December 11th, 2009
11:35 AM ET

Little Steven's road to Fuzztopia

Guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt hasn’t forgotten about the speech he gave at the SXSW music festival in March about the decline of rock ‘n’ roll knowledge and craft. And he’s putting his bandwidth where his mouth is.

The creative force of “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” and Wicked Cool Records has created a new Web site,, “a music site built by musicians for musicians.”

The idea is to bring together musicians of all styles and countries to do social networking and development, he says.

“We’re going to have a part of the Web site that suggests that yes, you can sell your stuff if you want to, or you can choose development – and at that point you will enter songwriting seminars, producer seminars, engineer seminars, performer seminars, and go through a kind of a course,” he says. “And hopefully, that will … help professionals or people who want to be professionals.”

Details are still being worked out, he says, but one thing he’s focused on is selecting a handful of musicians to be personally mentored by experts. He talks about ideas like the old Motown charm school, which educated that label’s musicians how handle their careers.

“It is similar to that in that I’m asking people to think beyond writing a song their mother’s going to get a kick out of,” he says. “Let’s learn this craft a little bit and you’ll find it’s quite rewarding. … This whole instant gratification culture we’re building, we have to address it … and we have to address it in a real focused way.”

The concept also figures into the current debate on the future of the music business, he adds. It’s time to get beyond the “delivery system,” as the suits call it, and spend time on “what we’re delivering,” Van Zandt says.

The site, which is currently in beta, is scheduled to launch in the spring.

Van Zandt sounds a bit fatigued. He recently got off the road after spending much of the last two years touring with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. But now, he says, it’s time to get to work.

“People always say, ‘How do you work so hard touring like that?’ I say, ‘You don’t understand: the tour is my vacation,’ ” he laughs.

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. dougc

    why care about what he has done ,the idea of bringing music out of the gutter and networking knowledge and talent is something that could only help the state of music.people used to go to jail or even prison for the crap that bands now get rewarded with grammys,junos,mtv and other useless rewards.,I would like to see a place that opens doors for talented people and helps artists learn and connect.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Teddy R

    Fronted Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul, hosts a radio show on Sat Radio, like mentioned TV, Bruce etc... the guy is a worker... when he left Bruce's band in the 70s he worked construction for a year!

    Come on....

    December 12, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tom

    Give the man credit. He wants to take music out of the horrid dregs that it has been rotting in for such a long time. Thank you, Steven.

    December 12, 2009 at 5:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Andy Boyle

    Let's not forget the writing and production skills applied to Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Talk to me. I don't wanna go home. Yeah, they were for real.

    December 11, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Water under the Dam

    Exactly. What has he done other than being an integral member of one of the greatest/most successful bands of all time and a major cast member of one of the greatest/most successful TV shows of all time. Who does this guy think he is? (Sarcasm)

    December 11, 2009 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Debra R

    Is Little Steven that guy who was thrown out of a theme park because he smelled back and was scaring people?

    What has he really done besides the Sopranos and wingman for Springsteen?

    December 11, 2009 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |

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