clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Our fans are getting older, so we’re changing how we tour, says The Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn

Finn says on Recode Media that the band may spend a year or more “off” before doing three-night engagements in major American cities.

Chrysler Presents The Hold Steady Powered By Pandora Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Pandora Media

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?’”

You can listen to the new podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

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.

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn, Stitcher and SoundCloud.
  • Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge's Lauren Goode, answers all of the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn, Stitcher and SoundCloud.
  • And finally, Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, such as the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Peter. Tune in next Thursday for another episode of Recode Media!

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.