Steve Van Zandt is still Bruce Springsteen's biggest supporter — and remains a true believer with the release of his new Western Stars album. Western Stars hit Number One in the UK and entered the Billboard 200 at Number Two. Van Zandt told Mojo that “The Boss'” more rock-leaning fans of need to approach the new music differently, explaining, “This record is an interesting, different part of his personality. It has a Jim Webb quality to it. And I like it a lot and I think people will like it. But it's not a rock album. Don't judge it as a rock album, Just take it was it is. It's wonderful the way he can evoke an era or environment, and an atmosphere.”
Van Zandt, who earlier this year released his latest solo set, Summer Of Sorcery, spoke about how E Street Band plans can take shape with little or no advance warning: “You look up in the sky and there he is. You learn that you can't wait around. I need to be busy. But at the same time, I'm trying to think of him. Like, I've booked this tour until early-November, thinking just in case. . .”
Van Zandt added: “If we are going to get back together and go out in the summer of 2020, we really should be in the studio in that November period. Now, that may not happen, and if it doesn't happen I'll either do another TV show or I'll continue with the Disciples (Of Soul). Then again, you never know. The recent River tour — I talked to him on Thanksgiving 2015. And he said, 'Nah, we're not going to go with it, so everybody can go do their own thing.' First week in January, we're on the road (laughs). . . I would've thought that was physically impossible. . . when you think of the logistics of a stadium tour.”
The E Street Band's 2016 / 2017 tour in which the group performed 1980's The River from top to tail made the band realized all bets are off when counting on prolonged hiatuses: “That scared everybody to death, because it can happen that spontaneously. So you kind of leave it open. I've always make him first priority. . . So we will eventually come back together and it's going to be stronger than ever.”
Steve Van Zandt explained why the E Street Band is able to serve Bruce Springsteen's music in a way no other group of musicians could: “He picked guys that could handle a wide variety of things and could basically follow orders. We had a really fast, 'know, ability to learn. Every one of us — there was a lot of spontaneity goin' on in the show. A lot. We, we gotta move like one thing, one entity, y'know, no matter what move he makes. Y'know, he never does a song the same way twice.”
Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul performs tonight (June 27th) in Syracuse, New York at the New York State Blues Festival.