Back on the road, the Hold Steady’s deathtrap days are behind them.
After a four-year hiatus, Brooklyn-based alt-rock band the Hold Steady is back on the road supporting a new disc, Teeth Dreams. They’ll be at Belly Up Thursday night, July 31. The band toured relentlessly during their tenure on Vagrant records (2006–2010), so the Reader caught up with guitarist Tad Kubler to find out how he, and the rest of the band, dealt with life off the road.
- Thursday, July 31, 2014, 8 p.m.
Belly Up Tavern,
143 S. Cedros Avenue,
$22 - $39
“I think it was really necessary,” Kubler said. “We were working at a pace that I think we weren’t going to be able to maintain, and I think the break helped in a lot of ways, if only to have everybody be excited about coming back to work.” As far as what everybody did during the break, he added, “I was doing a lot of music for film and TV. Craig [Finn, the singer] did a solo record. Bobby [Drake, the drummer] opened a bar. Steve [Selvidge, the guitarist] and I both have kids, so being at home was a real blessing.”
In 2006, the Hold Steady played the Brick By Brick in the early stages of their tour for Boys and Girls in America. After a raucous set, they left the venue in some jerry-rigged touring vessel. What was that thing?
“We had a box-truck that we converted into a bigger van, or a not-so-traditional bus of some kind,” Kubler explained. “That thing was a fucking death-trap. It’s amazing that nobody ever got hurt in that thing. It had two bucket seats up front, and then it had a backseat as part of that compartment. It had a side door that was part of the box. So you walked in that side door and you could either sit in the bench seat or there was another sliding door — it was almost like a cooler door — that went into the back. And then in the back we had a loft to sleep on that slept three people comfortably, or we had a loveseat and a reclining chair. It was nice because you could stand up and we had a TV and a DVD player back there and an Xbox or something like that.”
Kubler added, “We still talk about the story when we were on tour with the Constantines. In San Diego, after the show, I think we had anywhere from 18 to 21 people in that thing on the way back to the hotel.”