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The E Street Band backstage at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony

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The 29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony took place on April 10, 2014, at Barclays Center in New York City's Brooklyn borough. HBO will premiere an edited version of the show on May 31, 2014. In 2014, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees in 2014 were Kiss, Nirvana, Cat Stevens, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, the E Street Band, Brian Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham. Here is what this artist had to say backstage during a brief press conference in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame press room.

THE E STREET BAND

In his induction speech for the E Street Band, Bruce Springsteen talked about a conversation that he had with Steven Van Zandt about E Street Band not being included in Springsteen's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction as a solo artist. Steven, what are your memories of that conversation?

Steven Van Zandt: I was surprised that he brought that up. It was a very personal conversation. I really can’t talk about this. It’s really too personal. But it was basically making a case that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are one entity. We created this thing. Bruce talked about it tonight. It’s a hybrid between a solo act and a band. At that point, we were in many conversations about a reunion.

Bruce had tried different things with different people, which he absolutely has a right to do, but at that point, our conversation was, “Anything you can think of, we’ll be there.” We were still very dedicated to realizing his vision, no matter what that vision is, we can do it. So that was the beginning of putting the band back together.

What advice can you give to the younger generations of musicians to get to where you are right now?

Nils Lofgren: Practice, practice, practice!

Max Weinberg: Buy Bruce Springsteen records.

Gary Tallent: Get it in writing.

Vini Lopez: Obviously, be authentic and passionate about it at first. And if something comes your way, whatever, that’s fine. I kind of picked that up at a young age. At 17, I had great mentors. That’s the bottom line. Engage in your own gifts and stay passionate.

With so many great Springsteen songs to choose from, how did you choose the set list that you performed tonight?

Tallent: We never pick the set list. Our fearless leader picks the set list.

If Clarence Clemons were here tonight, what do you think you would say to him?

David Sancious: We’ve already said everything we sort of said, how much we love him. Clarence would have a lot to say about tonight. He’d have a real good time. And on his way, out he’d have an even better time. We do miss him. He’s with us in spirit.

Steven, without taking Bruce Springsteen out of the picture, can you say what defines the E Street Band?

Van Zandt: From the very beginning, we decided not to define ourselves away from Bruce. We turned down lots of money and lots of deals to do our own thing, but we decided very early on that this is what we were going to do. We were one thing: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Bruce hand-picked the band himself, one guy at a time. And it’s his band. We existed for him, to realize his vision, as I said. He picked guys who handle a wide variety of things and who basically follow orders.

[With] every one of us, there’s a lot of spontaneity going on in the show. There’s a lot of spontaneity tonight!

We are one entity. [Bruce Springsteen] is a very creative guy. Our job is to follow where he goes and keep it coherent.

Max, as the drummer for “The Late Show” band, what do you think about Stephen Colbert replacing David Letterman as host of “The Late Show”?

Weinberg: I read today that Stephen Colbert is taking over the helm of the show next year. I think it’s a great choice. He’s an incredibly talented guy.

It’s a challenging landscape. I’ve been there 17 years myself. I wish him all the luck. It’s the end of an era.

For more info: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website

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