As you may or may not know, this is not the version of this interview that ran in the initial publication. Two minor fragments were removed at the request of the interviewee. My initial reaction was hey, fuck you buddy, don’t say to a member of the press what you don’t want saying.’ However, after consulting with my closest friends and spending a good amount of time weighing both sides of the issues, I agreed to make the cuts. I was given the power to either approve the changes or pull the article entirely. They are throw-away lines, and his reasons are ones I would consider noble; in same situation, I’d probably want the same thing. Besides, I couldn’t bear to turn my back on this article, as I think it’s one of the best I’ve done, even with the retroactive omissions. Don’t take this as a sign that Racket in anyway tolerates music industry bullshit or that we’re going to start going easy on interview subjects; we’re still going to be a giant middle finger to an industry that has perverted and done its best to ruin the art form we all hold most dear. Sometimes you just have to make hard decisions, and it is my honest belief I made the right one in this instance.
Yours in Christ,
PS – whatever your opinion of this matter, don’t let it deter you from listening to Boys and Girls in America, which was my favorite record of 2006
Racket Matt: Have you ever gotten freaky to music obviously not intended for such purposes? I’m thinking like Slayer or avant-garde jazz.
Hold Steady Tad: *laughs* I think avant-garde jazz is some of the most ideal music to have sex to. I’m super into the new Mastodon record…to make a short story long, it takes you half the time you were on tour to return to normal life, before I can readjust to family life. I’ll come home at like one in the morning, kinda drunk, and I’ll put on the new Mastodon record, which I’m totally fucking obsessed with right now. I’ve got really nice open-backed headphones, so they sound really great to me, but they also sound really great to everyone else, too. So I’ll wake my fucking girlfriend up and she’ll be like, “what the fuck are you listening to?” As far as hittin’ it to music, that’s kinda college. *laughs* There was definitely a period in my life where I was like, “I bet that song got me laid!” Back when I was in school, Mazzy Star was always a really good one, like “oh dude, I’m sensitive!”
RM: How long is too long for an extended dance mix?
HST: *laughs* Dude, I can think of a lot of things wrong with that statement. Next question!
RM: What kind of doctor do you think Dr. Dre is?
HST: *pause* A podiatrist.
RM: What’s more important for music videos, explosions or tits and ass?
HST: Helicopters and yachts, actually.
RM: This is my opinion, but I’m going to ask it in the form of a question. Why was “Chips Ahoy!” the best music video since “November Rain?”
HST: ‘Cause it cost three times as much as “November Rain.”
HST: It probably cost less than 5% than what [Guns ‘n’ Roses] spent on that video. Probably less than three. But, uh, I dunno, I didn’t write the treatment, [director] Moh Azima did. He did the video for “The Swish” off our first record, and he knows us well enough to understand our sense of humor and how serious we all are about music.
RM: Everyone but [singer] Craig [Finn] gets laid in the video. Are we supposed to read into this?
HST: I actually don’t get laid either.
RM: Really? It seems like everyone else went into the hotel room with the girl.
HST: I was actually part of the fantasy sequence as the Catholic bishop, but you never actually see me enter the hotel room.
RM: I thought it was kind of implied, seeing as how the Catholic Church hires a lot of perverts.
HST: Galen and Bobby play a pool boy and a pizza delivery guy respectively, and if cinematic history has taught us anything, those are the two most “getting laid” occupations in movies. I’d prefer not to touch on the Catholic Church. *laughs*
RM: Have you ever killed a man just to watch him die?
HST: No, but I’ve certainly considered it.
RM: Just to watch him die, or for other reasons?
HST: No, but I actually feel bad about this; I used to burn ants with a magnifying glass.
RM: It’s cool, animals don’t have souls. That’s why cheeseburgers are delicious.
HST: Believe what you want to, but in my version of heaven, I get all my pets back. *laughs*
RM: Do you think your name would work as a porn name, or would you change it?
HST: Well, I’d certainly change it, ‘cause I wouldn’t want my parents to Google me.
RM: Well, they have that formula where it’s “the name of your first pet + the street you grew up on.”
HST: It would have been Snuggles Parker.
RM: *laughs* Mine would have been Yankee Redbridge.
Racket Cristina: Oh god, Amigo Milligan. It’s retarded! My mom named our dog.
HST: That’s tight! *laughs*
RM: If someone were to start a Hold Steady tribute band, like “WE ARE CYANIDE, A TRIBUTE TO POISON!”, what would you want their name to be?
RM: Tough question?
HST: No, just given Craig’s lyrics, my options are fucking unlimited. I have seen on the message boards that the people that follow our band really closely refer to themselves as Steadheads. *laughs* Which totally sucks.
RM: Going on Craig’s lyrics…I’ve listened to all your records, and they strike me as kind of conservative, ‘cause a lot of people are, like, taking a lot of drugs and having free sex, and finding themselves completely unfulfilled and unhappy. Are you an agent of the Right?
HST: Craig and I being as good friends as we are, playing in bands together for over a decade at this point…what I get out of his lyrics are good people in bad situations trying to get to somewhere better. There’s a lot of hope in what he talks about. I don’t see them as dark as some people do…It’s dark in the way that a Woody Allen movie is dark.
RM: Are you ready for a light question?
RM: Alright. You’re an American Idol judge, and the final two contestants are Sam Cooke and Morrissey. Who do you pick?
