear ‘Cousin Brucie, what’s happening ?’ (chuckles)….that happens all the time, don’t do that (laughter)…..this is a song about this guy from California and this girl from ….Indiana…..and how they met in the same place (?)….’

14.08.75 New York City, NY, intro to ‘Kitty’s Back’
”I used to live in this house…..down in this place called Freehold, New Jersey (cheers) ….anybody from Freehold here tonight ?….No?….how about Asbury Park ? (cheers)….. yeah ?….you got the Casino shirt on….sounds like….I used to live in this house that was….that was across the street from this field , like…..it was on this regular street but…..but there was just this big field, it was a tomato patch….for a long time, it was across the street, we used to go and have tomato fights…..and like you’d sit there at night and see all the lightning bugs…..(?) go see lightning bugs, good, maybe they don’t (?)(laughter)….really, ever since I moved to the beach, I don’t see any lightning bugs….any of you folks from the country ?….you get lightning bugs out there ?….. you’ll all (?) better tonight (chuckles)…..anyway this field….one night I was sitting on my porch , you know….and and I seen this….Clarence…..Clarence was sitting there with me (laughter)….I was about ten and he was older than me, we were sitting on the porch and….we seen this thing coming down from the clouds, didn’t we ? (laughter)…. we didn’t know what it was (laughter)….it came down from way up there and looked like some…..looked, it was shaped like a hot dog, right, and we thought it was a flying saucer right away…..shaped (giggles)….it was shaped like this hot dog (laughs)…. it was shaped like this hot dog and this thing came down and it landed right on this field right across the street from my house…..and so me and Clarence, we figured we’d better check it out and see what was invading the neighbourhood, you know….. we went across the street and this man came out, right and he had…..he was like….he was purple (laughter)…..this is a true story, this is a true story (laughter)….people laugh at the truth , they (?)….as….he was purple, was he purple ? (?)…..it was like….he had two noses, right, and he lands in Central Jersey…..good thing he didn’t land in North Jersey, he would’ve died on the spot (laughter)…..the industrial growth would’ve been too much for him (laughter)…..he had two noses, he was purple, he had eyes….. eye on his teeth….and he like….the first thing he did, he came out, he was being all cool….. he was walking, you know, like uh…..what’s that guy on Bono ?….Not Bono….what the hell’s his name ?…..no, no….Tobor or (?)….Michael Renny….he was walking like Michael Renny (cheers) …..he was walking like that, he was trying to be cool and stuff……but he got out three steps and those things started (?) and he fell down on the field, right…..so me and Clarence go over and we check the guy out and he´s purple and he’s laying there on the ground…..and we go ‘Spaceman, what’s the matter ?’ (laughter)…..he didn’t say nothing, all he did was he opened his mouth and he said these words, he spoke in these foreign tongues…..yeah…..noises like…..so me and Clarence happen to have a tape recorder with us , we ran, we ran back to the house….. and we put it on backwards and you know what that joker said…..He said ‘Kitty’s Back’..
(…..) Steven, when she comes back, I’m gonna…..ask her ‘Where you been ?’ and …..(?) you hear I got a new car ? I got this new car (?) and….I’m gonna….take her for a ride….because (singing:) Nothing’s too good for my baby…..Nothing’s too good for my girl….Nothing’s too good for my baby, nothing’s too good, do it boys….Nothing’s too good for my baby…..nothing’s too good for my girl….nothing’s too good for my baby….nothing’s too good for my girl….here she comes….here she comes….(talking:) I don’t really recognise her no more…..she dyed her hair….some crazy color…..(?) Stevie, Stevie.…the new man, the new man (?)….the new man…..little transgression on Bosses’ (?)…..that’s bad news…..you can lose your hat (laughter)….lose your hat in this band….you’re nothing…..that’s alright, that’s alright….oh, yeah….anyway….here she comes….”

14.08.75 New York City, NY, middle of ‘Rosalita’
”On the piano, the man with all the answers to all your questions…..Professor Roy Bittan (cheers)….take a bow, Roy…..on the bass guitar….man comes from a long line of talents, his mother was a talent, his father was a talent, his great grandfather was a great, great talent…..he’s a little shy so (?)…..Garry W.Tallent (cheers)….on the drums, representing all you folks from North Jersey….Mighty Max (cheers)….on the organ, Dan Federici (cheers)….we’re gonna do this part for Mickey and all my friends at the Holiday Inn pool…..Clarence Clemons, the duke, on the saxophone (cheers)…..”

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17.08.75 New York City, NY, intro to ´´Kitty’s Back”
‘‘Before I came in tonight, there was, uh, somebody sent me a note, (?) this box (?)…. I opened it up, you know, and …. (?) this long box and I opened it up and in there was this, was this knife, remember that, boys?….see, they saw it, they saw it….there was this knife, it was covered with blood….there was a little letter…..explaining that this was an approximation of….of how my blood would look on that knife….if I wasn’t good tonight ….because….Kitty’s back!”

The Shows were:

  1. 1975-08-13 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (early)
  2. 1975-08-13 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (late)
  3. 1975-08-14 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (early)
  4. 1975-08-14 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (late)
  5. 1975-08-15 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (early)
  6. 1975-08-15 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (late)
  7. 1975-08-16 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (early)
  8. 1975-08-16 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (late)
  9. 1975-08-17 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (early)
  10. 1975-08-17 – BOTTOM LINE, NEW YORK CITY, NY (late)

Soulfire Live! is an epic and electrifying journey through rock ‘n’ roll history led by one of its most passionate practitioners, showcasing Stevie Van Zandt’s limitless knowledge, talent, and sheer love for the genre in all its many shapes and guises. Among the album’s many highlights is the introduction made by the legendary Mike Stoller, who along with partner Jerry Leiber, are widely considered to be the first successful and the most enduring rock songwriters and producers of all time. Other highlights on the album are the original songs from throughout Little Steven’s illustrious career – including classics like “Standing In The Line Of Fire” and “I Don’t Want To Go Home” alongside a number of favorite cover versions like The Electric Flag’s “Groovin’ Is Easy,” Etta James’ “Blues Is My Business,” and James Brown’s “Down And Out In New York City,” the latter two songs also featured on last year’s critically acclaimed Soulfire. In addition Soulfire Live!, includes Van Zandt’s inimitable introductions, detailing each song’s unique history and singular spot in his life and illustrious career.

Soulfire Live! was produced and arranged by Stevie Van Zandt; the album was mixed by Bob Clearmountain and mastered by Bob Ludwig.

Little Steven (aka Steven Van Zandt) and his powerful 14-piece band The Disciples of Soul performing live around the world! Includes guest appearances from Bruce Springsteen, Richie Sambora, Peter Wolf, and Jerry Miller!

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