Rock’s Not Dead Yet. Steven Van Zandt Plans to Fix That

In a May 16th interview with Billboard, Frank DiGiacomo asked Steven Van Zandt what he thinks about the opinion that “rock is dead.”

The 66-year-old E Street Band musician and actor doesn’t quite agree that the genre is dead. He thinks of it more as “an endangered species.” He figures the reign of rock began with Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” and ended with the death of Kurt Cobain.

Van Zandt can’t see rock making a triumphant return to its “Glory Days” “because the infrastructure that created rock is no longer there… the local radio stations that supported rock are gone. The local clubs are gone. Frankly the mainstream taste for it is gone.” One of his many ambitions is to restore rock to cult status “where people can actually make a living.” He’s been talking to the Hard Rock CafĂ© about developing a rock-and-roll circuit at its clubs and is also working on a TV variety show “that would be like the old Shindig, Hullabaloo or Ready Steady Go! types of shows.”

“I have the radio element,” Van Zandt says, referring to his nationally syndicated radio show, Underground Garage, a 2-hour weekly show that takes people on a fascinating ride through Rock and Roll history. Underground Garage boasts the coolest Rock records ever made. It devotes 40% of its format to new artists and has helped introduce over 700 new bands since 2002. He also helps those who want to rock through his Rock and Roll Forever Foundation and its TeachRock school curriculum initiative.

We wish him great success with the project despite some reservations about the… uh… energetic Hullabaloo and Shindig go-go dancers. They were the main reason why we preferred to watch The Midnight Special back in the day.

Here’s Manfred Mann’s Earth Band on a 1975 edition of The Midnight Special. Steven Van Zandt knows this song for sure. Bruce Springsteen wrote it.

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