Born Steven Lento in Winthrop, Massachusetts, "Van Zandt" is an American musician, songwriter, arranger, record producer, actor, and radio disc jockey, who frequently goes by the stage names Little Steven or Miami Steve.
He is best known as a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, in which he plays guitar and mandolin, and as an actor in the television drama The Sopranos, in which he played Silvio Dante.
Steve also had his own solo band called Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul in the 1980s.
Steve's mother remarried when he was young and Steven took the last name of his stepfather, William Van Zandt. The family moved from Massachusetts to Middletown Township, New Jersey when he was seven.
Growing up in the Jersey Shore music scene, Steve and Bruce Springsteen became friends at a young age. In the early seventies, he was a journeyman guitarist - including playing guitar for The Dovells - as well as a founding member of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and several of Bruce Springsteen's early bands.
Van Zandt was a songwriter and producer for fellow Jersey shore act Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes in the mid- to late-1970s, penning their signature song "I Don't Wanna Go Home," co-writing other songs for them with Springsteen, and producing their most-acclaimed record, Hearts of Stone. Van Zandt also shared production credits on the classic Springsteen albums Darkness on the Edge of Town, The River, and Born in the U.S.A.
In 1975, during the recording sessions for Born to Run, Springsteen - at a loss (according to author Dave Marsh in the Springsteen biography Born To Run) for ideas on how to arrange the horn part for "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," called on Van Zandt and his deep knowledge of soul music for help with the arrangement.
In the Wings for Wheels documentary, Springsteen revealed that Van Zandt was partially responsible for the signature guitar line in Born to Run; "Arguably Steve's greatest contribution to my music." Van Zandt joined the E Street Band in the midst of their Born to Run tours.
In 1999, Van Zandt took one of the core roles in The Sopranos, playing level-headed but deadly mob consigliere and strip club owner Silvio Dante. Van Zandt had no acting experience, and the unusual casting choice was made by series creator David Chase. Van Zandt was reluctant to audition for Chase but eventually relented.
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Van Zandt gained acclaim for his performance as Silvio, but has contended that he has no interest in acting beyond The Sopranos.
Underground Garage is a nationally syndicated Rock radio show hosted and produced by "Little Steven" Van Zandt. Each week Little Steven takes audiences on a two hour trip down the path of what was cool in all six decades of Rock and Roll, a celebration of Pop culture, and features the best emerging new bands worldwide.Here's the link: