May 2 ~  A Wonderful Life Cracking Creativity

"I have a wonderful life. I literally have the two best jobs in America." ~ Steven Van Zandt

Steve Van Zandt

Yes, he literally has had the two best jobs in the America. As the longtime guitarist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band AND with the role as strip-club owner Silvio Dante on HBO's acclaimed series The Sopranos, Steven Van Zandt (1950-) has been on top of the world.

"I think being an autobiographical songwriter was helpful to acting, because you're always trying to discover the truth about yourself, and some of the same things apply to acting," explained Van Zandt who has been honored twice by the United Nations for his human rights achievements.

Raised in New Jersey with a strict upbringing, he described his father as "a Goldwater Republican ex-Marine."

He said, "From the age of 14, 13, I guess I wanted to be a rock and roll star. And that was it. I wanted to make a living playing rock and roll, and it was a ridiculously impossible dream at that time."

Van Zandt met Springsteen in the early 70s and the "impossible dream" was transformed to reality...

Whenever he tours with the Boss, "Miami Steve" is the essence of cool: singing his heart out, wearing his pointed boots and trademark bandana (to cover hair that didn't grow back properly after a car accident).

For his role as the Sopranos's New Jersey mobster, he was transformed by a black pompadour wig.

"It's the hair that's doing the acting, not me," Van Zandt said. "The character is the hair, as far as I'm concerned. When I look in the mirror, I have to see this guy. I can't see me. And the hair is this guy."

The secret to his convincing Mafioso shtick? He watched the film, The Godfather, at least 50 times. "You try to spread it out," he confessed about his film-addiction to the Marlon Brando masterpiece. "At least (that way) you forget a few things."

To celebrate his passion for rock and roll, in 2002, he launched Little Steven's Underground Garage, a syndicated radio show that airs in 200 markets across North America and in 45 countries.

About the music he selects for his radio show, Van Zandt said: "After a set or two, you realize there's this endless stream of cool rock and roll that has the same spirit but comes in different shapes and forms."

Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical StrengthIt is a wonderful life.