In a message posted on his website yesterday, mustachioed keyboardist Franz Nicolay announced that he has left the Hold Steady and will focus his attention on other projects. He didn't give much of a reason for leaving, but from the tone of his message there don't seem to be many hard feelings. "Five years seemed like a nice round number," he writes.
Aside from Craig Finn's spastic arm swings and sneers, I've always thought that Nicolay was one of the most exciting elements of the Hold Steady's live shows. He has a way of bouncing up and down, dancing theatrically, and grinning ear to ear that is irresistibly contagious.
Case in point:
Franz already has a lot on his plate, and has spent the past couple of years establishing himself as a solo songwriter and performer. "In the meantime," he writes, "My story collection Complicated Gardening Techniques is out next month, Guignol & Mischief Brew Fighty Dirty is out now, as is my EP St. Sebastian of the Short Stage; and I'm producing a record from Brooklyn's The Debutante Hour."