It's been almost 25 years since you toured the UK with your own band. Why is the time right for a tour now?

I don`t really have a good excuse for being away for so long. I got into acting so that was a whole new craft to learn and a challenge that occupied my mind for a while and then when I went from The Sopranos to Lillyhammer. Then Bruce Springsteen started touring with the E Street Band again. I've been busy doing other stuff and have been ignoring the Little Steven the artist side of me that I shouldn't have done. It just felt like the right time to reintroduce myself as Little Steven the artist again.

The last time you played up in this area was about four years ago with Bruce Springsteen at the Sunderland Stadium of Light in front of 40,000 people. You're show in Newcastle is a little more intimate. Does a tour like this help you to reconnect you to your fans?

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Yes, I think it does. Stadiums and festivals are very nice but they only really exist for relationships that are already happening. It's a very different dynamic when you are reintroducing yourself. It's much more intimate and people get a sense of what it is and it`s more about the music than about the event. It's more about making an emotional connection with the music. I think it`s really important for me to be doing this right now.

You're over with your Disciples of Soul band. Are you bringing across your full band?

I am bringing over the full 15-piece band. It's quite an expensive hobby but I decided to invest in it and it may take me two tours or maybe three for me to break-even but it`s something I really want to do. We're travelling with 27 people so it's a big commitment and it's going to take a lot to do the tour but it'll be so worth it.

You`re new album Soulfire has just been released. Where are you musically at the moment?

I wanted to get back to that Rock meets Soul sound with five horn players and three girl singers and very quickly it became 15 people. It's very powerful and I'm hearing it big. The great thing about doing this album is that I can put the roots of who I am and where I'm coming from on there. I've never put a Blues song or a Doo Wop song on a record before. The cinematic references are there with Ennio Morricone and the Funk elements of James Brown. It was a wonderful opportunity to say this is who I am.

Most songs on Soulfire are those that you have recorded over your career and have given them the Disciples of Soul treatment. How did you manage to trim down a whole career to just 12 songs?

I picked songs that I`d done for other people and on my own records that had the most meaning to me, some that resonated most in my life. In the end it seemed obvious to me which songs should go on the record.

One of your most successful projects outside of music was playing Silvio Dante in The Sopranos. How did you end up landing that role?

It was extremely strange. I was inducting The Rascals into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and it was the first time the ceremony was ever shown on television, it had always been a private ceremony before that, just to show you that destiny was at play here. David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos, was clicking around with his remote and came upon the ceremony and he's a fan of The Rascals. I did a comical introduction to them and he liked that. He contacted me and said he was doing a new TV show and asked if I wanted to be in it. I said no, not really, I'm not an actor. He said that I was but I hadn't realised it yet.

You also co-wrote and directed, wrote the music and starred as Frank Tagliano in Lillyhammer. Where on earth did the idea for a dual language show about a gangster in witness protection locating in a small Norwegian town come from?

That was amazing. I was producing one of the bands on my record label from Bergen in Norway and I got a call saying there was a husband and wife to see me in the lobby. It turned out they had written a TV show for me. They explained it was a gangster in witness protection who chooses Lillyhammer in Norway as his hideout and I thought, oh man, I really shouldn`t do this. My people thought I was crazy. I went from doing one of the biggest shows on TV with The Sopranos to a local Norwegian TV show. They thought I was out of my mind. I thought if I could co-write it and co-produce it and have some control then that`d be enough. This is the thing I`m most proud of.

Do you have any other projects on the go or is that you pretty full up for the next few years?

After I finish the UK tour in Newcastle I`ll be going over to Europe for about 4 weeks and that'll take me right up to Christmas. If Bruce doesn't tour next year then I`ll keep on touring with The Disciples of Soul and tour all of next year too.

  • Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul play at the O2 Academy, Newcastle, Thursday, November 16