Who knew that Skid Row and Kiss would be an influence on the erudite, post punk, poets The Hold Steady?
One of their final releases before the indefinite recording hiatus they are currently still in was a fan funded covers EP that compares very closely to the previously mentioned B-Side Ourselves. The concept of the EP was the same as Skid Row’s, each band member picks a song to cover. THS do a take on each and get it out there to their hardcore following.
Well, they really screwed it up when it came to getting the record pressed. The digital download was available for Pledges almost immediately after mastering. The record itself took over a year to get pressed and mailed out to the fans who’d paid upfront.
For a small scale indie rock band with such close ties to it’s audience it was a clear sign all was not well in the band-camp (pun kind of intended). When the vinyl did arrive (my copy had to be re-routed to the new house I’d moved to in the time it took to be released) it featured covers from David Shouse, Dr Feelgood, Soul Asylum and Willie Nelson. It also featured this glorious Kiss cover.
The Rags EP takes it’s title from the lyrics of Hard Luck Woman. The band swerve the germ seed of country Peter Criss wrote into the song and rock things up big enough to avoid comparison with Garth Brooks hit take on the same number.
Finn is a proper singer by the time the band recorded this. He’s full on melodic. His spoken word delivery from the first two albums received some heavy criticism from the bands detractors. Tad Kubler is clearly enjoying his Ace moment and the whole thing still has that 7th Street Entry Minneapolis vibe to it that’s such a big part of The Hold Steady’s sound.
Just as a footnote. Rags also has one of the worst record sleeves The Hold Steady ever put out. I love this band more than some of my family. But they suck at graphic design.