There are times when I walk on stage and say, “I don’t know, I’ve got doubt that this can happen.” But I try to lose myself in [the music], and it’s not that hard to lose yourself in it for 90 minutes. You’re with your friends. Wherever you are, you’re drinking beer, you’re getting to travel, there are people in front of you. You look out and you think, even if it’s not the biggest crowd, these are the people that have been waiting to see you. And that’s flattering and you owe it to them. So to put whatever else aside and play the music and feel it and get a celebratory vibe going is expected and, ultimately, not that difficult.
You’ll be sharing a bill throughout the second half of April with Deer Tick, who got their start in Providence. They seem about as close in spirit to The Hold Steady as any band currently working. How did you hook up?
We played in Ithaca a few years back, and I saw them and I’d been hearing good things about them. I thought they were amazing, and I went and got their records. They’re always on tour, so I kept running into [singer/songwriter/guitarist John] McCauley and Ian [O’Neil], the guitar player, in New York, and got to know them, and saw some amazing shows they did, including one on a boat for a friend’s birthday party. And I’ve always thought it would be a great tour. I’m really excited it’s happening. I think John is just a fantastic singer and songwriter, and their shows are also a celebration and they’re really spirited. I love, for a young band, how in touch with great rock and roll they are. They can whip off a Buddy Holly cover. That’s really cool, because rock seems like maybe it’s getting away from people that are younger than me, sometimes, but then you see Deer Tick and you feel like it’s all right.
The Hold Steady + Cheap Girls | Saturday, April 12 @ 9 pm | The Met, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket | All ages | $20 advance, $22 day of show | 401.729.1005 | themetri.com | The Hold Steady + Deer Tick will be at House of Blues in Boston on April 17 and Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT, on April 18 | Info @ theholdsteady.net