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"Silvio"'s long-awaited return to HBO - Filmmaker Bill Teck talks STEVIE VAN ZANDT: DISCIPLE with us

Updated: Jun 23

June 22, 2024



Tonight at 8pm ET, "Silvio" finally returns to HBO, along with "Miami," "Sugar," "The Kid," the "RockNRoll Rebel," and of course "Little Steven." At that time, the epic-length documentary Stevie Van Zandt: Disciple will get its broadcast/streaming premiere on HBO/Max.


We got to screen the film last week, and trust us... If you're a Van Zandt fan (and who reading this isn't?,) you will want to see Stevie Van Zandt: Disciple as soon as possible. (Click here for information on getting access to the Max streaming service, if you don't have it already. You also can see the film with access to HBO, if HBO subscriptions are available through your television provider. Contact your specific provider for more information and pricing details, if needed.)



The film tells the multi-faceted story of Stevie's life and career from childhood through present day. And even if you're a fan who's familiar with that story, there is so much to see here that few to no fans have ever seen before: archival family images and recordings, film/video footage never or rarely shared publicly (with a bit of it courtesy of Thom Zimny, not surprisingly, as you can hear below,) beautifully restored vintage footage, and newly filmed interviews with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, "Southside Johnny" Lyon, Gary "U.S." Bonds, Darlene Love, Jackson Browne, David Chase, Vincent Pastore, Maureen Van Zandt, Eddie Vedder, Bill Wyman, Peter Wolf, Bono, Joan Jett, Kenny Laguna, Jon Landau, Jimmy Iovine, Peter Gabriel, Ruben Blades, Arthur Baker, Bob Clearmountain, Ted Sarandos, longtime Van Zandt collaborator Zoe Thrall, Rich Russo, Palmyra Delran, Eddie Brigati, Chris Columbus, Michael Des Barres, Jesse Malin, Melle Mel, Scott Kempner, Richie Sambora, and - of course - Stevie Van Zandt himself.


image courtesy of HBO - used with permission

After screening the film last week, Letters To You editor/publisher Shawn Poole also got to chat with Disciple director/producer Bill Teck (One Day Since Yesterday: Peter Bogdanovich & the Lost American Film) about his almost-two-decades-long effort to make the Van Zandt documentary happen. Like his documentary's subject, Bill Teck is also a "true believer," to use Bruce Springsteen's words: a longtime Stevie fan whose persistence and professionalism eventually paid off in getting Van Zandt's approval for the film to be made. In the conversation, Teck shared many interesting behind-the-scenes anecdotes about the making of Stevie Van Zandt: Disciple. You can click below to hear the entire conversation on either our SoundCloud or YouTube platforms:




Shortly after we recorded that conversation, Bill Teck also sent us an interesting message with some additional behind-the-scenes information about three potenttial interviewees who unfortunately didn't make it into the film: "[Among the] folks I wanted most were Bob Dylan [with whom Stevie and Roy Bittan recorded a great alternate take of "When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky,"] Pete Townshend [who was a member of Artists United Against Apartheid,] and [longtime SVZ friend/collaborator] Steve Jordan. We couldn’t get Pete's and Steve’s schedules to work, but not for lack of trying. Steve and I went back and forth a lot, and he really wanted to do it, but we ran outta time. My understanding was that Bob Dylan hadn’t sat for an interview for anyone in a long time, and I thought it might be tricky to get him, but I just didn’t dare try. I’m so in awe of him. I guess I couldn’t believe I’d have all these amazing cats in one movie. But then... when I read [what Dylan wrote for the book-cover of Unrequited Infatuations,] I was like… I shoulda tried! And then at Bob’s most recent New York show he praised Stevie from the stage; said beautiful things about him and the Disciples of Soul. And I was like, 'I’m an idiot - I shoulda tried harder.'"


But while Bill Teck may be regretting a few missed opportunities, as all great documentary filmmakers occasionally do, ultimately what's most important - and great - is not anything that's missing from Stevie Van Zandt: Disciple, but everything that is in it. Teck has done a stellar job of assembling an astounding amount of treasures into a fresh, complete, and inspiring tale of one of E Street's - and rock-and-roll's - greatest heroes. Again, we can't recommend it highly enough; check it out as soon as you can.


image courtesy of HBO - used with permission

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