Steven Van Zandt Says Rock And Roll Is No Longer A Part Of The Mainstream


E Street Band’s Steven Van Zandt recently joined Justice Matters With Glenn Kirschner for an interview during which he talked about rock and roll’s current state and argued it’s not a part of the mainstream anymore.

Recently, Steven Van Zandt has joined the debate about the future of rock and roll as many rock musicians claim that rock is still not dead. It all started with Gene Simmons’ 2014 claim, which argued that rock is dead as there aren’t any mainstream artists as successful as their progenitors like the Beatles.

In an interview with Glenn Kirschner on the show Justice Matters, Steven Van Zandt stated that the rock era was an anomaly, and they enjoyed it while they had it. He then added that it would be known as an unusual event, and the music in the 1960s would be studied for a long time.

Moreover, Van Zandt said he has been trying for the last 20 years to help the rock and roll cult become a healthy cult where people can make a living by playing rock and roll. Saying the genre is an endangered species, the musician stated he doesn’t even remember when was the last time a hit single was a rock song.

Following that, Van Zandt argued rock music is no longer part of the mainstream music business, but it’s still popular as a live performance. He then claimed that a big part of rock and roll music is its communication with the audience, which could be achieved the best while performing live on the stage.

During the conversation, the host, Glenn Kirschner, asked Steven Van Zandt the following:

“What do you see as the future of rock and roll? Then, the finish-up question is, what’s ahead for you professionally? What are you up to?”

In response to this, Van Zandt said:

“We are back to being a cult. Pretty much back to 1955. You know, maybe that’s where we belong. I think the rock era was probably an anomaly — a blip on the radar screen of history. We hopefully enjoyed it while we had it. But I think it’s going to be looked at as an extremely unusual event, and I believe the 60s will be studied for hundreds of years to come. That’s my own belief.

So, we’re back to being a cult, and I spent the last 20 years trying to recreate some infrastructure that is all gone to help this cult become a healthy cult. I’m just trying to get to the point where people can make a living playing rock and roll. That’s all I’m trying to do. I mean, it’s an endangered species for sure. What was the last time there was a top-four, a hit single that was rock and roll? I mean, I don’t even remember. You gotta go back decades.

So, it’s no longer part of the mainstream, and it’s no longer part of the mainstream music business. But we still are big live, luckily, if we ever get back to being live. That’s still hanging in there and probably will always be there because a big part of the rock and roll and the rock art form is the fact that the communication really is best live.

You can watch the full interview below.