Interviews

Published on February 18th, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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Vincent Pastore On The Upcoming “Sinatra Meets Sopranos” Shows & The Legacy Of “The Sopranos”

When you ask a New Yorker about the greatest television shows of all time, odds are that The Sopranos will be named promptly. While the HBO series stopped making new episodes more than a decade ago, many of the Sopranos cast members continue to work steadily. Vincent Pastore is a perfect example of long-term success from the Sopranos cast with more than a dozen films currently showing on Pastore’s IMDb page for 2019 and 2020 releases.

Prior to being cast as part of The Sopranos, Vincent Pastore had been seen in GoodfellasCarlito’s Way and The Basketball Diaries. Beyond acting, the Bronx native has done well in broadcasting, hosting the Wiseguy Show on Sirius Satellite Radio beyond stints with the New York radio station WVOX. Interestingly, entertainment did not become Pastore’s main career until he was in his 40s, successfully working within the New York City nightclub business for decades prior.

Along with Sopranos co-stars Steve Schirripa and Michael Imperioli, Vincent Pastore will be performing as part of Sinatra Meets The Sopranos at New York’s NYCB Theatre At Westbury on May 4th. Those Sopranos stars will be seen in Westbury, New York alongside singer Michael Martocci and host/comic Joey Kola. Pastore and crew will be telling stories and answering audience questions — as moderated by Kola — about the acclaimed David Chase series while Martocci will be performing music from the actual charts helmed by Frank Sinatra’s conductor and musical director Vincent Falcone.

Below are additional highlights from my February 2, 2019 phone chat with Vincent Pastore; part 1 of this interview previously ran on the Sportskeeda website.

How would you describe the Sinatra Meets Sopranos show that you have coming up in Westbury?

Vincent Pastore: Basically what happens is Michael opens up with his orchestra. He does Sinatra. Then you play the Sopranos [theme] song and they show video clips of scenes that Schirripa and Imperioli and myself did. Then they announce us, we come on-stage… It’s sort of like an Inside The Actor’s Studio with James Lipton type event where they have a person on-stage, usually a local DJ or somebody interviews us, and then a Q&A and we talk to people in the audience. Then after the event there’s a meet and greet for the people who paid for a VIP ticket and we take photo ops with them. That’s pretty much what we do.

Your career has always intrigued me in that you didn’t get into acting full-time until I believe you were in your 40s. When did you know that this was a career to pursue as opposed to thing to do for fun on the side?

Vincent Pastore: I always wanted to be an actor since I was a little kid, but I grew up in a very tough neighborhood, West New Rochelle, where it wasn’t really encouraged to become an actor. And when I got out of the [military] service I went to Pace College in New York on the G.I. Bill, and I started taking classes and that’s where I got the bug [to act]. But what happened is that to supplement my income I was tending bar, and my life went more in the bar direction. I opened up nightclubs in New Rochelle, New York. I ran those for 25 years.

Then around 1986, ’87, I was encouraged by Kevin and Matt Dillon to pursue acting and I went after that. I was 42 and I walked away from the bar business and got into acting.

Which was the first role or movie where you felt like this is going to be the steady career? Was it The Jerky Boys Movie?

Vincent Pastore: No, True Love. I got really lucky because I came out of the gate with a hit that was at the Sundance Film Festival which was by Nancy Savoca. We shot it here in the Bronx and it won the Sundance Film Festival so it was kind of freaky. My first project, I’m in a movie that won Sundance, and the girl who was the lead, Annabella Sciorra, and Aida Turturro, we all worked together on The Sopranos.

In terms of the projects that you’ve worked on, before way before you did The Sopranos, you were in what many people consider to be two of the greatest movies of all time, Goodfellas and Carlito’s Way. Now at what point…

Vincent Pastore: Yeah, but both of those movies I only had one line.

Nonetheless, you were in those movies. So I’m curious as somebody who worked on major projects like that, when you knew that The Sopranos was great. It wasn’t just a job and it was great.

Vincent Pastore: Michael and I talk about it all the time. We knew it was great just shooting that pilot. It’s just the way everything was like a machine. David Chase was on the money, he was directing the pilot which he wrote, and these characters, we all had a position. These were all our characters and we were hoping it was going to continue because we knew if these writers Frank Renzulli and David Chase and Terry Winter, that they were going to write for us which they did, and they wrote those characters for for us. Paulie Walnuts was written for [Tony] Sirico, Silvio was written for [Stevie] Van Zandt…

As the time went by, that’s what happened. We were really lucky to be involved with a project… It’s like creating a character in an original play. Like when I did Bullets Over Broadway with Woody Allen, even though Joe Viterelli did the [Nick Valenti] role in the movie, I created the character on Broadway. So it’s amazing, because that becomes part of your legacy, you know? I mean, it’s 20 years later and I’m still doing appearances. After we leave Westbury, I might go myself or with Schirripa, but we’re so many different venues. Florida, we’re gonna to Australia, there’s talk about London because we have so many fans out there. It’s amazing how this just continues.

I really can’t announce it yet but I just landed another TV job and it is only from Sopranos. People know me from The Sopranos, even though I was only on it for two years.

Two years but definitely a character that people still talk about these days and I’m wondering if you and Steve share a bond in a way that you both came from entertainment-related careers that weren’t acting before you came to The Sopranos.

Vincent Pastore: Yeah, Schirripa had worked with [Martin] Scorsese as well. He did Casino. Goodfellas was one of my first jobs… Yeah, I think it’s kind of like, “OK this was our niche, they saw us as being able to play gangsters.” Neither Schirripa nor myself was a gangster, you know? (laughs) But that’s what we played.

I mean, was my family happy I was playing gangsters? Not really. But here it is 28 years later, I’ve been in the business and I have sort of a trademark playing these kind of guys, you know? I call myself the John Wayne of the wiseguy movies. (laughs)


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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of the bi-weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with V13 (formerly PureGrainAudio.com). He has also co-authored two published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), with a second podcast set for a June 2020 launch.


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