:: December 2007 ::
By Brian F Johnson
Is it just me, or is one of the most thrilling things in life discovering a new band on your own terms – finding that act that no matter how hard you try you just can’t get them out of your CD player, or off of your iPod?
Now, I’m pretty damn lucky, as I’ve had this happen many, many times in my life, but there’s still that amazing feeling each time, and as the Thanksgiving leftovers turn into science projects in the back of my refrigerator it is this for which I am thankful.
It happened again this month with The Hold Steady. I had known about them for a little while and had their first album for more than a year, but I had never really listened to it as anything other than background music.
As we began putting the November issue to press (which featured the band on the cover) I grabbed hold of their other albums, and now they’re on constant repeat and when I’m not actively listening to them, I’m thinking of their songs in my head. I can’t get the lyric, “If she says we partied, then I’m pretty sure we partied/I really don’t remember/I remember we departed from our bodies,” out of my head. Having their songs so stuck in my head is like having a big grease stain on your favorite shirt, but you don’t’ really care cause the burger was so damn good.
Seeing them live in November was something else. I was totally floored and so excited to be seeing a band that just brings it so hard. I_was talking to a guy outside of the theater about the band and he and I were sharing our thoughts and I said that when I first really listened to their album, I knew the band … I didn’t know anything about them, I didn’t know their songs, but something in me clicked and I got them.
This guy knew all too well what I was talking about. With his thick Scottish accent he began telling me about his discovery of The Hold Steady and how he and his mate “just fucking loved them.” I asked him how long he had lived in the States and to my surprise, he didn’t.
“No, we saw that they were playing the Fox and figured, ah fuck it, let’s go,” he said.
This guy was so enthralled by the band that he and his friend traveled all the way from Glasgow to Boulder, just to see the Hold Steady play one night at the Fox Theatre._They didn’t make a tour out of it, they didn’t even catch the next night in Denver.
“That’s a pretty expensive ‘ah fuck it,'” I told him, still almost waiting for some kind of hint that the whole thing was a joke, but one never came.
“When you love a band, that’s the best thing in the world,” he said. Well put!