Little Steven Ready To Hit The Road With Springsteen

Little Steven Ready To Hit The Road With Springsteen
With opening night on Wednesday in San Jose, the E Street Band is ready to rock with Bruce Springsteen. And Little Steven Van Zandt anticipates giving the crowds a healthy dose of the new "Working on a Dream" album.

"We usually want to get the new album in," the guitarist told Billboard.com while in Austin, Texas, to promote his "Underground Garage" radio show and Wicked Cool record label at this year's South By Southwest Music & Media Conference. "We usually play more of our new record than most groups do, and our audiences are used to it and they really like it, which is a wonderful thing. So we'll probably go out and do half the record, like we usually do."

Of the songs from the album, which came out in late January and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, Van Zandt said that " 'Lucky Day' just kills, as you expect. 'Surprise Surprise' has been fun. '(Kingdom of) Days' was coming out really great...They're all sounding great. It's just a matter of seeing where (Springsteen) wants to go theme-wise...and we fit the rest of the show around it, more or less. That's all developing as we speak, literally."

After the highly spontaneous shows on the last North American leg of Springsteen's "Magic" tour in 2008, Van Zandt said he expects at least the early shows will "probably (be) coming back to more of an organized set for a minute." But, knowing Springsteen, he adds, "Who really knows?"

Van Zandt added that he does expect the group will play more shows than the currently announced North American and European dates. "I would think there's a bit more than that. I gotta believe we're gonna (tour) until at least Thanksgiving or Christmas, somehow, somewhere. I hope so. I hope we take a month off and then go back out."

He's also not fazed by the idea of not having drummer Max Weinberg out of some shows in order to help launch Conan O'Brien's run on "The Tonight Show," while his son Jay Weinberg takes over his stool.

"I think it's gonna be fine," said Van Zandt, who produced the new album by Norway's the Cocktail Slippers, "St. Valentine's Day Massacre," due out April 28. "And knowing Max, he's not going to miss much...He [i]is[/i] the E Street Band. Conan has been absolutely terrific about this...I don't think we thank him often enough. Max is a big part of that show, and for (O'Brien) to just say, 'Go whenever you feel like it,' I mean, Jesus, how nice. So we'll see."