The first Toast of the Tip of 2009 is going to be, as the kids say, a doozie, featuring none other than Craig Finn, lead singer, lyricist and New Yorker-certified sex symbol of the Hold Steady, one of the most acclaimed bands of the last decade. Craig will be both talking and singing at the invitation-only event on February 20 in Duncan/Channon’s quasi-legendary private penthouse lounge.
And just in case you’re so L7 you’ve never heard of Craig or his band, here are some clues:
Rolling Stone on the Hold Steady’s recent album, Stay Positive: “Right now, no band displays the ranting soul, haunted heart or diseased liver of the American rock myth with more truth and empathy than the Hold Steady.”
The New Yorker, in a 2005 profile: “Finn, a short, bespectacled fellow, exerted himself even when nothing much was going on, smacking his head with his hand, and pointing at everything — the lights, himself, the air, the crowd. After listening to three taut, vehement songs, a woman in the audience turned to a friend and said, ‘He’s the sexiest man alive.'” (link)
The indie tastemaking website Pitchfork, where the Hold Steady rules as perennial faves, on the second album Separation Sunday: “Craig Finn isn’t a singer… He sounds more like the sketchy drunk guy yelling in your ear at a show, asking if you know where to buy drugs… He’s the poet laureate of the loading dock behind the mall where the runaway kids get together to sniff cheap coke at 5 am.”
Craig and the guys have been on Letterman and Conan and MTV, opened for the Rolling Stones, co-starred at Lollapalooza, been voted Band of the Year by Blender, while also placing at or near the top in polls at the Village Voice, Spin and Rolling Stone, been pictured in People (impressing Craig’s mom) and graciously appeared on two Serve CDs — the WhyHunger benefit series, conceived by D/C and sponsored by Hard Rock. A lifelong Twins fan, the native Minnesotan, and current Brooklynite, was even a guest commentator on ESPN last year. And along with a new Hold Steady record, he’s working on a novel.
“It’s no stretch to class Finn, as postmodern storytellers go, among the best wordsmiths of his generation,” said the Band of the Year citation in Blender.
And some envious D/C writers couldn’t agree more.