I’m not sure who was the first doofus to publicly announce I’d likened hacky-sacsters The Hold Steady to “later-period Soul Asylum fronted by Charles Nelson Reilly”. Comforted by Magnet Magazine’s Jonthan Valania many years after the hate crime, vocalist Craig Finn claims, “I was like, ‘If I read that, I’d probably want to go see that band,’” which if nothing else, should tell you a thing or two about his standards. ” “I was also disappointed,” Finn continues, “because it wasn’t meant to be complimentary, and the dude’s label has put out some of my favorite bands.” I know, I know, Craig. We’re ALL Frogs fans. But that doesn’t mean we’re all coming from the same place, though Valania claims Finn and I look kinda alike (newsflash : even if this falsehood were true, there’s not enough room in the rock scene for more than one less-athletic Bobby Riggs).

All of that said, I challenge Valania and his dopey colleagues to produce the alleged column in which I refer to The Hold Steady or Finn by name. True, there’s a CSTB item from 2005 (!) that contains the Soul Asylum/Charles Nelson Reilly line, but no offending artist was ever identified. What could possible have provoked so many music journalists over the last decade to decide I was referring to Finn’s E Street Bland?

ANSWER : Even some of The Hold Steady’s biggest defenders think the shoe fits. This, like Finn, is their idea of a sales pitch. But BOO FUCKING HOO, it wasn’t meant as a compliment! And it keeps coming up!

Here’s where Valania really goes off the deep end, however :

Craig Finn has something that Cosloy, for all his vast reserves of hipness and uncanny knack for recognizing what’s next before everyone else (EDITOR’S NOTE – WHAT THE FUCK?), will never have: the gift of the common touch. Like the Boss, from whom he is a clear descendant, Finn has never pulled a shift on the line, he doesn’t play beer-league softball with the boys on Saturday afternoons, his hands are soft, and he votes straight Democrat. Hell, he read Infinite Jest. Twice. But, also like the Boss, he has an unshakeable belief in the transcendental power of a shit-hot bar band to set the working man free on a Friday night—if only until last call—and is more than willing, night after night, to shed the requisite blood, sweat and beers it takes to git ’er done.

His band’s pretty common, Jonathan, I’ll give you that. But if you’ve really got a boner for the transcendental power of a shit-hot bar band, might I suggest a little motion picture called “Eddie & The Cruisers II : Eddie Lives”?

To reiterate something I wrote in 2005 which may or may not be applicable to The Hold Steady ; I’m sure they’re nice people. I take no relish in anything bad happening to them and applaud the group and their handlers in having fashioned a lengthy career in show business, despite the fact the only memorable thing anyone’s ever said about them is routinely attributed to someone who might’ve meant another band!