E Street consigliere Steven Van Zandt last appeared with Bruce Springsteen locally at SXSW 2012, then celebrated Ian McLagan at the Austin Music Awards three years later. The guitarist, 67, now returns with his Eighties vehicle Disciples of Soul behind his first solo LP in almost 20 years, Soulfire, all eras of his day job rolled into one. The Sopranos’ Silvio Dante and Lilyhammer’s Frank Tagliano doubles the tour as a stump opportunity for TeachRock, Van Zandt’s middle and high school curriculum in music.
“Yeah, yeah,” he says in his iconic Jersey twang. “We’re doing great with it, too. Keep in mind I’ve been working on this for 10 years, but we’ve only gone public in the last year. I outlined 200 lessons, which is basically the entire history of music, going back to the early 20th century.
“We base lesson plans on documentaries, using footage from them and basically turning it into a lesson plan. We did that with The Beatles, partnering with the Ron Howard movie. We partnered with Dave Grohl for the Sonic Highways HBO special. We partnered with Tom Petty for the Elvis Presley thing, which is great, and Rumble, you know, Native Americans Who Rocked the World.
“This is our way of showing our gratitude to the teachers, who are right now under siege across our whole country. We wanted to show solidarity, so we’re inviting them to come to the soundcheck. Come to a workshop, which my foundation people will hold, and see how the lesson plans work. Then they can come to the show for free.
“We have like 200 tickets per show put aside for teachers. They can bring their friends, their mates, their children, their students, whatever. It makes sense because my show right now is kind of a history of rock & roll. The Soulfire album touches upon all the sub-genres.”
Fri., May 25, 8pm