Steven Van Zandt - Steven Van Zandt Secured Film Rights For Beatles And Stones Songs For Cheap
Rocker Steven Van Zandt helped writer/director David Chase keep his new movie Not Fade Away within budget by using his superstar contacts to secure the rights to songs by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for cheap.
Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band sidekick served as music mentor and executive producer on the film, about a group of New Jersey high school kids who put together a band in the mid-1960s, and he was able to call in a few favours to make sure the soundtrack was top quality.
Chase, who worked with the guitarist-turned-actor on his mafia series The Sopranos, admits it helped that they were more interested in "lesser-known album tracks" than big hits.
Chase tells Billboard.com, "He would tell you he has a few friends who are Beatles, and he had connections with the Rolling Stones Publisher at that time (Abkco). He has these contacts and he was able to put them to use and negotiate some good deals for us."
However, the filmmaker encountered a little trouble when it came to casting the movie because so many young actors were not familiar with rock icons of that period, like the Stones' Sir Mick Jagger.
Acting newcomer John Magaro, who stars as the The Twylight Zones' lead singer, reveals, "I listened to a lot of '60s music growing up and I talked to peers of mine and thought we all grew up with it but apparently not.
"David said kids that were auditioning for this were pronouncing Mick's name as 'Yagger' rather than Jagger. I guess my generation is horribly unaware of '60s music. I was forced to listen to that music growing up so that was good for this role. I don't know how you couldn't love that music. The good rock 'n' roll being made nowadays was inspired by them."
Magaro and his co-star Jack Huston were enrolled in a rock boot camp ahead of production so they could learn how to play musical instruments for real, and even landed one-time Beatle Andy White as their drumming mentor.
He recently said, "It was intense. Andy White, who played on some of the Beatles' first tracks and lives in New Jersey now, would come in every day and teach me how to drum."