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Blogging Puts a Cramp in the Hold Steady's Drinking

The New York Times Magazine had an incredibly lengthy piece yesterday entitled “Sex, Drugs And Updating Your Blog,” taking a few angles on the new dynamics of being a musician in the age of Web 2.0, and of fans’ new demands on rockers to be bloggers: to share their music, private lives, and often to invite them into the creative process (or at least, give ‘em a front row seat).

Along with the obvious Net case studies (Ok Go) and the not-so-obvious (BK songwriter John Coulton), the piece spent some time with the Hold Steady’s Tad Kubler (described, awesomely, as a “blond-surfer type”) and mustachioed piano man Franz Nicolay. Tad is the resident “geek,” the one you’re corresponding with on MySpace and message boards, and though he’s conflicted, he holds it down online:

I’m like, I want to keep some privacy, some sense of mystery. But I also want to have this intimacy with our fans. That’s all I wanted when I was a fan, right? To have some small contact with these guys you really dug.

Tad then told the reporter the secret of blogging:

Another useful rule he imparts to me: Post in the morning, when you’re no longer drunk.
Note that he didn’t say “when you’re not drunk yet.” That’s called favoring beers over beds.
But Franz’s quotes detail his newfound need to watch his mouth while drinking after shows, recounting an anecdote inadvertently involving yours truly in the process.

After a recent gig in Britain, Nicolay idly mentioned to a fan that he had heard that Bruce Springsteen liked the Hold Steady. Whoops: the next day, the factoid was published on a fan blog, “and it had, like, 25 comments!” Nicolay said. So now he carefully polices what he says in casual conversation, which he thinks is a weird thing for a rock star to do. “You can’t be the drunken guy who just got offstage anymore, he said with a sigh. “You start acting like a pro athlete, saying all these banal things after you get off the field.”

Fan blog? More like Stereogum [www.stereogum.com]. But in fairness, it’s not that off-base to call Stereogum a Hold Steady “fan blog.”