The Hold Steady's Craig Finn on Depression and Obama

August 5, 2008 4:12 PM ET

In Austin Scaggs' interview with the Hold Steady's Craig Finn (RS 1058), the frontman spoke briefly about how the quintet's fourth album is fittingly optimistic. "It's a rage against the dying of the light," Finn says of Stay Positive. "The record ended up being about holding on to youthful ideals in the face of aging." Here's more from Finn about how rest, writing and Obama helped the transition:

The evolution towards optimism began with the recording of the band's third LP, Boys and Girls in America: "I was thinking a lot about depression, and the relationship between depression and creativity. Certainly there's been any number of artists that have done both," he says. "Stuck Between Stations" came from Finn's awareness of getting out of a darker place and starting to take better care of himself. "There was this transition period, where I wondered, 'Wait a minute! This is going to be awful if I get in shape and lose my creativity.'

"At 36, I have to admit there's a lot of time and energy spent on just staying healthy," Finn admits. "If you're not working at it, it's kinda working against you." His checklist of things to monitor includes the standards: drinking ("try to limit it"), exercise ("I'm just trying to stay fit, physically and mentally") and the right amount of rest (sleeping on the tour bus is "like going into this sensory deprivation chamber").

Finn also says the upcoming election — and, in particular, Barack Obama — are giving him new reasons to be swept away. "One of the things I've done with this election is try to be really informed," he says. "In my lifetime, I've never heard a modern speech that makes me feel as inspired as when Obama speaks. This is the most unique presidential election we've seen."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

More Song Stories entries »