“So you want to be a rock and roll star?” . . . : Steve Van Zandt on the ‘Five Crafts’ of Rock and Roll

I was reading a recent interview in Guitar Player magazine with guitarist Steve Van Zandt, long time member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, co-leader of Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes and of course, consigliere to Tony Soprano, Silvio Dante (if you don’t know what that means, go here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silvio_Dante). He was promoting his latest solo record, Soulfire [Wicked Cool/Big Machine/Ume] when he was asked about the impact of music technology on the creative process and if the relative ease in which one can make a recording on their computer is detrimental. Van Zandt definitely thought it did (not surprisingly given his pedigree in music that was born in a pre-digital world). He then went on to list what he considers the five crafts of rock and roll. I felt that it was a pretty good road map to achieve mastery at being a musician. I think this advise is timeless. So here are Steve Van Zandt’s five crafts of rock and roll:

1) “Everybody has to learn their instrument—or their voice if they’re a singer”.

2) “You need to start analyzing your favorite songs. This is part of the arrangement process, but it starts off as an analysis. What are the instruments doing? What are the chord changes? What’s the melody against those chord changes? What is the bass doing? Why is the drum fill there?”.

3) “Performing live. You learn to interact with an audience, and with your band members, and you need to learn what effect the music has on the audience”.

4) “Writing. Because you have analyzed and arranged those songs, you’re now able to have higher standards. So you’re going to write your songs at a higher standard than you would if you had skipped that phase. If you’re not analyzing your favorite songs and figuring out what goes into them, then you’re not going to be able to evaluate your own writing”.

5) “Recording. That is a whole other craft to learn. Yeah, you can learn some of that at home, and it probably would be helpful to do that. But it’s different in a studio situation with a real engineer and a real producer, and, you know, a band. Again, you get that input from other people, and that usually makes the tracks better”.

To read the full article go the the link below:


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Posted in Classic Rock, Music Appreciation and Analysis
One comment on ““So you want to be a rock and roll star?” . . . : Steve Van Zandt on the ‘Five Crafts’ of Rock and Roll
  1. Jim S. says:

    Interesting take. Craftsman. Thanks.

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