Why Craig Finn loves Friday Night Lights so much

Yes, Craig Finn week has arrived in the Twin Cities. In celebration of the release of his new solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes, the Hold Steady's good-timing frontman is in town this weekend. He's got gigs at the Triple Rock, Treehouse, and the Current's UBS Forum to put an enormous, declaratory mark on the days ahead.

City Pages spoke to Finn recently, and a portion of the conversation appears in this week's print edition. One exchange that didn't make it in was regarding book/movie/TV series Friday Night Lights, which proved inspiring in this album's creation. Read Finn's insights below.

City Pages: The album's title is a juxtaposed version of a key slogan ["Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose"] in critically acclaimed high school football drama Friday Night Lights, of which you're an avowed fan. While at first glance wordy indie-rock music and the trials and travails of high school athletes in Dillon, Texas, might not seem to have much in common, there are some interesting thematic similarities between them. Both the show and your songs often struggle with what it means to grow up and embrace personal responsibility. What drew you to the show?

Craig Finn: The show was interesting to me because it wasn't just about the kids and their problems. It also really covered adult problems like managing careers and marriages. Me being 40 years old and living to a degree in the world of rock 'n' roll, which is really youthful music in many ways, I identified a bit with both the kids and the coach. As an older rock musician you have work to find balance in your life between being a kid and being an adult. You know playing a show with the Hold Steady, there's people throwing beer in the air, and it's a celebratory thing and it's great. But there are still times that I want to live and behave like a normal 40-year-old adult, whose goals aren't the same as a 20-year-old rock musician.

Who was your favorite character?

Matt Saracen was my guy. I was always rooting for him. I just wanted so badly for him to get out of Dillon and make it to Art School in Chicago. I knew he would be so good if he could just get there [laughs]! There are a lot of similar themes in this set of songs, just that feeling of wanting to leave or move on but having things that are holding us back that seem so big at the time. It's not easy for people to push forward into the unknown.

More with Finn here.

CRAIG FINN plays with Mount Moriah on SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4, at the Triple Rock Social Club; 612.333.7399

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >