- The Washington Times - Monday, January 26, 2004

Underground success

Steven Van Zandt, known to Bruce Springsteen fans as Little Steven and to “Sopranos” fans as Silvio Dante, has another hit on his hands — as a disc jockey for the nationally syndicated radio show “Little Steven’s Underground Garage.”

Carried locally by Annapolis-based WRNR (103.1), the two-hour program airs on more than 130 affiliate stations. The playlist encompasses everything from rockabilly, surf, early rock, psychedelia and ‘70s punk and unearths rare garage rock from bands such as the Electric Prunes, Mooney Suzuki, the Greenhornes and the Shazam.

Music buffs across the country are eating it up — though it took some convincing at the conceptual stage. “I went all over the country to some of the big syndicates, and they were like, ‘Well, we really think the world of you, Steven, but this idea just won’t fly,’” Mr. Van Zandt told Scripps Howard News Service.

They were wrong; it flew just fine.

“I think people wanted something on their radio that was cutting edge. Much of today’s music is pretty predictable. I also believe that human nature likes to be surprised. This show does that, too,” he said.

“More importantly,” he continued, “it exposes a new generation to some great music. In fact, one-third of our listeners are under 25 years old. … Many radio programmers really underestimate this group. They do them an injustice by assuming they just want to hear pop and hip-hop.”

Between acting in the popular HBO series and touring with Mr. Springsteen and the E Street Band, how does he find the time for a DJ gig?

“Sometimes I honestly don’t know,” he said. “I had no idea it would take off like this, or how much work the show entailed. But it’s truly a labor of love. … I have two of the best jobs in the world. Well, actually now three.”

‘Reds’-ford update

As reported in this column last week, Robert Redford took the new film about Che Guevara, “The Motorcycle Diaries,” to Havana for the viewing pleasure of the late guerrilla leader’s family.

Things went splendidly, according to Reuters News Agency.

“I came to present the film that I produced on Che Guevara, and I am very happy to be in Cuba,” Mr. Redford said before the private screening at Havana’s Charles Chaplin cinema.

Reuters reports that he watched the film with Guevara’s widow, Aleida March, son Camilo and daughters Celia and Aleidita as well as Ramiro Valdes, a top military commander in Cuba’s communist government who fought with Guevara and Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra.

The film, directed by Brazilian Walter Salles, is based on the diaries Guevara wrote on a nine-month bike trip through South America in 1952.

“The film is excellent,” his widow Aleida, who provided the diaries to the filmmakers, said after the screening.

“If you read the book Daddy wrote on his trip through Latin America, you will see that the film is very faithful to the original,” daughter Celia said.

Hendrix re-experience

Experience Hendrix, the holding company that oversees the Jimi Hendrix estate, will launch a pilot tour of three concerts and possibly more, celebrating the man’s legacy.

The trio of shows will take place in Mr. Hendrix’s hometown of Seattle, plus San Francisco and Portland, Ore, according to Billboard magazine.

Participating artists will include blues guitarists such as Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Hubert Sumlin; the band Living Color; and the ubiquitous Kid Rock.

All will be backed by former Hendrix band mates Mitch Mitchell on drums and Billy Cox on bass, with Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers on vocals.

At the round table

The British empire’s soon-to-be honorary knight, Microsoft magnate Bill Gates, doesn’t have the first clue about what he’ll encounter at Buckingham Palace.

“All I know about the ceremony is what I saw on ‘Monty Python,’ ” Mr. Gates told a press conference in London yesterday, according to Reuters.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from wire and Web reports.

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