Keeping Your Feet Dry!

Tad Kuebler, guitarist from The Hold Steady tells Ross Halewood about the band.

You recently wowed the sodden Glastonbury crowd. How did you find the experience?

“It was awesome but I did not know what to expect. I was wearing tennis shoes and couldn’t get out of the van because the mud was so deep! So a friend of ours, who was already at the site, bought five pairs of Wellington boots for the band. Looking at the site, I thought the crowd would be miserable, but everyone was in it together, having a blast.”

Like so many venues on this tour, tonight’s show is sold out. Are you handling the attention well?

“Well, my life hasn’t really changed much. It’s great to come over and play to sold out venues that are of a decent size. Of course, I get tired and miss my daughter, but there are so many bands that don’t get the opportunities we do, so we’re counting our blessings.”

With regards to influences, you appear to draw heavily on the classic rock era.

“When our first record came out, what we were doing was not exactly happening in the music scene, particularly in New York. There was all that eighties dance-punk revivalism going on and we felt that, by playing traditional rock n’ roll, our approach was unique. We just wanted to go back to the records that got us excited about music and tap into that feeling.”

The main comparison that is continually brought up is that of Bruce Springsteen.

“We have a traditional rock n’ roll sound and, if you take that whilst throwing a strong piano element into the mix, then there’s bound to be comparisons to the E-Street Band. However, for every hour I have spent listening to Springsteen, I have spent five listening to Led Zeppelin.
“But it’s good company to be in. We recently played a Springsteen tribute show at Carnegie Hall with Jesse Malin, Ronnie Spector and so on. At the end, Bruce got up on stage and played ‘Rosalita’ with Craig (Finn, vocalist) singing the first verse and chorus. I almost started to cry.
“We also watched him soundcheck and he said to me, “Hold Steady, ‘First Night’, I love that song!”

You’re headlining the Carling Stage on the first night of this year’s Leeds Festival, which you will, no doubt, be looking forward to.

“It’s gonna be cool. Is Leeds Festival a big deal? (Brief explanation of the event follows) Will it be muddy? Whatever, I’ll bring my wellies anyway!”