Pitchfork: Q & A with Tad Kubler of The Hold Steady

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We talked with Tad Kubler, lead guitarist for The Hold Steady, before the band's set at Pitchfork Music Festival on Saturday, July 19, 2008. Kubler talks about being monumentally tanked during the band's 2005 Pitchfork set, its current tour and the meaning behind the "Stay Positive," the title of the band's new record.

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A to Z: How is Pitchfork '08 going for you thus far? Tad Kubler: We just got here this morning, We were in Pontiac, Michigan last night, we got the hotel, showered and just got here. I'm looking forward to meeting up with friends, like Jerry from !!!, I only see him in Croatia or an airport in Tokyo, so it's good to see him here.

I'm bummed I missed Public Enemy last night. But we just got here and our bus call is at 4 tomorrow morning, then we go on a Minnesota radio show, then to Madison, Wisconsin, then back to Minnesota for a show.

With four albums of material, what songs will you be playing today? We have 60 songs and change to choose from but it's Gaelin's turn to make up the set list. We rotate who chooses the songs but we'll be playing a lot of new stuff mixed in with older songs today.

How do you think this year's set will differ from the Hold Steady performance three years ago?

Really, I was so insanely drunk last time I was here, I was tanked. It was monumental. For me I thought i could just party through to our show, but the heat and the humidity and booze took it out of me. We saw Love is Laughter the night before and partied all night the night before (our 2005 set).

And my mom was in the audience because she lives in Madison, Wisconsin and she saw me drunk.

Is your mom here today? No, she doesn't come out to fests as much, with the environment out here being so hot and everything.

So will you be sober for the Hold Steady set today? No, I'll have a few drinks before for sure.

Your new record, Stay Positive, has references to hardcore bands Youth of Today and 7 Seconds, do you think that will draw in fans who might otherwise not listen to The Hold Steady?

We wrote most of the new record on the road last year while in the UK, and it was just... "Stay Positive" specifically is influenced by "Strength," the ninth song on the 7Seconds' record, Walk Together, Rock Together.

- Nick Lucchesi

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