I'll eventually get around to writing about The Fray show I lost night, which was excellent, but right not it's kind of too cold to think so instead I'm going to regurgitate some great quotes from the one and only Little Steven. Quotes come from an interview in Esquire magazine by Ryan D'Agostino. Enjoy.
Raised on the Jersey Shore, the E Street Band guitarist played Silvio Dante on HBO's Jersey-based The Sopranos.
You gotta have cinnamon in your coffee. Pour it on.
The Super Bowl — they ask us every year, literally for twenty-five years. Since Born in the U.S.A. You can only do it once, I guess. You want to save some things.
Here's the wonderful thing that Bruce Springsteen and David Chase are capable of: Those two guys have the remarkable talent of transporting you to their own time zone, to their own rhythm, and slowing things down. That's an extraordinarily important talent these days, when everything is temporary and disposable and going by at a hundred miles an hour. In the old days, they would have been called wizards, because they control time.
Scandinavia is another planet. They get health care, education, there's no homeless, they barely have a prison system. We joke about how they're overtaxed, but it's the same fucking 50 percent I'm paying.
Art is not a luxury.
I remember when flying was fun. When did we become a Third World country? What day was that?
February 8, 1964, there was not one single rock 'n' roll band in the country. February 9, the Beatles played The Ed Sullivan Show. February 10, everyone had one. In the garage. "Garage rock" is traditional rock 'n' roll. If you think of it as the early Stones, you're fine.
My life began on February 9, 1964.
To have impact in two minutes and thirty seconds — that's very hard to do. It's much easier to write Pink Floyd's The Wall than it is to write "Louie Louie."
The history of rock 'n' roll is the history of America in the twentieth century.
Bruce wasn't gonna get a third shot. His first record did like ten thousand, second one did like twenty thousand, and they were just done with him. And somehow, by sheer willpower, that song got done — four or five months recording one song. Turned out to be worth it. They sent it out without the record company even knowing, and a couple of big rock stations picked up the song, the "Born to Run" song.
People got upset when we'd start playing bigger places. But you can either play sixty nights in the club, or you can play the arena. Hmm, let me think.
I modeled the role on The Sopranos after my real role in life with Bruce. You'd see Silvio have to deliver bad news, Tony Soprano would get totally angry, and guess what? That's part of the job of being the consigliere, or being the best friend in real life. The main job of a producer is telling the artist the song's not good enough yet. You try to be as truthful as you can be without being insulting. And then you get past it. I enjoy doing that.
Every successful person needs to have at least one person in their life who's not afraid of them. That you gotta give Bruce credit for, because it's easy to surround yourself with people who don't know your character flaws and you can pretend to be God.
Nebraska was written and recorded as a demo. He played it for me, and I said to him, I think you should put it out as is. He said, What are you talking about? It's just demos. I said, Because you didn't intend to put it out makes it extraordinarily intimate. Eventually, he agreed and they put it out.
We have no place for greatness in our society anymore. Is there no talent, or is there no infrastructure to support talent?
I remember a kid running into band rehearsal one day, in '68 or so, and saying, You're not gonna believe this, but Rod Stewart is white! We said, Get outta here. We didn't believe him. There was just not that many places you could see pictures of people. There wasn't MTV. And we never heard any white person sing like that. We knew he was black.
Immediately upon working for fifteen years to make it, as soon as we make it, what do I do? I leave, right before the Born in the U.S.A. tour. Everybody bought houses off that tour. I'm in Africa with an eleven-piece that I'm paying for, using my little money to keep a band on the road talking about politics.
I learned everything I know from leaving the E Street Band. And of course, one of the things I learned is, I never should have left.
The Beatles were a band, which we had never seen before. Four guys working together. Brothers. I had no interest in being Elvis Presley. We thought the Beatles were best friends. We thought the Stones were best friends. We bought the illusion, and it's the illusion that matters sometimes. That's what makes art work; that's what makes religion work.
Believe me, your parents would have preferred that you be a criminal — anything more respectable than a rock 'n' roller.
We are all suffering from a terminal time-deficit disorder. What'd you do today? I don't know, but I had no time for it.
I believe that hundreds of years from now, history will be divided into pre-1960s and post-1960s. Questioning things as a regular part of normal life — that didn't exist for my father's generation.
I ran out of money every year for the last thirty years.
Little Richard opens his mouth, and out comes liberation.
In Europe, everybody in the audience has the new record before they come to the show. Why? Because that's the script of the stage production they're about to see and participate in. They come, and they all sing every word of every song. They don't move, they don't go to the bathroom, they don't order hot dogs.
I've had offers through the years to write a book, but I don't feel that I've quite done enough yet. I got some big ideas left.
Interviewed by Ryan D'Agostino, August 12, 2008