The past year has been challenging for Brooklyn’s the Hold Steady. The band went through two keyboardists, added a new guitar player and released a new album, “Heaven Is Whenever,” all while touring nonstop.
Friday’s show at Terminal 5 marks the end of the road for the hard-rocking bar band, after which the guys will take the summer off before starting work on their sixth album.
amNewYork spoke with singer Craig Finn.
Have you been writing new songs on the road?
I get a lot of inspiration on the road, but it’s hard to focus it into cohesive thoughts. I’ve filled up a notebook with ideas. Next, I need to take the ideas and make them into songs.
Is there a theme developing?
[Author] Joan Didion said, “We write to find out what we’re thinking.” There’s real truth to that. I write all the lyrics, but until I get with the guys and turn on the amps, I’m never sure what it’ll be about.
On your new album, you write from the perspective of an elder statesman. Is that how you feel?
I’m 39. I can’t help but notice that’s fairly old to be in a rock ’n’ roll band. I was also trying to inhabit the long history of simple, homespun advice in rock ’n’ roll. I’m thinking of Jerry Garcia or Steve Miller in “The Joker.”
What are your favorite places to spend time in New York?
It’s been well-chronicled that my favorite bar is Hi-Fi on Avenue A. I also tend to go to the Pencil Factory in Greenpoint. But I give up drinking every year for Lent.
Does that mean you won’t be drinking at Terminal 5?
I don’t really drink onstage anymore. When we started, it was like: “They’re going to take this all away from us — we have to drink every beer in the fridge!” Now that we know we’re not only going to be playing tomorrow, but also touring six months from now, it’s more important to do the best show possible and do the partying on our own time.
If you go: The Hold Steady is at Terminal 5 on Friday at 9 p.m. 610 W. 56th St., 212-582-6600, $30.