FotoFlexer_Finn Craig Paul SCall me Ishmael. I finally landed my white whale. Having already “interviewed” a couple of Hold Steadilys, Tad Kubler and Franz Nicolay, I finally had a chance to meet “Singer” slash songwriter, Craig Finn, dressed as Paul Stanley no less. Finn is on tour in support of his great second solo release “Faith in the Future” on Partisan Records. Why was I dressed as a torero? Well, I had recently returned from Barcelona to help separate the Cataloonies from the Spainies. But that’s another story.

Speaking of stories, Craig Finn, who has chronicled the underbelly of Minneapolis druggies and petty criminals in his bands Lifter Puller and The Hold Steady, trained his eye on 9/11 New York and his new digs in Brooklyn. The stories on the new record are a little more Cheever and less Bukowski, and, of course, allow Finn to continue to explore his own struggles with his Catholic faith. A story on the record, “Newmyer’s Roof” relives watching 9/11 happen while drinking with a friend. Thing is, my friend, Christian (who may be a Muslim) knows Newmyer. Christian (possible Muslim) got to party with The Hold Steady at a crappy bar in the Southside recently when they were touring because of the Newmyer connection. I couldn’t join them because I was too drunk. Imagine being too drunk for The Hold Steady. Literally, my pants kept falling down. I willingly gave up my keys…to my house. I was that drunk.

Now – on to the award winning interview.

Me: Wow, the makeup job is so good I want to call you Paul.
Craig: Really?
Me: No. Hey, Bert Blyleven is my all-time favorite Twin.
Craig: I met him once. He’s great.
Me: I know. I lobbied to get him in the Hall of Fame. Anyway, who is your favorite Pirates player?
Craig: McCutcheon. I like him. He’s seems cool. You guys have a good team.
Me: Well, looks can be deceiving. Next question, and it’s one I ask a lot: Stones or Blur?
Craig: Stones.
Me: Damnit! Everyone says Stones.
Craig: Well, I’d pick Blur over Oasis. Yeah. Definitely.
Me: Not the question. That’s like saying I’d pick China Crisis over Icicle Works.
Craig: Can I leave?
Me: Final question: John Berryman or Yeats.
Craig: Berryman. Absolutely.

FotoFlexer_Finn Set ListIn fairness, I may have said Keats. Hell, I might have said Bleats. Who knows. I had consumed some Devil’s juice. And I was dressed as a bullfighter. Ps. Here’s a copy of the set list. That’s right – Stay Positive.

Speaking of being positive, my promise to you solitary reader is that I will finally publish my Top Twenty list of CDs for 2014 soon. Sorry, it’s been a rough year. And I’m not even talking about Shamir.

FotoFlexer_Chris DiffordAnd I’d positively be an idiot not to mention that I stalked Chris Difford, legendary lyricist of Squeeze at a sushi bar. Squeeze, as I’ve written before, get an unfair comparison to the Beatles. As if. Squeeze are more the Kinks, a great UK band that America (and their deep pockets) largely ignored. Too literate, too poetic, too British. I did get to ask Viscount Difford a few questions while Etouffe snapped our photo. To wit:

Me: Chris, big fan, and I should point out we’re both Cool for Cats.
Chris: Lovely.
Me: How is the new record moving off the shelves?
Chris: Dunno.
Me: So I ask everyone: Blur or the Stones?
Chris: Really? Stones.
Me: Okay, everyone says Stones but you have to admit that the new Blur record is fantastic.
Chris: Yes, I will admit that. Now can I eat my sushi?
Me: I’m asking the questions here, Sexy Beast.
Chris: Bye.