The Sopranos creator David Chase returns to New Jersey, an Italian-American family drama and former collaborator James Gandolfini for his debut as a feature film director. But this time around, he's trading mobsters for aspiring musicians.

The Jersey-raised writer and filmmaker's Not Fade Away has been billed a love letter to the rock 'n' roll of the 1960s.

Packed with blues and rock from the British Invasion era, Not Fade Away is a coming-of-age story that draws inspiration from Chase's own past as an aspiring rocker. It follows a rebellious young man who clashes with his father (Gandolfini) and finds a new purpose in life after joining a local band as its drummer.

The film and its soundtrack have serious music world credibility thanks to Steve Van Zandt, a fellow Jersey boy, longtime E Street Band member and actor who appeared on The Sopranos as mobster Silvio Dante. Van Zandt served as Not Fade Away's music supervisor and executive producer.

Gandolfini initially questioned Chase's decision to reunite with former Sopranos collaborators for this new film, the director told CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos.

"He read [the script] and said 'Are you sure you want to do this with me? I never thought you'd ever want to work with me again, No. 1,'" Chase recalled.

"'No. 2, are you sure this isn't too early for us to be working together? Is this gonna be good for the movie for both of us to be associated with this? People will pick on that and people will find a problem with it.'" 

In the excerpt above, Chase discusses working with Gandolfini and exactly what he loved about writing his dark, acclaimed series The Sopranos.

David Chase appears on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight Thursday night. Not Fade Away opens in theatres Friday.