The Gospel of The Hold Steady: How a Resurrection Really Feels (Hardcover)
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An oral history (with photographs) of the greatest American bar band of the twenty-first century.
"Plenty of rock bands treat their fans like congregants. But, not many shine a light on the arrangement. Fewer still go as far as The Hold Steady, whose lead vocalist and lyricist, Craig Finn, has a disarming way of combining humility and exultation." —New York Times
On January 22, 2003, four men stepped onto a stage in Brooklyn and did something no one else was doing at that time, in that place. They played rock ’n’ roll: old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll with skyscraping riffs and sloppy solos, topped with extraordinary lyrics about an out-of-focus America, blurred by pills and powders, of crime and fear and desperation and redemption.
Twenty years later, The Hold Steady are one of America’s most beloved rock bands, famed for live shows that turn unbelievers into converts, and for a catalog filled with some of the most exciting yet poetic music of the twenty-first century. To mark those twenty years, The Hold Steady tell their full story in The Gospel of The Hold Steady: How a Resurrection Really Feels.
An oral history, based on interviews with everyone who has played in the band, and those who have worked with them over the course of their career, The Gospel of the Hold Steady addresses all the triumphs and setbacks of The Hold Steady’s career in the band’s own words—from high times to near deaths, from the brink of splitting to their current renaissance. The volume also includes over 200 photographs and images.
The Gospel of The Hold Steady is completed by essays about America’s greatest bar band by writers Rob Sheffield, Laura Barton, Isaac Fitzgerald, and Michael Hann, as well as the thoughts and memories of “The Unified Scene”—the fans who have helped define the band’s identity over the years. This is a book for everyone who loves The Hold Steady, and anyone who understands that the magic of rock ’n’ roll happens on a stage in a small room, with voices raised from the crowd.
Michael Hann is a writer and editor based in London, who contributes to the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Economist, the Spectator, the Quietus, and Uncut. He was formerly the film and music editor at the Guardian. He is the author of Denim and Leather: The Rise and Fall of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. His latest work is The Gospel of The Hold Steady: How a Resurrection Really Feels.
— Kirkus Reviews
There's a very short list of contemporary American songwriters who would also make wonderful short story writers and The Hold Steady's Craig Finn is on it. As virtuosic chroniclers of a Midwestern demimonde that gives lie to the pervasive myth of the wholesome heartland, The Hold Steady has earned its place as one of the great American rock bands of the 21st century. And now, in The Gospel of The Hold Steady, the storytellers will have their story told, through essays, firsthand oral histories, and over 200 photographs. A must-have for both Hold Steady diehards and rock and roll fans of all persuasions.
Cowritten with the band by the British rock journalist Michael Hann . . . How a Resurrection Really Feels is a compendium as much as a single narrative. Interspersed between chapters are testimonials from notable fans — authors Rob Sheffield and Isaac Fitzgerald, for example — and the book's final third is given over to a slew of fans recruited from the ranks of the Unified Scene, the band's online community.
— MPR's "The Current"
I've gladly embraced the gospel of The Hold Steady for the last seventeen years even if I've never quite invested in knowing much more than the joy their music brings me. Until now—until the publication of The Gospel of The Hold Steady. Can a non-fan enjoy it? Yes, because the pleasure The Hold Steady always brings is there on the pages in both their words and the photos—it's palpable—and you feel like you're part of something just by reading what's in front of you. I would add that it's those interstitial pieces which really brought it all home for me—particularly the piece by the author Isaac Fitzgerald titled 'Always Meet Your Heroes.'
The Gospel of The Hold Steady is a wonderful tribute to the band and the fans who've been behind them. Author Michael Hann has done a bang-up job of coordinating the elements that make this book such a cool offering . . . Like The Hold Steady band itself, the book is joint effort aimed toward the greater good. Which, in this case, is to recognize a group that deserves recognition in the landscape of American rock music.
— WRIF Radio (Detroit)
There has always been something cinematic about the Hold Steady, and that sense of rough-and-tumble beauty is lovingly captured in The Gospel of The Hold Steady: How a Resurrection Really Feels by Michael Hann and The Hold Steady . . . Some members of that fan base contribute essays to How a Resurrection Really Feels, among them Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield. But the most resonant words come from the band, who describe the creation of albums like The Hold Steady Almost Killed Me and attempt to rationalize their place in the popular music landscape.
— Film Stage
The Gospel of The Hold Steady: How a Resurrection Really Feels is a gorgeously presented oral history that details everything from the band's earliest days to its gradual development of an international fanbase that functions more as a tight knit family than as a mere audience. Written by the band and Michael Hann this beautiful hardcover tome features more than 200 photos and images to help tell the tale.
— Joel Gausten