Steve Van Zandt doesn't regret leaving the E Street Band back in the early-'80s to pursue a politically charged solo career. Van Zandt, who co-produced Born In The U.S.A., split from "The Boss" just prior to the album's release and record-breaking tour. Van Zandt kept a high profile with his solo work -- along with organizing the Artists United Against Apartheid "Sun City" track and album, which contributed to bringing down the all-white minority government of South Africa.

Van Zandt, whose Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul ensemble is currently on tour in Europe, spoke to Independent.ie, and recalled splitting from Bruce and the band: "I go just as it becomes huge. I'm always asking myself if I did the right thing or not. But then, I think that I wouldn't have been able to organize all the anti-apartheid stuff and I've no regrets at all. It helped bring down that government. And one has to say that we saved lives. Is that worth the tens of millions of dollars I missed out on? Yeah, it is. . . I've been lucky. When you're a kid and you dream of being a rock star, you don't know if it will happen or how long it might last."

Van Zandt, who met Bruce Springsteen in 1966, shed light on their musical kinship: "Me and Bruce come from the same place -- virtually all the influences are the same. I took the more soul music route for myself and he took the more rock route for himself. There's a slight difference there. I don't really find too much of E Street Band's relevance (in his own music) other than the extremely high standards me and Bruce have when it comes to the composition and arrangement and production of the music."

He went on to add: "And, by the way. Bruce is one of the greatest white soul singers in history. If only he would do it more -- and he never does which makes me f***ing crazy! One of the reasons I enjoyed The River revival tour so much is that's where a lot of his soul music is. God, I just love listening to him sing that way. And he never does -- he just takes it for granted."

Steve Van Zandt has always been a tremendous fan and supporter of Bruce Springsteen and recalled first taking notice of him during their pre-fame days back home in New Jersey: "Around '65 or so. We had local bands, y'know. He was out of Freehold, which was a bit further west and I was closer to the ocean. And it was a bit of a circuit that everybody played, y'know? And you'd run into each other. And then we started running into each other in New York, which was odd at the time, 'cause New York was usually about a year, or so, ahead of New Jersey. And so, we'd come in and steal what we could and go back and look brilliant."

Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul perform tonight (August 19th) in Utrecht, Netherlands.

IN OTHER SPRINGSTEEN NEWS

It's just been announced that Warner Bros. will release Bruce Springsteen's concert film featuring the songs from his Western Stars album. The film will premiere in September at the Toronto International Film Festival. The concert film was shot by Springsteen's longtime film director and archivist Thom Zimny, best known for such Springsteen docs and concert films as Wings For Wheels: The Making Of Born To Run; The Promise: The Making Of Darkness On The Edge Of Town; The Ties That Bind; Springsteen On Broadway -- along with the critically acclaimed Elvis Presley: The Searcher.

The 83-minute performance doc being described on the festival's official website: "The incomparable Bruce Springsteen performs his critically acclaimed latest album and muses on life, rock, and the American dream, in this intimate and personal concert film co-directed by Thom Zimny and Springsteen himself."

Warner Bros. picture group chairman Toby Emmerich told The Hollywood Reporter, "Bruce lives in the super rarified air of artists who have blazed new and important trails deep into their careers. With Western Stars, Bruce is pivoting yet again, taking us with him on an emotional and introspective cinematic journey, looking back and looking ahead. As one of his many fans for over 40 years, I couldn't be happier to be a rider on this train with Bruce and Thom." (The Hollywood Reporter)

AUDIO: STEVE VAN ZANDT ON MEETING BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN