Year in Music 2017

Van Zandt Opens His 'Underground Garage'

Little Steven Van Zandt recorded his first syndicated radio show last night (April 7) during a lavish party at New York's Hard Rock Cafe. The music-memorabilia themed hotel and restaurant chain is the

Little Steven Van Zandt recorded his first syndicated radio show last night (April 7) during a lavish party at New York's Hard Rock Cafe. The music-memorabilia themed hotel and restaurant chain is the title sponsor of "Hard Rock Cafe Presents Little Steven's Underground Garage," a two-hour weekly show dedicated to garage bands past and present.

During the taping, go-go girls danced on stages throughout the venue as friends and family members mixed with celebrities while music blared. Among those attending were James Gandolfini, Vincent Pastore, Federico Castelluccio, John Ventimigla, and Drea de Matteo of HBO's New Jersey-based mafia series "The Sopranos," on which Van Zandt stars as mobster Silvio Dante. Also on hand were fellow Jersey residents comedian Joe Piscopo, who introduced the show, Bon Jovi's Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, and Richie La Bamba and Mark Pender, of the Max Weinberg Seven ("Late Night With Conan O'Brien").

Van Zandt, who is best known as guitarist in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, started the show with Them's "I Can Only Give You Everything" and "Anyway You Want It" by the Dave Clark Five, who he described as one of the most underrated bands of the British invasion. The two-hour show -- which aired later on radio stations in more than 25 U.S. cities, including WAXQ New York and KLSX Los Angeles -- also featured songs by the Joey Ramone, the Dictators, the New York Dolls, and even Springsteen, whose "Restless Nights" (from the 1998 Columbia compilation "Tracks") was slipped into the third set of the night.

Hard Rock president/CEO Peter Beaudrault admitted to Billboard.com that he "had no idea what garage rock was" when Van Zandt approached him with the idea for the show. After Van Zandt explained his concept and demonstrated his passion for the music, Beaudrault says he realized that the company and the artist were concerned with the same thing: preserving good music. The executive also said that the company is committed to the show, and in the coming months plans to present a series of garage rock bands in its various Hard Rock Cafe outlets in the U.S.

For more information on "Little Steven's Underground Garage," including an affiliate list, playlists, and Van Zandt's essay on the genre of garage rock, visit his official Web site.