“The title actually came from one of the songs, so I was kind of looking at the lyrics and looking for a title, it was kind of perfect, in part because of the current political climate,” says Craig Finn, who also fronts the band The Hold Steady. “Now the record was named before the current election, but during the campaign we also weren’t all on the same page. There’s a little black humor in the title, but in some ways, there’s truth there and I do think we want the same things; we want safety for our children, we want food and shelter, and we want freedom. We just disagree on how we’re going to get there.”
The line is also reflective of the characters in the songs. Like many of the subjects in his music, they tend to be unremarkable people, just trying to get through life and their situations.
‘We All Want The Same Things,’ his third solo record, comes out March 24th on Partisan Records. Craig spoke recently about the new record as well as when we can hear from The Hold Steady again.
Innocent Words: You just finished up the Living Room tour, right?
Craig Finn: Yeah, it was really fantastic. We sort of arranged it because I was going around and visiting radio stations, so that’s how we routed it. For the last record, we did a radio tour to set it up and I found the nighttime kind of lonely, so I thought I would make use of that time. The Living Room tour was very rewarding. I was playing a lot of new material and being that it was really quiet and people could hear all of the words — it was an intimate setting — it was a really nice way to debut new stuff and beyond that there is something really nice about people allowing strangers into their house to play music. There was an intimacy there that was really rewarding.
It was really nice. It was a combination of the intimacy and the comfort of not being in a dark rock club. I played at 8 pm too and I think my audience is largely employed and maybe a little older, so I think it was nice for people to hear music and then be home around 10:30.
Innocent Words: Your last album came out just over a year and half ago and now you’re back with another solo record. Did you have a lot of left over material or are you going through a particularly prolific period?
Craig Finn: I’m kind of on a prolific jag. ‘Faith in the Future’ came out in September of 2015 and we started recording this one — the first session of many — in November of 2015. I’ve just been writing a lot and also in this day and age, with the resurgence of vinyl, it takes a while to get a record out. It takes about 6-months to generate vinyl, so there’s plenty of time once you turn in your record and start writing new songs to start on another one (laughs), so that’s just what I did.
Innocent Words: The last record was a little more of a melancholy album, but on ‘We All Want the Same Things,’ it seems a little more optimistic. Is there a general theme to these newer songs?
Craig Finn: I think it’s more exuberant, but I also think it’s more musical. It’s a little less sparse and that comes from the fact that the last record was pretty much me, Josh (Kaufman) and my producer and the drummer. This one had a lot more people in the room; a piano player, a horn player, a bass player and because of that I think it leads to something that’s a little more joyful.
Innocent Words: It’s hard not to smile when you’re listening to horns.
Craig Finn: Yeah, horns and piano kind of bring out the carnival in things.
Innocent Words: Is it too early to start talking about the next Hold Steady album?
Craig Finn: Yeah, we played three shows in September and four in December and before that we hadn’t played in 18 months. Right now, we don’t have any songs, so it’s a little early, but I think some shows need to happen first and I thing that’s what the short-term goal is. We did four shows in Brooklyn and that turned out great. I hope we can replicate that model again where we play multiple shows in one city. We’re all a little older and I don’t think anyone’s excited to drive around in a van anymore. But, to put together a block of shows in major cities dig in and really make the sets different every night. Make them really special, I think it’s ideal.