Monday, February 23, 2009


I'm always willing to tell anyone within listening distance about how cool Little Steven Van Zandt's Underground Garage channel is, and how many great bands he puts out on his Wicked Cool Records label. I recently talked about his Halloween compilation and his even better Christmas compilation. I don't know if the label makes money, but Steven does it because he genuinely cares about rock and roll.  His label gives bands like KO & The Knockouts, The Cocktail Slippers, The Charms, The Woggles The Len Price 3, The Contrast and many more an outlet for people to hear their music.  They aren't metal or emo or indie, and there isn't much interest at major labels for bands that don't fit into those categories. But I was surprised to read in a Billboard interview that Steven is setting up another label, this one for hard rock bands. The first band he's signed is Crown Of Thorns, who I think are not new. I would have thought that if he started a second label, it would be more in the Outlaw Country vein. He also hinted that he might re-release his solo back catalog on Wicked Cool.  I'm not an expert on Steven's solo career, but I love "I Am A Patriot" (which Eddie Vedder has covered) and "Native American" (a duet with Bruce Springsteen). 

Steven has also denied reports that Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band would be playing one classic album in its entirety on their upcoming tour, as has been rumored. In a separate interview, he addressed rumors that Max Weinberg might not play on all of the dates on the summer European tour, since the new Conan O'Brien show starts during the summer. It seems like they may have to use a different drummer on some dates. 

Other cool Bruce stuff: he has a video for "The Wrestler" that you can buy on iTunes. Also: a bunch of indie-ish artists have covered Bruce songs as part of a program called "Hangin' On E Street," which was, oddly, initiated by indie blog Pitchfork, and the results are at Bruce's website. You can see clips by members of Gaslight Anthem, Bouncing Souls and Against Me among other cool bands. 

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