The legendary guitarist and actor Steven Van Zandt has spoken about his dear friend James Gandolfini, saying that he misses him every day. In an interview with 60 Minutes, Van Zandt opened up about his relationship with Gandolfini, whom he met on the set of the hit TV series The Sopranos.
Van Zandt played the role of Silvio Dante, Tony Soprano’s consigliere, in the critically acclaimed HBO drama. Gandolfini starred as Tony Soprano, the troubled mob boss struggling with family, loyalty, and therapy. The two actors quickly became close friends off-screen, bonding over their shared Italian heritage and love of music.
“I miss him every day,” Van Zandt said. “He was a great guy, a sweet guy. We had a lot in common, obviously, being from New Jersey and having Italian backgrounds. But we also had a deep connection musically.”
Van Zandt recalled how he and Gandolfini would often talk about music on set, sharing stories and recommendations. They even collaborated on a song together, which was featured in an episode of The Sopranos.
Gandolfini passed away suddenly in 2013, leaving behind a legacy as one of the greatest actors of our time. Van Zandt remembered the moment he heard the news, calling it “devastating.”
“We were all devastated,” he said. “We lost a great guy, a great talent. He was a true artist who gave his heart and soul to everything he did.”
Despite his passing, Gandolfini’s spirit continues to live on through his body of work, including The Sopranos. Van Zandt believes that his friend’s performance as Tony Soprano remains one of the most iconic roles in television history.
“He was so good in that role,” Van Zandt said. “He made it look easy, but it wasn’t. He brought such depth and complexity to the character. He was a real artist.”
Van Zandt himself has had a long and successful career in both music and acting. As a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, he has toured the world and recorded some of the most enduring songs in rock history. He has also appeared in several films and TV shows, including Lilyhammer and Not Fade Away.
However, despite his many accomplishments, Van Zandt still feels the absence of his dear friend every day. He hopes that his memory of Gandolfini will continue to inspire others to follow their dreams and pursue their passions.
“He was a special guy,” Van Zandt said. “I feel lucky to have known him, to have worked with him, to have called him a friend. He left a mark on the world, and I think that’s something we should all strive for.”
As for The Sopranos, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, Van Zandt believes that the show remains relevant today due to its complex characters and thought-provoking storylines. He credits the success of the series to the vision of its creator, David Chase.
“David Chase is a genius,” Van Zandt said. “He created something truly unique with The Sopranos. It’s a show that explores the human condition in a way that’s both entertaining and challenging. It’s a work of art.”
Van Zandt expressed gratitude for the opportunity to be part of such an iconic project, alongside talented actors like Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, and Edie Falco. He looks back on his time working on The Sopranos fondly, cherishing the memories he made with his fellow cast members and crew.
“It was a magical time,” Van Zandt said. “We didn’t realize it at the time, but we were creating something really special. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I feel blessed to have been a part of it.”