Having played guitar for Springsteen’s E Street Band since the early 1980s, Van Zandt, now 70, opened up in his memoir, “Unrequited Infatuations,” about a fight he had with Springsteen, now 72, during the band’s recording of “Born in the USA.” The incident ultimately led to Van Zandt walking away from the band right before its big break.
“Leaving the E Street Band when I did, ended my life as I knew it,” Van Zandt said in an interview with The Associated Press. “You can’t be reborn until you die. So that had to happen.”
In his book, the “Sopranos” star called the move to walk away “the big mistake of my life” and described the decision as “my very public career suicide.”
“In the end, you come to the same conclusion, which is: I wish I could have done both. I wish I could have stayed in the band and done all of these things,” he said. “But that’s not really realistic.”
Van Zandt and Springsteen would eventually set their gripes aside but all these years later, Van Zandt appears to still have some opinions of the legendary musician.
He pressed that between “Born to Run” and “Darkness of the Edge of Town,” Springsteen completely shifted his look and persona which Van Zandt believes was bogus from the get-go.
“He completely, 180 degrees changed his identity. He’s fronting, he’s playing a character,” said Van Zandt. “That was the most important moment of his life because he stayed in that persona forever.”
The “Lilyhammer” actor admitted he even sent Springsteen the manuscript of his book before it went off to publication and said Springsteen gave the all-clear and didn’t suggest he make any changes.
“He was in the book more than I planned on him being in the book because he turns out he’s a very big part of my life, you know?” Van Zandt said.
“It really did serve as some kind of a bit of therapy,” he added of the writing of his memoir. “It’s always painful going through the mistakes and saying, ‘I wish I could have done this. I could have done that.’”
A rep for Springsteen did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.