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Break gave the Hold Steady time to hone new album

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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The Hold Steady took an atypical four years between albums before releasing this year's "Teeth Dreams." But frontman Craig Finn says that after releasing five albums in seven years, with non-stop touring as well, a little space was necessary for the Brooklyn rock quintet.

"We may have overdone it," says Finn, 42, who released a solo album during the interim. "We were pretty exhausted when we ended the touring on 'Heaven is Whenever' (in 2011). And then it took us a little while to get back."

The group stayed productive during its time off, however. Breaking new guitarist Steve Selvidge into the creative process, Finn says he and his mates "kept writing and writing and writing," and it took "Teeth Dreams" producer Nick Raskulinecz to intercede and assure the group that "you guys are absolutely ready to make a record. Let's do this."

Raskulinecz, with credits that include Rush, Foo Fighters and others, proved the perfect choice to help the Hold Steady make "a great big rock record" that showed off twin guitar attack of Selvidge and founding member Tad Kubler, and Finn was surprised, though flattered, that the producer compared him favorably to Van Halen's David Lee Roth.

"I was very surprised to hear that," Finn says with a laugh. "Then I thought about it. I thought about how David Lee Roth talks through a lot of his verses and sings on the choruses, which is something we kind of do, too, so it made some sense that way.

"And I'm a big David Lee Roth fan. I find him pretty hilarious. I think my favorite songwriters put some humor into their work, be it (Bruce) Springsteen or (Bob) Dylan or Check Berry, Mick Jagger -- all these people are at times somewhat funny. David Lee Roth is, too, and that's sort of my sense of humor, so I took it as a compliment."

The Hold Steady and Deer Tick perform Wednesday, April 23, at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17.50 in advance, $20 day of show. Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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