Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The Hold Steady Plan ‘Stay Positive’ Children’s Book

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Would you trust the Hold Steady, which Rolling Stone once dubbed “America’s best bar band,” with your kids? Well, America’s best bar band sure hopes so. The group has collectively written Stay Positive, an illustrated children’s book inspired by the title track of their 2008 album. The 32-page book, which arrives Oct. 1, follows an armadillo on his path to enlightenment, as it makes friends and learns to maintain a positive mental attitude. Cartoonist and comic book author David “El Dee” Espinosa illustrated the book.

Ahead of the fall release, the group is planning different versions of the book, including a limited-edition package (with a water bottle and a sticker sheet), as well as signed copies.

The song the book is based loosely on, is a gospel tent revival with a pounding beat on which frontman Craig Finn sings about the Eighties hardcore-punk scene, name-checking Youth of Today and Seven Seconds and worrying that the scene might devolve into drug-fueled sex orgy. So it’ll be interesting to see how they adapt it for younger readers. Nevertheless, the chorus, “We gotta stay positive,” and its “Love Stinks”–style guitar chords still resonate.


“[The Hold Steady song] ‘Stay Positive’ has a line that says, ‘The kids at the shows will have kids of their own,’ and it’s true: Each year, more Hold Steady fans become parents or grandparents,” Finn said in a statement. “So, I’m thrilled that we’re offering the children’s book version of ‘Stay Positive,’ which brings ‘THS’ joy to the whole family.”

The band will continue to spread positivity this year on the road with three-night stands in North America and Australia. They’re billing the majority of these shows as the Constructive Summer 2024 Tour. They have also scheduled some festival dates and a “storytellers set” in Evanston, Illinois.

Hold Steady Tour Dates


May 2 – Toronto @ The Great Hall
May 3 – Toronto @ The Great Hall
May 4 – Toronto @ The Concert Hall
May 24 – Melbourne @ The Croxton Bandroom **
May 25 – Melbourne @ The Croxton Bandroom **
May 26 – Melbourne @ Stay Gold **
May 30 – Seattle @ Madame Lou’s
May 31 – Seattle @ The Crocodile (All Ages)
June 1 – Seattle @ The Crocodile
June 20 – Washington, D.C. @ The Atlantis
June 21 – Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club
June 22 – Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club 
June 28 — Evanston, IL @ The Space (storytellers set)
June 29 – Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest *
July 20 – St. Paul, MN @ Minnesota Yacht Club Festival *
August 22 – Denver @ The Bluebird Theater
August 23 – Denver @ The Bluebird Theater
August 24 – Denver @ The Bluebird Theater
October 3 – Atlanta @ TBA
October 4 – Atlanta @ TBA
October 5 – Atlanta @ TBA

* Festival Appearance
** “Boys and Girl Down Under” / 20th (+1) Anniversary Australian Weekender tour dates

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