Thursday October 18, 2012

NEW YORK -- The night busted open in New York City as Bruce Spring steen and other Rock and Roll Hall of Famers helped Steven Van Zandt celebrate his Big Man of the Year award.

Darlene Love, Elvis Costello and Dion were among the stellar performers at a rollicking benefit for Little Kids Rock, an initiative that rescues music education amid public school budget cuts.

Springsteen had some fun while presenting the award -- gleefully detailing their roommate days.

Amid the musical blow out, Van Zandt and the oth er stars discussed the arts' role in fueling young minds and shaping character.

Van Zandt said in an AP interview before the show that children might see a mu sical career as glamorous and fun -- "and it is."

But it also "re quires a lot of work You need discipline and you need willpower and focus. And a lot of hours put into it," he said.

So people might be surprised to know that Van Zandt can go three years without playing a guitar, and then pick it up again in a week or two.

"When you've been playing so long, you don't really forget how to play," he said.

"Well, that's not a good example for the kids, though," he conceded, laughing.