Craig Finn has one of those voices and lyrical styles that is immediately recognizable. Finn, is the former front man for Minneapolis underground rock legends, Lifter Puller.
Lifter Puller are one of those incredible bands that when you hear them, you immediately are at a loss to explain their relative obscurity outside of their small circle of fans. Finn’s encyclopedic knowledge of rock and pop culture, as well as an obsession with the seamy underside of life, makes for some intensely literate songwriting. On reflection, this is probably the issue with the band’s lack of popularity. What sells is shit (and stupid, to boot), just check out the Billboard charts and the wannabes currently in vogue, such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and the latest flavor-of-the-month.
Finn is now fronting a new band, The Hold Steady that’s actually popping up on some critic’s radar screens. In NYC, the band has created some buzz. Earlier this year, they landed on the cover of The Village Voice and NPR just ran a feature on Finn and Co. Additionally, the band’s newest record, Seperation Sunday is getting favorable reviews across the music spectrum. While the NPR piece was somewhat lame, it was better than their average pop culture pap.
What kind of pissed me off about the NPR piece, however, was how little reporter Jacob Ganz seemed to know about Finn’s past with Lifter Puller. Like so many journalists getting primo gigs today, they often get by with shoddy preparation and rarely, if ever, seem prepared for their subject. As a result, the overall scope of most reporting seems watered-down and often irrelevant.
Despite my quibbles with the NPR spot on Finn and the boys, I’m pleased that it brought him back to my attention. I’ve often wondered what became of the immensely talented musician and songwriter and maybe, just maybe, he might finally be receiving his due, albeit belatedly.
Here’s an older interview with Finn from Indie Workshop.