Little Steven is back with a brand new album called Summer Of Sorcery which is already popping up in all the charts while getting critical acclaim worldwide. This is his first record of new material in twenty years and he’s now embarking in a world tour together with his loyal band The Disciples Of Soul. The legendary musician doesn’t stop surprising his fans with his many talents and tonight he’s back at the Hard Rock Cafe London for a second year with a intimate DJ set ‘The Underground Garage Dance Party’. I’ve been lucky enough to get to chat with him again after last summer and he has shared some interesting insights about his artistic breakthrough and exciting news about his upcoming plans.
RAMzine: Great to see you again!
Little Steven: You too!
RAMzine: So tonight you are back at the Hard Rock Cafe for a DJ set, what do you like the most about this iconic chain?
Little Steven: Hard Rock Cafe was the first sponsor of my radio show Little Steven Underground Garage which is in 100 countries now, without them I may never have got on the air you know. Our very special relationship goes back literally 17 years, so whenever I got a day off I try to come to a Hard Rock Cafe and do a little DJ set. That’s the story.
RAMzine: Nice one. What’s great about being a DJ for the night? What do you enjoy the most?
Little Steven: Well you get the chance to meet the fans, I’ll usually sign some things and take pictures with everybody. It’s a good way to get out of the hotel and see the town a little bit too. Obviously I’ve been to London many times but there are some towns you don’t always get the chance to see that much. I like meeting new people and I like to play records so this is the the perfect place to do both.
RAMzine: What is a song that you’ll never get bored to play? Is it one of yours?
Little Steven: Well (laughs)… I still enjoy almost everything from the 60’s. Tonight we are doing a Beach Party so there’ll be a lot of Beach Boys, a lot of Jan and Dean. I’ll never get tired of them.
RAMzine: Great! We also mentioned your very successful radio show before, Little Steven Underground Garage, would you be able to pick your favourite guest so far?
Little Steven: I haven’t had many guests as we didn’t structure the show around them. We had a few good ones though. We had Brian Wilson who was a great guest, Ray Davies from The Kinks, Peter Wolf from J. Geils Band, Paul McCartney was on too and we also did something with Keith Richards. Quite a lot of great guests even though we didn’t want to depend on it. It’s always a big deal to try and arrange guests to come, you have to reach out to their managers, some of them I know some others I don’t. If it’s very easy then we’ll do it, if not I’d rather have the music to speak for itself, in the end it’s all about the music.
RAMzine: And since you are also in radio what are your thoughts about new music and new artists in general?
Little Steven: Unfortunately I don’t have much time to listen to it so I don’t know too much about it. I have to listen to thousands of albums in our garage rock genre which is traditional rock ‘n roll because we have to pick one coolest song every week, so I don’t get the chance to listen to modern pop music for example. It’s not our world, you know what I mean?
RAMzine: Yeah, fair enough. You have a new album out called Summer Of Sorcery, what can you tell us about it?
Little Steven: A lot (laughs). First of all it’s an important artistic breakthrough for me, it’s the first time I made a record that is not autobiographical and not political. This time it’s a fictional record, there are twelve little movies and I play a different character in each one. I’m very happy with it because I wasn’t sure I could write it after all this time, it’s been twenty years since I’ve written a new album. The Soulfire album from two years ago was extremely important because it got me back into my own music. And then I also have to be grateful for this fantastic band who has been with me for these whole two years. It gives me security in a way, a foundation, I don’t have to worry about it. I know them, they know me. This is the first time that I’ve done two albums in a row with the same band.
RAMzine: So you have a good relationship with them?
Little Steven: A great one.
RAMzine: You’ve also embarked in a world tour, what do you expect from this brand new adventure?
Little Steven: It’s a whole new show, we’ve only done five or six shows so far and it’s been fantastic.
RAMzine: London tomorrow right?
Little Steven: That’s right. The reaction so far has been amazing, and most of the fans don’t even have the new album because it just came out. I wrote the album to be the soundtrack of a whole new show but you never know until you try and boy the reaction has left me speechless. It’s gonna be a great year!
RAMzine: Cool. What is it that keeps you going after so many years in this business?
Little Steven: Right now it’s a whole new artistic breakthrough which gave me a re-birth. I like writing about fiction instead of just writing about myself or politics. The pressure before was very heavy, now I feel liberated.
RAMzine: You can be whoever you want.
Little Steven: Exactly. It’s limitless possibilities now. Artistic freedom. We’ll see where we go.
RAMzine: If you could choose, what is that one thing you like the most about playing live?
Little Steven: It’s always different every night and I like that. We have to win the people over, song by song. And that’s very satisfying, you know. You gotta give it all you got and see what happens. It’s an adventure every day.
RAMzine: Amazing! Shall we talk about this great non-profit organisation called Teach Rock you are involved with?
Little Steven: It’s something I started twelve years ago, while I was writing a music history curriculum, I felt we needed to keep the arts in the education process which have been thrown out because of budgets and money. So I decided to make it free, no budget problems. We have 150 lessons online at TeachRock.org and teachers can use it for free and they can also come to the shows for free. We’ll continue to write new lessons and the idea is to teach these kids in a way to grab their attention. Lastly we’re trying to lower the drop out rate to make sure kids graduate from high school.
RAMzine: That’s very honorable. Any future plans you’d like to tell us?
Little Steven: I’m gonna tour till November 6th as the tour ends in New York at the Beacon Theatre. I’m gonna then see what Bruce wants to do. If Bruce wants to go out next year we’ll do that and if not I’ll keep the Disciples of Soul going or I’ll do a new TV show.
RAMzine: You are indeed a very busy man. Thanks for your time today.
Little Steven: That’s alright, thank you.