Ask Her For Some Adderall – The Hold Steady

A few thousand years ago I made a video for a song by a band I really love. The Hold Steady.

I had a couple of days to kill and hadn’t discovered WordPress as a way to vent all my creative urges and musical ramblings. I was between jobs and kicking my heels listening to my latest purchase. It was the fourth album in the THS cannon and it was called Stay Positive.

Four short years earlier I had all but given up on new music. I’d stopped loving new stuff. I felt like I was just listening to the same old bands and rereleases and live versions and demos and Do-Overs and side projects and and and… Nothing new sounded good. It was all very derivative or very gimmicky.

Then I heard The Swish. From The Hold Steady Almost Killed Me. The album was basically two demo tapes forced out on vinyl as if they were a real album (I think might have mentioned that before) I heard it moments before their second album Separation Sunday was released. These two albums back to back really reignited my passion for bleeding edge rock and roll.

New bands didn’t have to have a wonky synth keytar and ironic haircut to cut it in the new millennium. They could make new and exciting music and still be a classic sounding rock and roll show. To be a classic sounding band didn’t mean you had to sound like a retro kitsch tribute act. This was the sweet spot. Between Art Brut and The Hives.

Another year into having the double whammy of AKM and SS in the car constantly came album number three. More diverse and more commercial in equal measures Boys And Girls In America was their breakthrough album. Three for Three this band were growing with every release but never slowing the pace.

I’d started going to more gigs again too. After a fallow period between The Datsuns and Arctic Monkeys I was back at places like The Borderline and Dingwalls to see The Hold Steady and the bands that came with them. Cold War Kids, Lucero, Gaslight Anthem. They had a unified scene building around their sound.

Just four years after the demo cum album the band peaked with a sort of Physical Graffiti for the noughties when they released Stay Positive. Except (as is the way with the noughties) there were some formatting variances from hard copy to digital.

One track that was strictly for the vinyl crowd was Ask Her For Some Adderall. One of the best tunes on the record and one of the best tunes of their entire output, and it’s tucked away on the running order in a different place depending on which version you get. Sometimes it’s a download only. Sometimes it’s just not there at all.

Running order is really important on The Hold Steady’s records because they have a narrative. Not a proggy Storytellers Night type narrative. It’s usually like reading witness statements centring around something shady. Different perspectives, overlapping versions of the truth and something about stuff in some guys socks.

Ask Her is right near the end of the album on my double disc vinyl. Two tracks before the customary barnstormer epic closer. It’s a heck of a side with ask going into Joke About Jamaica then into the mighty Slapped Actress.

But it’s not on the CD. So I made a video… because I was bored. We could talk about it if you liked. It’s chock full of musical, cinematic and cultural references. I made it using powerpoint and CoralDraw-8 and the iMovie editing software on an ancient Macbook. It’s terrible and wonky and low res and I had none of the proper equipment or software to make a music video. But I was bored and wanted a project.

I had so much time on my hands…
…I did another one.

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9 thoughts on “Ask Her For Some Adderall – The Hold Steady

  1. The music, the lyrics, and how you enhanced them with your videos is excellent!! The melody and bridge of the first song and the lyrics of the second really grabbed me. It must have taken a long time to find the right images to convey the messages in the songs. You are a creative individual!

    Liked by 1 person

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