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Craig Finn

Craig Finn, 2006
Background information
Born August 22, 1971 (1971-08-22) (age 38)
Genres Post-punk, alternative rock, indie rock
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1993–present
Labels French Kiss, Vagrant
Associated acts Lifter Puller The Brokerdealer and The Hold Steady

Craig Finn (born August 22, 1971) is an American singer and guitarist. He is best known as the front man for bands Lifter Puller and The Hold Steady. He currently lives in New York City. His lyrics are often noted for having a strong literary bent, stringing together recurring characters and storylines throughout.


Personal life

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Finn grew up in Edina, Minnesota.[1] He was raised Catholic.[2][3] Finn attended Valley View Middle School[4] and subsequently graduated from Breck School, and in 1993 from Boston College. In 2000, Finn moved to New York City, where he currently resides.[5]

Musical career


With Lifter Puller

With The Hold Steady

He moved to New York City in the fall of 2000, after Lifter Puller broke up, for a change and because he and his wife knew people there.[6] He has said that lyrically, with The Hold Steady, he's been trying to produce a more positive, coherent, story-based message, in a natural way that he could imagine someone saying.[6]

Work with other artists

He worked with Minneapolis rapper P.O.S. on the song "Safety In Speed (Heavy Metal)" which was released on the 2006 album Audition.

In between Lifter Puller and The Hold Steady, he did a project with Mr. Projectile known as The Brokerdealer, a techno styled group. They released two unnamed EPs on This website has shut down, but the songs are still floating around the Internet.

Lyrical style

Finn is most notable for his narrative, storytelling lyrics that make reference to literature (ex: Sal Paradise and John Berryman on "Stuck between Stations," William Butler Yeats and Nelson Algren on "Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night") and pop culture (ex: Rocco Siffredi on "Most People are DJs," Joe Strummer on "Constructive Summer"). Frequent references to youth culture, partying, religion and drugs are also made in Finn's lyrics.

Both with Lifter Puller and The Hold Steady Finn has woven various characters (ex: Charlemagne, Holly, Gideon) and locations (ex: Ybor City, Mississippi River, Twin Cities) through his songs. Finn has stated that "irony is certainly not something I want to be accused of," instead hoping to bring "honesty and sincerity" through his songwriting.[7] Although his stories involve violence and heavy drug use, Finn states his songwriting is not very personal or "confessional".[8]

Finn's lyrics have been a frequent point of praise for The Hold Steady[9][10] with Uncut Magazine describing his style as "narratives driven less by the wordy exposition of yore than acute observation, devastating detail, by turns exclamatory, epigrammatic and grainily authentic."[11]


Finn has indicated that some of his greatest lyrical influences include Blake Schwarzenbach from Jets to Brazil and Jawbreaker as well as Bruce Springsteen.[12] In a Guardian article, he described the The Replacements' Let It Be as his "favorite ever record."[13] He found the The Doors' L.A. Woman to be influential in a different manner. As he told the same newspaper: "The music meanders, and Morrison was more like a drunk asshole than an intelligent poet. The worst of the worst is the last song, Riders on the Storm: 'There's a killer on the road/ His brain is squirming like a toad' - that's surely the worst line in rock'n'roll history. He gave the green light to generations of pseuds."[14]


External links


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