A couple of weeks ago, I had the good fortune to interview Craig Finn, longtime frontman of The Hold Steady, about his new album and upcoming solo show. The interview was published the other day on PhillyVoice; you can read that here.
Naturally, I had some questions for Finn about our shared Minnesota heritage, and about the Twins, that wouldn’t fit in a Philadelphia publication; so I’ve added that below:
SS: On the Minnesota thing, I was happy to hear references to Edina and snowbanks and things like that- “the North Stars went South,” that was a good lyric to hear. What do you think about the legacy of Minnesota music? I know Prince passed on last year and there was a lot of talk about that. How do you feel about that, and your place in it?
CF: It’s always a tricky thing, just because I’ve been in New York since 2000 and The Hold Steady started in New York and I kind of got a lot of my notoriety but I continued to sing about Minneapolis, so it confuses some people on some level.
Minneapolis is my hometown, and even though I’ve been in New York 16 years now I still feel not so much like a New Yorker but like someone who grew up in Minneapolis who’s living here. I mean, the music scene in Minneapolis is really strong, and continues to be, especially for a city of its size. Growing up, I was fortunate to catch a time where I saw sort of the trinity of rock bands, The Replacements, Husker Du and Soul Asylum, all at smaller places. So, that was very influential on me. So it seems like now it continues to be a home for great music, and obviously the hip-hop scene in Minneapolis has become a huge thing there and it continues to evolve. I don’t feel as in touch with it as I used to but I continue to be impressed when I do plug in.
SS: I always tell people that all that stuff was going on with The Replacements and Husker Du a few miles from my house when I was growing up but I was like five years old so I didn’t know anything about it. I don’t think I discovered The Replacements’ music until I was in my 20s and living in New York.
CF: I hit right at the right time.
SS: I like to tell people that when I lived in New York in the early 2000s a friend from Minneapolis visited me, we were walking around the Lower East Side and he said “I recognize all these street signs from Lou Reed lyrics.” Then I heard you guys’ music and I heard all the stuff about 494 and Lyndale and all that stuff.
CF: I think a lot of people have told me when they visited Minneapolis for the first time they were like “wow, I already know all these names.”
SS: So what about the Twins? And optimism about this year?
CF: I think they’ll lose less than 103 games. That would be going in the right direction. So that’s about as much optimism… I mean, they haven’t really made any moves, and they don’t seem to be able to deal Dozier. So, I don’t know that we can expect a great turnaround. I think… 90? We just aren’t that good, and I don’t know why we think we’ll be better this year.
SS: Well, they seem to have put smart people in charge, so that’s a step in the right direction.
CF: Smart people have to make some moves, though!
SS: So what do you do to follow the Twins from the road, or even from New York?
CF: The MLB, the app. I’m a pretty big fan of just turning on the audio, the radio. I used, in better years, I got the package, if I was going to be home a lot in the summer, but I don’t know, there’s just no need to plug in to watch them lose this much. I’d rather just listen to the radio if they’re gonna lose all the time.
SS: Do you have any blogs or podcasts you use to follow them?
CF: I read Aaron Gleeman, and I do the Star Trib, those are the big ones. They used to have a good one, I can’t remember her name, she was a woman… I think it was Batgirl.
SS:: Yea, it was Anne Ursu, Batgirl.
CF: Yea, she was great.
SS:: She did the thing with the Legos.
CF: Yea, I remember she was showing Pat Neshek’s delivery with a lego setup.
SS: Yea, I think Pat Neshek signed with the Phillies.
CF: I think he follows me on Twitter.
Note: As you can see in the thankfully restored archives of TechnologyTell, I wrote back in July 2012 about my thoughts on Minnesota music; apologies for using a couple of the same anecdotes both times.