As well as a lifetime in rock and roll, as songwriter, arranger, producer, performer and most famously as right hand man to Bruce Springsteen, Little Steven Van Zandt has also dipped his toes in thespian waters, on the monumental The Sopranos and the Norwegian crime drama Lilyhammer. Decades before that though, at the dawn of the great video age in the early ‘80s, he had a plan to make his own movie. It was to be based on his classic debut solo album Men Without Women and featured live performances of many of its songs as well as vignettes showing a band trying to break through in an unforgiving music industry.
A very rough cut of Men Without Women had a premature premiere screening at Cannes Film Festival in 1982 but its journey ended there.
“We did bits and pieces of it, but it never got funded and never got done,” Van Zandt remembered, in a call from New York late last week. “It’s the story of my life,” he laughed. “That could be my epitaph: ‘He had so many ideas, but they never got funded.’ That was certainly one of them.
“It was just ideas at that point,” he recalled with just a touch of disappointment. “Prince did it the right way two years later with Purple Rain. That was exactly what we had in mind with Men Without Women. He was the smart one and he did it right. “It just occurred to me back then,” he explained, “artists were spending $300,000 on a video and doing three videos per album. I thought that for a million dollars you could make a movie and then pull the videos from the movie. That was the idea, but I never quite pulled it off. It was a good idea though” he laughed again. “Prince proved it was a good idea.”
Read the full interview with Van Zandt coming soon on Around The Sound.
The 15-piece Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul will be playing Metro City on Saturday, April 13. Tickets are $66.67 from Megatix.com.au.