FUV book club: Stevie Van Zandt: unrequited enthusiasm

Stevie Van Zandt’s Unrequited Infatuations (Photo by Kirsti Hovde, PR)


12.16.21 00:00

the “FUV Book Club” encourage you to read with us! Musicians turned literary writers have published fascinating memoirs in 2021, and so far we’ve read books by Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner, Rickie Lee Jones, Richard Thompson, and Sinéad O’Connor. We will end the year with a book that hosts Dennis Elsas couldn’t wait to read: Memories of longtime E Street Band guitar virtuoso, solo star, activist, producer, radio host and actor Stevie Van Zandt, who looks back on his extraordinary life by Unrequited fads. In the player above, listen to Van Zandt read an excerpt from Unrequited fads, courtesy of Hachette Books, and below, review by Dennis.

Summary in seconds
Unrequited fads is the memoir of Stevie Van Zandt, written with candor and humor. As he describes it, it is “an uplifting tale.” We follow Stevie (as he’s called now) from his childhood in New Jersey to his travels around the world as a revered rock star and political activist. The narrative is peppered with constant asides incorporating Van Zandt’s version of rock ‘n’ roll history and his impact on society far beyond just music.

Meet the author
Stevie (or Steve) is a man of many names, easily transitioning from Miami Steve to Little Steven and back again, with his TV character Silvio Dante, which screenwriter David Chase created as an advisor to James Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano. in the popular HBO series, “The Sopranos.” Van Zandt is best known as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, but he was also a central figure in the formation of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes as a writer, producer and lead guitarist. With his own band, Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul, Van Zandt has been touring and releasing records since 1992. In addition to his career as a musician, he is also a radio host and producer of the weekly “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” ”and the creator and guiding force of two Sirius / XM chains, The Underground Garage (21) and Outlaw Country (60).

The hook
I’ve known Steve for a long time and I first interviewed him in 1977. Unrequited fads has been a fascinating journey, not only through Steve’s life and career, but also to recount a period in the music industry that I have experienced and experienced firsthand as a Music Director and Disc Jockey at WNEW-FM. I never realized the extent of Steve’s political activism and his steadfast commitment to social justice. And his story of why he left the E Street Band in 1982, just as they were reaching superstar glory – which he calls “the biggest regret of his career” – is revealing.

“Pretty Little Angel Eyes” is a 1961 Curtis Lee hit that Stevie describes as the song that brought him to his first revelation about the power of rock’n’roll after playing it 55 times in a row on his turn -disk in his room.

“I Don’t Want to Go Home,” by Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes, is a song Van Zandt wrote and produced for the band, defining them as “a ’60s R&B band with a brass section of five musicians. “

“Sun City”, by Artists United Against Apartheid, was Van Zandt’s massive undertaking in 1985 to protest apartheid in South Africa by drawing attention to Sun City, a resort entertainment complex. The song (and video) featured a chorus of stars including Springsteen, Bono, George Clinton, Keith Richards, Bobby Womack, Bonnie Raitt, Ringo Starr, DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Nona Hendryx, Lou Reed, Rubén Blades , Darlene Love and Bob Dylan.

Lateral bar :
Believe it or not, Van Zandt has launched two music-themed cruises next year, The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Sea Cruise (featuring The Stranglers, Buzzocks, Graham Parker and more), making their maiden voyage. in 2022, and Outlaw Country West (with Social Distortion, Lucinda Williams, Los Lobos and others).