Steve Van Zandt admitted that he based his role of Silvio Dante on The Sopranos on the the part he’s played for Bruce Springsteen in the E Street Band. Van Zandt spoke to New Zealand’s RNZ and explained, “It grew into that quite quickly. I knew what it was like to be the under-boss, to be the consiglier, to be the adviser of a friend. Silvio has looked out for Tony (Soprano) and had that sort of same relationship. My character was probably the only character on the show that didn’t want to be the boss, and that’s true in my real life also.”

He went on to say, “I never wanted to be the frontman. I know what it’s like to be the only guy not afraid of the Boss; the only guy who can bring him bad news and survive.”

Van Zandt, who’ll publish his memoir, titled, Unrequited Infatuations, on September 28th, reflected on the changes Springsteen has made since his early days playing teen clubs in and around Central New Jersey: “If you think of a typical grunge guitar player that was him — barely spoke. It’s been a remarkable transformation through the years.”

SIDE NOTES

  • Last year, Steve Van Zandt told Rolling Stone that if he had to do it all over again he would never have left the E Street Band in 1984: “It’s the one defining moment of my life. It was a mistake I’ve never recovered from. Financially, it was apocalyptic. That said, we did take years off the life of the South African government. But is that worth losing all of my friends, all of my power base, all my juice, all my celebrity capital, to save a few lives? And you’ve got to say, ‘Yeah, sure. It was.’ But I look back and think, ‘Jeez, if only I could’ve done those things and stayed.’ I would’ve had the perfect life.”

CHECK IT OUT: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band on November 5th, 1980 performing “Jackson Cage” live in Tempe, Arizona: