The Truth About Steven Van Zandt's Fallout With Bruce Springsteen

Guitarist Steven Van Zandt is finally opening up about his career in a new memoir titled, "Unrequited Infatuations: Odyssey of a Rock and Roll Consigliere (A Cautionary Tale)." The book details Van Zandt's contributions to rock music and his once strained relationship with bandmate Bruce Springsteen.

"I was okay at it and I would get good at fronting in the '80s when I had to, but my natural inclination just has never been to be the frontman," Van Zandt told Springsteen in a streamed conversation between the two, celebrating the guitarist's memoir (via Variety). "I liked being the guy behind the scenes or to the side... (But) the performance part of my life has been the fun part."

Van Zandt was often coined as Springsteen's right-hand man, with Springsteen saying, "It's a miracle that we found each other, that we struck up a friendship and it's lasted for 50 years." That friendship, however, wasn't always peachy. As Van Zandt admits in his memoir, he and Springsteen had a big falling out, and it put a strain on his career.

Steven Van Zandt felt unappreciated by Bruce Springsteen

Speaking to the New York Post, guitarist Steven Van Zandt opened up about the unfortunate timing behind his departure from the E Street Band back in the 1980s, which all began with a fallout with his friend and bandmate, Bruce Springsteen.

"I just felt I was not being appreciated anymore, 'cause I was always his main adviser in a way, just from being his best friend, and then a new manager had come in and become his main adviser," Van Zandt said. "I thought he's not really paying as much attention to my advice as much as he used to." Van Zandt ended up quitting the band as a result.

The decision happened just before Springsteen's number one album, "Born in the U.S.A.," causing the guitarist to regret his choice. "It was a mistake I've never recovered from. Financially, it was apocalyptic," he admitted to Rolling Stone in 2019. 

Steven Van Zandt's career has come full circle

Steven Van Zandt's career wasn't all a loss. After his big fallout with Bruce Springsteen, the artist went on to release his own albums including "Voice of America" which was released just a few weeks before Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." according to the New York Post. Van Zandt would also branch out from just rock n' roll, starring as Silvio Dante in "The Sopranos." By the late 1990s, the artist would reunite with Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Although there were some hiccups along the way to get back in the swing of things, it's safe to say Van Zandt always had a connection to Springsteen. "We share a lot of the same feelings, taste and opinions," he told Closer Weekly. "Our bond happened almost immediately, because in those days, it really was a long shot to make a living in rock 'n' roll, and me and him were the only two guys that I know of who were totally dedicated to it."

Of course, perhaps there's a part of Van Zandt that wonders what would have happened if he had stayed solo instead of returning to the band in 1999. "I felt a little guilty and stupid for walking away so completely from my solo career, when I did," he told The San Diego Union-Tribune. "I didn't intend to." That said, it seems Van Zandt ended up where he was ultimately supposed to be.