Inside Steven Van Zandt’s “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre”
The soundtrack to David Chase’s Not Fade Away features the fictional band portrayed in the film, The Twylight Zones, covering some early rock classics including Bo Diddley’s “Bo Diddley,” Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and the standard “Time Is On My Side.” One lesser known song on the soundtrack is “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,” written by the film’s Music Supervisor, Steven Van Zandt.
The E Street Band guitarist originally wrote the song for a garage rock band from Oslo, Norway, called The Cocktail Slippers. He produced their 2009 album, also called St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, which he released on his label, Wicked Cool Records. Cocktail Slipper guitarist Rocket Queen (yes, named after the Guns ‘N Roses song) told CBS Local that she’s glad that the song is getting a new life. “Steven told me about working with David Chase on this film a long time ago – probably when they agreed to do the movie together. About a year ago he told me they were going to use ‘St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.’ I think that’s great. The song derverves to be played all over the universe again and again and again!”
She also recalled her excitement when she first heard his original demo of the song. “The hairs on my body stood right up! The song is just so great. You can instantly tell that it´s a hit song! I loved everything about it. The lyrics, the chords, the melodies. It struck me as a masterpiece right there and then.”
Van Zandt has long been a champion of rock music from Scandinavia. He became a fan of The Cocktail Slippers after hearing their 2001 debut album, Rock It! How he actually got the album remains a mystery. Rocket Queen says, “Neither we nor Steven know how he got a copy of Rock It! But there are plenty of stories of how he got it, and at least a dozen people have told me that they were the one who gave him the album!” In 2004, he invited them to play his Underground Garage Rock Festival at New York’s Randall’s Island, alongside The Stooges, The New York Dolls, Bo Diddley, The Romantics and Nancy Sinatra. Soon after, he signed them to his label.
The band is now working on their next album, due out in April of 2013. And their relationship with Van Zandt continues: he got them a cameo on Lilyhammer, the new series he stars in. They performed a song called “Soul Salvation Of Love,” which he also wrote for them.
The Not Fade Away soundtrack, which also features the original versions of The Rolling Stones’ “Tell Me,” James Brown’s “There Was A Time,” The Rascals’ “I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart,” The Small Faces’ “Itchycoo Park” and Bob Dylan’s “She Belongs To Me,” is out now.
— Brian Ives, CBS Local