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Friday, June 14, 2024

Meet just a Tad of The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady has been labeled by many as a 'bar band,' and while that may sound simplistic, it is anything but. The band co-opts the good-time riffs of artists like Thin Lizzy, the horn sections, sweeping pianos and heartland storytelling of Bruce Springsteen. 

 

 

 

Guitarist Tad Kublar recently talked with The Daily Cardinal about the band's burgeoning fame, its unique style, and the Minneapolis-based group's return to the Midwest. 

 

 

 

The Daily Cardinal: This year, you have garnered much attention from your new album 'Separation Sunday.' When you're touring, have you seen anything that translates or changes things because of crowd size, or does it still just feel like six guys in a van? 

 

 

 

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Tad Kublar: No, no, no, Since all of us have been doing this for so long, whether you're playing to six people in Cleveland or whatever. I mean, the press is one thing. In the first half of the year, everyone was like, 'Oh, you guys were in Rolling Stone!' or the other night we were mentioned on that show 'Lost.'  

 

 

 

We've definitely been fortunate in the past year with all the press and the profile of the band getting a little bit bigger. It's interesting. You realize you don't recognize anybody in the first few rows anymore and they're all singing the words. It's kind of weird. 

 

 

 

DC: It must feel pretty gratifying, though. 

 

 

 

TK: Oh yeah, man. We've all been playing in bands for a long time. To go out and see that kind of response on a whole different level, it's really great. 

 

 

 

DC: Now, you grew up in Wisconsin... 

 

 

 

TK: Yeah, I lived in Wisconsin until I was 19. I actually lived in Madison for about a year and a half. I lived on Gorham, and then I lived on East Mifflin by James Madison Park. And then from there, I moved to Minneapolis, which is where I met Craig. 

 

 

 

DC: And in Minneapolis, you guys started Lifter Puller? 

 

 

 

TK: Yeah, Craig actually started the band and I played in a couple of bands up there. He asked me to join Lifter Puller and that's how we really got to know each other, I guess. 

 

 

 

DC: Going from Lifter Puller to The Hold Steady, was there any trepidation about switching from a punk/indie style to a classic-rock, Springsteen-influenced style?  

 

 

 

TK: I think that if you're doing something that you really like to do and you're honest about it, and you're playing your ass off, I don't care what style of music you're playing. People are going to respond to it.  

 

 

 

The one thing I would say about my band, if and when you do get to see us, is it's a really fantastic thing we all get to do together, and there's a lot of joy in us being on stage together. I mean, it's a celebration, man!  

 

 

 

We're not up there rehearsing a 45-minute set that we've done 100 times before. Its like, sometimes 'Your Little Hoodrat Friend' may be four and a half minutes and sometimes, it might be seven. We try to keep things a little looser and play off each other, and however it goes, it goes and I think that anybody really reacts to that.  

 

 

 

DC: Your concert in Littleton, Colo. next week features a unique angle. The high school is having a program where at-risk kids study your lyrics, talk about them and then you're going to come in and play an acoustic show and talk to them. How did that come about? 

 

 

 

TK: I can remember growing up, and how important music has been to me all my life. If some band I was into'or any band'had come to our high school and played some songs and talked to us about music and what we do and what the rest of our lives are like when we're not onstage, that would've blown my fucking mind.  

 

 

 

Music has been such an inspiration for so many people, and obviously for so many people that we're involved with, that to have the opportunity to come and talk to those younger people that are really into music, that's an opportunity that might not come again. 

 

 

 

DC: One last thing. Since you guys will be playing an early show on Halloween weekend, do you plan on partaking in the State Street festivities?  

 

 

 

TK: Yeah, it'll be nice since it's an early show. We can get our stuff out of the line of fire, pardon the pun, and be able to party and see people for a while.

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