You Should See Me Do My Day Job
Rock and roll people who do other stuff too.
STEVE VAN ZANDT
He’s been an arranger, a producer, a political commentator, and an anti-Apartheid activist, an impresario and a radio DJ. He will be remembered as one of television’s most endearingly-played sidekicks, for his role as Silvio Dante in The Sopranos. Oh, and he played guitar in the E Street Band and was the co-producer for Born In The USA and The River. All hail Steve Van Zandt, aka Miami Steve – a Renaissance man of the old school with a CV that includes a 40-year working relationship and friendship with Bruce Springsteen, bringing the scandal of Sun City to wider attention and, as Silvio, one of the world’s great Al Pacino impressions. Which is somehow even better here, as it is in German.
The wildwoman of Dorset emerged with 1992’s brilliant and raw Dry and followed it up with the even better Rid Of Me the following year on which her bluesy, thick sounds were released and allowed to sing by Steve Albini’s production, leading to a record of great power and black-as-night humour. 1995’s excellent To Bring You My Love confirmed her a massive talent and broke her through to the mainstream consciousness. In all fairness, she has not topped this early triumvirate of superb records, but has continued to produce music of rare innovation and feeling, such as the eerie, piano-driven White Chalk (2007). She has also had poetry published, exhibited her sculpture – proving she is something of a chip off the old block, her dad being a stonemason and her mum a sculptor. She played Mary Magdalene in Hal Hartley’s 1999 film The Book Of Life, an ambitious reworking of the Apocalypse, to great acclaim. A unique and beguiling talent.
Born in Dumbarton, Scotland but at high school in Baltimore, the life of David Byrne has never been a conventional one. His work with Talking Heads produced several excellent records, and one great one – 1979s Fear Of Music – as well as one of the great live / concert movies, Stop Making Sense. Away from Talking Heads, he and Brian Eno pioneered sampling on My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts; he scored a strange and challenging ballet for Broadway and did the stage design for Stop Making Sense. He’s been in The Simpsons and designed functional art for public spaces in New York – keep an eye out for Byrne bike-racks in Brooklyn. He oversaw the monumental art installation ‘Playing The Building’ where he hooked a pipe organ to a 100-year-old Manhattan ferry terminal and used its pipes and fittings to project sound. Aside from his endlessly inventive creative endeavours, he’s been a trenchant critic of the industry’s failure to move with the times over new ways of disseminating music. A 100% they-broke-the-mould kinda guy then.