Craig Finn

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Craig Finn
Craig Finn of The Hold Steady.jpg
Craig Finn at the 2010 Sasquatch Festival
Background information
Born (1971-08-22) August 22, 1971 (age 42)
Genres Post-punk, alternative rock, indie rock
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1993–present
Labels Vagrant Records
Full Time Hobby
French Kiss
Associated acts The Hold Steady
Lifter Puller
The Brokerdealer

Craig Finn (born August 22, 1971) is an American singer and guitarist, best known as the front man for The Hold Steady and his former band, Lifter Puller. Described by Pitchfork as "a born storyteller who's chosen rock as his medium,"[1] Finn's lyrics are often noted for having a strong literary bent, stringing together recurring characters and storylines throughout.

During a five-month break from The Hold Steady, Finn recorded a solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes, which was released in January 2012.

Personal life[edit]

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Finn grew up in Edina, Minnesota.[2] He was raised Catholic and still identifies as such.[3][4] Finn attended Valley View Middle School[5] and subsequently graduated from Breck School, and in 1993 from Boston College. Before moving to New York City in 2000, Finn was working as a financial broker for American Express in Minnesota.[6] Upon moving to New York City, where he currently resides, Finn got a job at a live music webcasting company called Digital Club Network.[6][7] At this point in time, Finn did not play music for two years before forming The Hold Steady.[6] Finn lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with his girlfriend Angie Bentfield, whom he has been dating since 2006.[8]

Musical career[edit]

With Lifter Puller[edit]

While with Lift Puller from 1994 to 2000, Finn was involved with the release of 3 albums, 5 singles, 1 EP, and 2 compilations.

Yeah, I'm really proud of everything we did as Lifter Puller. It was a massively creative group of people. - Craig Finn[9]

With The Brokerdealer[edit]

Craig Finn did a short stint of work with Mr. Projectile after moving to New York City in the fall of 2001. The result of this was two EP's.

Untitled EP 1

  1. If Not For Hipster Pictures
  2. Give Me My Body Back
  3. The Last Ones Up Become Lovers

Untitled EP 2

  1. Sophomore Slump
  2. Mommy Can I Go Out and Chill Tonight
  3. Do Me Nails
  4. The Dead Ones Look Like Dolls

With The Hold Steady[edit]

He moved to New York City in the fall of 2001, after Lifter Puller broke up, for a change and because he and his wife knew people there.[10] He has said that lyrically, with The Hold Steady, he's been trying to produce a more positive, coherent, story-based message, in a natural way that he could imagine someone saying.[10]

Work with other artists[edit]

Craig Finn provided his voice to Titus Andronicus's second album, The Monitor. He is the voice of Walt Whitman at the very end of their song "A Pot in Which to Piss" .[11]

He worked with Minneapolis rapper P.O.S on the song "Safety In Speed (Heavy Metal)" which was released on the 2006 album Audition. Always close to the Twin Cities music scene, he also contributed to Minnesota musician Mark Mallman's song "You're Never Alone in New York" on the 2009 album Invincible Criminal.

In between Lifter Puller and The Hold Steady, he did a project with Mr. Projectile known as The Brokerdealer, a techno styled group. They released two unnamed EPs on http://www.thebrokerdealer.net/. This website has shut down, but the songs are still floating around the Internet.

In 2010 he co-wrote, with Chris Cheney, the title track from The Living End's 2011 album, The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating, while Cheney was in New York. After working together, Cheney called Finn "a hell of a lyricist".[12]

On April 8, 2014, Cheap Girls premiered the song "Man In Question" from their Famous Graves album. The track features Finn on guest vocals.[13]

Solo[edit]

In July 2011, Finn started a Tumblr account[14] and announced he was recording a solo record in Austin, Texas. He had played a few new songs earlier in the year on a Minnesota radio program. The album, entitled Clear Heart Full Eyes, was released January 24, 2012 through Vagrant Records.[15]

Lyrical style[edit]

Finn is most notable for his third-person narrative lyrical style, wherein he frequently makes reference to literature, pop culture, adolescence, partying, religion and drugs. Both with Lifter Puller and The Hold Steady, Finn's songs often follow a storytelling format that features recurring characters and locations, with Ybor City, Fla., and the Twin Cities having special prominence.

