April 09, 2002 12:00 PM

Steve Van Zandt, 51, the guitar muscle behind Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and the actor who plays Silvio Dante on HBO’s “The Sopranos,” introduced his newest rock venture Sunday night in New York, reports PEOPLE. It is “Little Steven’s Underground Garage,” a live, nationally syndicated radio show of garage-rock sounds from the 1960s through today. “Radio is my favorite medium,” said Van Zandt, sporting a black Sgt. Pepper coat, snakeskin boots, bright green heart-shaped sunglasses and his trademark purple paisley bandana around his head. “That’s what I grew up with. There wasn’t a lot of rock and roll on TV in those days, and rock and roll is my first love, obviously.” As for the new venture, “It’s a lot more work than I thought it was going to be,” he says. “It takes me three, four days a show. I’m bringing my own personality to it, which is what deejays did in the early days.” The weekly two-hour radio show is aired nationally on 27 stations. “Right now it’s just me and the deejay,” says Van Zandt. “We have no guests at the moment, but we may work into that. Bruce (Springsteen) is always invited.” In addition to his wife, Maureen Van Zandt, and longtime friends Tico Torres and Joe Piscopo, the guest list for the live radio taping read like a “Sopranos” casting call. Among those attending were Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Steven “Bacala” Schirripa, Drea de Matteo, Dominic “Junior” Chianese, Vincent Pastore, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Vincent “Sack” Curatola and Sharon Angela. Imperioli, 36, noted that Van Zandt is plugged in to rock history. “Stevie saw the Beatles at Shea Stadium. Just to know someone’s that’s been there is a big deal.” (HBO, like PEOPLE, is part of AOL Time Warner.)

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