To make money as a musician these days, you have to be willing to go on the road — a lot.
Craig Finn, the frontman of The Hold Steady, still enjoys it — but some of his bandmates don’t. On the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka, Finn talked about his new solo album, “We All Want the Same Things,” and how professional rock and roll musicians make a stable living in 2017.
“The one thing about touring that struck me, this was several years after the file-sharing started,” Finn said. “I was at a club in Indianapolis and I looked at their calendar. And the week we were playing had four great bands playing. I thought, ‘Rock and roll fans in Indianapolis can’t be going out all five nights a week.’ Everyone toured more.”
“I feel like when I see ads for a place like B.B. King’s, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, that band is still touring?’” he added. “That’s kind of scary. I noticed the poster for Air Supply and was like, ‘Wow, what does that look like?’”
Finn’s best-known band The Hold Steady isn’t broken up, but it has completely rethought how often it performs in public. That’s because of the simple fact that everyone — band members and audience members — has gotten older, Finn said.
“Our biggest record was ‘Boys and Girls in America,’ which was 2006,” he said. “If you were 23 or 24 when you got into that record, you’re now 34, you might be in a different place. You go on a big six-week tour, you gotta play somewhere on Monday night, so you’re in Kansas City Monday night. And your fans who are now 34 are like, ‘Oh, God, I’ve got to be at work Tuesday morning, and I’ve got two kids now.’”
The solution, then, is to plan fewer, smaller tours in big cities, and only on weekend nights. After 18 months off the road, The Hold Steady got together for a few shows in New York last year, Finn noted.
“I think that will be, for the near future, the model: Find cities to play multiple shows in, rather than go on an exhaustive tour,” he said.
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.