Sunday, May 23, 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Craig Ferguson Sympathizes with Your Rock and Roll Problems

On Thursday night (5/20), The Hold Steady continued barnstorming across late night television, bringing the very funny and very self-aware "Rock Problems" to The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.



  • This is the third song in three performances- The Late Show with David Letterman had "The Weekenders" and The Colbert Report featured both an interview with Craig Finn and Tad Kubler as well as "Hurricane J," the album's lead single. (All three can be found on Heaven is Whenever, the band's latest release on Vagrant.) I'd venture to say this is the best sounding of the performances- Ferguson's people seem to have the sound worked out perfectly and, while the band sounded typically rock-solid, Finn's delivery seemed stronger this time out than the others (which were solid performances in their own right.)

  • Of the three songs performed, this one is the most self-referential. "The Weekenders" is a sequel to "Chips Ahoy!" (from the band's 2006 album Boys and Girls in America), but lyrical snippets in this one call back as far as the band's debut album, ...Almost Killed Me, with a frequency that hasn't been reached in a couple of albums. The first two releases (...Almost Killed Me and Separation Sunday) created a densely-crafted world of addled kids wandering "lost in love and hope and faithless fear" from party to wrecked party through the suburbs of Minneapolis; the last couple of albums have seen the band's scope broaden. Calling back to "Most People Are DJs" (among others) on this song is a bonus to listeners who have explored the back catalog- or those who are just beginning.

  • The Jim Carroll reference in this one is great. Catholic Boy, the album mentioned during this track, is considered a punk masterpiece and contains Carroll's best-known track, the eulogy/rave-up "People Who Died"; however, in a 2006 interview with, Finn talked about the track "I Want the Angel" as one of his favorites:

  • 1) Jim Carroll Band, "I Want the Angel"
    That's my favorite song by him. Metaphorically, he's talking about this angel, this perfect high. All that Jim Carroll stuff is pretty influential on my vocal style. This is one of his most literary songs, it's a very sly song and it flows well together. I knew right away what it was about and read all his stuff and knew where he was coming from. I saw him perform in a reading at Boston College when I went there. He was losing the room and he could tell he was, so he asked people what they wanted to hear and this girl yelled out "I Want the Angel" and he did it a cappella with a maraca. He slithered around this classroom and it was really creepy. It was this lecture at night and the kids were looking bored and when he started doing the song I sat up in my chair.

  • If you're not already aware of the fake Craig Finn Twitter account, The Village Voice has a funny snippet about it here. Let me know if someone starts a fake Matt Berninger account.

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