The Hold Steady discuss new book, Minnesota roots before State Fair show

Legendary rock and roll band The Hold Steady stopped by the Electric Fetus in Minneapolis on Friday to hold a Q&A session and signing of their new book – "The Gospel of The Hold Steady: How A Resurrection Really Feels" – for fans before a grandstand appearance at the Minnesota State Fair.

Celebrating their 20th anniversary, the band spoke to dozens in attendance who pre-ordered a copy, telling stories and expanding on details from their history together. Afterward, they stayed to sign copies and take photos with their fans.

"We did a lot of things this year to commemorate the big anniversary, one of which was creating this book that we envisioned as kind of a coffee table book," Hold Steady lead singer Craig Finn told FOX 9. "It’s an oral history, and tells the story of the band’s formation to right now. It has a ton of great photos, and I think it came out really well – in particular because everyone was really honest."

According to Finn, the book is filled with recollections of their formation, and struggles, throughout their career together.

"It’s not a puff piece. It really goes into some of the struggles, and dark times of the band, as well as, some of the triumphs," Finn explained. "We thought that it was time that a lot of the fans would like something like that. There was enough material to fill a book, which wouldn’t have been the case three years in."

Within its pages, Guitarist Tad Kubler offers exclusive photos from his personal archive, as well as, fan submissions throughout their career. An additional book containing only photography is also available. 

The Hold Steady sign copies of their book, The Gospel of The Hold Steady: How A Resurrection Really Feels, for fans at the Electric Fetus in Minneapolis.

"One of the great things about the Hold Steady throughout the years has been the community. It was sort of a way for both band members and fans to reflect on what’s happened," Finn said. "Sometimes looking back is important, and 20 years seemed like the right time. We’re still a band after all this time, and that’s saying a lot."

Officially formed in 2003, the band began when Finn and Kubler disbanded their previous Minneapolis-based band, Lifter Puller, but found themselves playing again together in New York. 

Since then, The Hold Steady has released nine studio albums – the latest being 2023’s "The Price of Progress."

But it’s Finn and Kubler’s connection to Minnesota, often thinly veiled in lyrics of songs about the state and the City of Minneapolis, that has Minnesota music fans still claiming the band as one of their own (despite having technically begun on the East Coast).

"We had Lifter Puller here, so there’s always been a connection to the Twin Cities. It’s kind of nice to have two homes to come back to… It feels like we get to have two birthdays, and two hometown shows every year, and I think that’s pretty cool. The Twin Cities has always had a great, massive music scene," Finn said. "But I’ve lived in New York for 23 years now, and when I come back I have less and less places to go. I don’t have a long list anymore, but we still love going to Grumpy’s Northeast and Target Field because I remain obsessed with the Twins."

Further removed now from their one-time home, Finn said the Minnesota State Fair grandstand show will feel like another homecoming for the band in front of a familiar crowd.

"We’re playing with two of our favorite bands Bob Mould and Dillinger Four. Bob Mould has been a hero of mine since I literally started playing guitar," Finn explained. "I’m particularly thrilled about this [show]. When we started to talk about the 20th anniversary year we talked about what are we going to do in Minneapolis. The idea came about the Minnesota State Fair, and we thought it was the biggest thing we could do really. I saw my first-ever live music at the Minnesota State Fair, it was 70’s teen idol Leif Garrett, and have not seen a show there since I saw Duran Duran [last night]. I’m thrilled. It feels like it’s come full circle, and I know I will have plenty of friends and family in the audience."

Going forward the band will continue its recent trend of "Massive Nights" weekend-long concerts, and although concrete plans for 2024 are yet to be decided, Finn assures fans the band won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

"I don’t think we’ll overthink it too much – mainly play some shows and write some music," Finn said. "We’ve already got one Minnesota show on the books, and once we clear that off, we’ll start to think about the next one."