Steven Van Zandt Interview: In a candid interview with 60 Minutes, Steven Van Zandt openly shared his preference for staying out of the spotlight, content to let Bruce Springsteen command the center stage. Despite Van Zandt’s humble stance, the media outlet underscored his pivotal role in the band’s success spanning five decades.
Expressing his sentiments during the interview, Van Zandt stated, “I’m not crazy about the spotlight, I could have been, and maybe I should have been, okay? ‘Cause, again, I– you realize that has big advantages. But, naturally, I just wasn’t into it. I, you know, I’d rather be standing next to the guy. Let him be in the spotlight, let him take the heat. Cause I like to blend in actually, you know.”
Van Zandt has been an integral part of the E Street Band for half a century, tracing back to their beginnings in New Jersey’s bar scene. While their journey endured, the duo managed to navigate the challenges that often befall bands, maintaining a solid partnership. Despite a brief separation in the 1980s, Van Zandt and Springsteen reconciled, resuming their collaboration in the ’90s.
Beyond being Springsteen’s steadfast companion, Van Zandt has significantly contributed to musical arrangements, infusing elements like horns into tracks such as “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” and aiding in finding the perfect guitar notes on “Born to Run.”
Reflecting on his unexpected gains from the music business, Van Zandt remarked, “It saved my life. I mean, I didn’t have any path forward. And so it brings you acceptance. You’re part of something. And man, it just came along right at the right time. You’re makin’ a living playing rock ‘n’ roll, man. That was the miracle.”
Springsteen acknowledged Van Zandt’s pivotal role, dubbing him the “consigliere of the E Street Band,” emphasizing his go-to role for band-related decisions and guidance.
While the spotlight on Van Zandt predates Springsteen’s recent health challenges, with the E Street Band taking a hiatus in 2023 for Springsteen’s recovery, it’s certain that when the band returns to touring, Van Zandt will stand steadfastly by Springsteen’s side.