Particularly in later Hold Steady albums, Finn's songs have explored the darker aspects of his characters' party-centric lifestyles. Finn told an interviewer in 2012: "Artistically, I have always been really interested in the hangover; not just the celebration and the confetti but also the puke in the gutter." [16] Finn has said that "irony is certainly not something I want to be accused of," instead hoping to bring "honesty and sincerity" through his songwriting.[17] Although his stories involve violence and heavy drug use, Finn states his songwriting is not very personal or "confessional".[18]

Finn's lyrics have been a frequent point of praise for The Hold Steady[19][20] with Uncut Magazine describing his style as "narratives driven less by the wordy exposition of yore than acute observation, devastating detail, by turns exclamatory, epigrammatic and grainily authentic."[21]

Influences[edit]

Finn has indicated that some of his greatest lyrical influences include Blake Schwarzenbach from Jets to Brazil and Jawbreaker as well as Bruce Springsteen.[22] In a Guardian article, he described The Replacements' Let It Be as his "favorite ever record."[23] He found The Doors' L.A. Woman to be influential in a different manner. As he told the same newspaper: "The music meanders, and Morrison was more like a drunk asshole than an intelligent poet. The worst of the worst is the last song, Riders on the Storm: 'There's a killer on the road/ His brain is squirming like a toad' - that's surely the worst line in rock'n'roll history. He gave the green light to generations of pseuds."[24] He is also a huge fan of Drive-By Truckers.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. "Craig Finn: Clear Heart Full Eyes | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "Chat: Chat with musician Craig Finn - SportsNation - ESPN". Proxy.espn.go.com. 2011-01-02. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  3. ^ Troy Reimink. "The Hold Steady's Craig Finn discusses the role of faith in songwriting | MLive.com". The Grand Rapids Press. Blog.mlive.com. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  4. ^ Marchese, David. "Lapsed Catholics and Lost Hoodrats < PopMatters". Popmatters.com. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  5. ^ "I was no longer a loser", Craig Finn, The Guardian, May 11, 2007
  6. ^ a b c "Can't Lose: The Hold Steady's Craig Finn Goes Solo". Grantland. 2012-01-23. Retrieved 2014-05-13. 
  7. ^ "The Hold Steady Biography - ARTISTdirect Music". Artistdirect.com. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  8. ^ Kompanek, Christopher (2012-01-19). "Steady as he goes". New York Post. 
  9. ^ The Hold Steady's Craig Finn Reflects on the Legacy of Lifter Puller, Pitchfork.com (retrieved 18 June, 2014)
  10. ^ a b http://www.pulsetc.com/article.php?sid=963 Kate Siver, 'The Hold Steady: Ex-Lifter Puller Members Return from NYC Exile as the Hold Steady', The Pulse of the Twin Cities, Wednesday 10 March @ 15:12:06
  11. ^ http://exclaim.ca/articles/generalarticlesynopsfullart.aspx?csid1=139&csid2=844&fid1=43177
  12. ^ "The Living End Sets New CD Release Date". Gibson.com. 2008-06-24. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  13. ^ Orr, Dacey (April 8, 2014). "Song Premiere: Cheap Girls - "Man In Question"". Paste. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Craig Finn - Clear Heart Full Eyes". Tumblr. Retrieved 8/7/2012. 
  15. ^ Pelly, Jenn (2011-11-07). "The Hold Steady's Craig Finn Reveals Solo Album Clear Heart Full Eyes | News". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  16. ^ http://pitchfork.com/news/45124-craig-finn-talks-new-solo-album-new-hold-steady-material/
  17. ^ "reax magazine :: music + culture » Articles". Reax3.dreamhosters.com. 2008-01-19. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  18. ^ [1][dead link]
  19. ^ "Stay Positive Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  20. ^ "Boys And Girls In America Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  21. ^ "The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America - Review". Uncut.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  22. ^ By Jason, 'Keep it Steady', BigYawn.net
  23. ^ Finn, Craig (2007-05-10). "I was no longer a loser". The Guardian (London). 
  24. ^ Lester, Paul (2007-06-14). "Sgt Pepper must die!". The Guardian (London). 

External links[edit]