HST: Ah, fuck. I recently just met Johnny Marr, too.
RM: Jesus lives! Actually, I think he’s just in Modest Mouse, now.
HST: We have the same booking agent, so I went to see them in New York. Isaac Brock is a way better guitar player than he comes across on record.
RM: So’s Stephen Malkmus.
HST: Stephen Malkmus went from being kinda sloppy in Pavement to his band, the Jicks being…I agree a hundred percent…this guy’s a fucking phenomenal guitar player! [ed. note – Like me, talking about Pavement after a few beers is fucking impossible.] Anyway, shit. You’re talking apples and oranges.
RM: But they’re both melodramatic crooners!
HST: Yeah, but they both have a very different place and a very different role. To make that call, um, I’d flip a coin.
RM: What’s the weirdest place you ever got a handjob?
HST: *gives me a weird look, like I just came in last place at the Special Olympics*
RM: I got one once at a family reunion…not my own! It was my girlfriend’s. I feel the need to point this out.
HST: Stuff for me always starts out as handjobs and always ends up as sex! Umm…
RM: Is this a hard one for ya?
HST: Pun intended?
RM: Whatever you want, dude. Are you a claustro-erotic person?
HST: No, I just like a lock on the fuckin’ door! *laughs*
RM: …are you afraid your parents are gonna walk in?
HST: My parents are the least of my worries. They’ve certainly seen it before.
RM: *laughs* MOM!
HST: *laughs* I’ve actually never been busted jacking off.
RM: Neither have I! And I do it all the time, so I figure the odds aren’t in my favor.
HST: I’ve become very cavalier about it, too. *laughs* Like, when you’re on tour in a band, it becomes a necessity.
RM: I always figured you were number two! Like, on the chain, I figured you were the one to go to after Craig was booked up for the evening. You’re like the Keith Richards of the band.
HST: Craig’s got no game.
HST: Craig’s got no game. And he’s married.
RM: What? So? That’s never stopped me, and I’ve been married! If the South had won the Civil War, how would the world be different?
HST: *weird look*
RM: I’m from Georgia, so I think about this a lot.
HST: I think it was a physical impossibility. I don’t think people would have stood for slavery any longer.
RM: You’ve seen the Borat movie, right?
RM: Who do you brake for? I mean, some people brake for nuns or baby ducks. I brake for girls with D-cups.
HST: You’ve never seen me drive. I don’t really brake for anybody.
RM: It’s gonna be fun for me gettin’ home tonight, I tell you what. [ed. note – it’s pretty obvious at this point that I’m more Jaegermeister than man]
HST: Be careful, please.
HST: You know what? Skip this one, ‘cause I don’t have any snappy, smart answer, but I don’t have anything for this. These are really weird questions, man.
RM: I’m tellin’ ya, we know you had fun with the producer and your label is awesome, blah blah blah, but no one gives a shit! That’s why Racket exists. The record’s awesome; we don’t need to reiterate that. Boys and Girls is America is probably gonna be my #1 album of the year, so there’s no point in sucking up.
HST: You know what? I brake for rich hot girls with better drugs than I have.
RM: *laughs* You and I are finally on the same page.
RM: How would you feel if you wrote a song that always got played at teenage funerals? Like, it must have been weird for Blink 182 when they wrote “Adam’s Song,” knowing that every high school student who died in a car crash would have it played at their memorial service. How would you feel having a song that was so closely associated with dead teen drunk drivers?
HST: Not that sweet. On a more serious note, when Craig and I were in Lifter Puller, we did have a fan that was in high school that had cancer and passed away, and went to his memorial service and they played one of our songs.
RM: Was it weird hearing one of your songs at a funeral?
HST: It was obviously extremely intense…the fact that he liked our band that much meant a lot. It made us think that maybe what we’re doing is important to some people. Sorry, the interview didn’t get heavy until now! *laughs*
RM: Alright, I got two more questions, then you can go back to getting drunk before your set. If you were forced at gunpoint to write slash fiction, who would you have star in it?
HST: …slash fiction?
RM: You know what it is?
HST: No, what is it?
RM: It’s this Internet phenomenon. It’s like fan fiction, but gay erotica fan fiction. Like, Lord of the Rings is really popular, so’s Dragonball Z. Basically, anything losers like.
HST: I still don’t understand it.
RM: It’s not like slasher fiction. Like, one might involve The Super Mario Brothers making the Human Torch airtight, or Kevin Sorbo making a man of Dick Cheney. It’s all your imagination, homeslice.
*my explanation gets way more elaborate than it needs to be, which each hypothetical met with a disbelieving stare*
HST: I don’t even know how to answer this question, honestly.
RM: You have to! I’m the press! It’s gonna go down on the record that you don’t know how to answer!
HST: *pause* Q*bert, the video game guy, and, uhhhhhhh, Vince Vaughn in Swingers.
RM: *laughs* I’ve asked this of a lot of people, and this is honestly the best response yet.
RM: Last question. What’s your favorite Replacements song? [ed. note – if you’re notdown with the Replacements, you’re not down with one of the best rock bands EVER]
RM: Really? I mean, that’s a killer song, but not a lot of people pick that.
HST: The Replacements are more of a Craig thing, though. I was raised on like Steve Miller Band and Cheap Trick.
RM: “Dream Police” is the best rock song ever made.
HST: Yeah, it’s great. Are we done?
– Matt Corbett