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During our time as The Hold Steady, I've made a lot in interviews and onstage monologues about what little ambition we had when we started this band. We weren't sure if we would play shows or release records. We had seriously managed expectations. But in the end, we did end up playing shows and releasing records, and we are better people for it. We've seen a lot of the world, met a ton of great people, and played a whole bunch of rock and roll music. Our efforts have been rewarded beyond our wildest dreams. It's not exactly a mind–blowing statement when I say that this is the best job I've ever had. That said, there are sacrifices and discomfort that come with this territory: busted relationships, distance from family, physical exhaustion, disconnection from civilian life, ringing ears, interminable waiting around, trying to get through a ninety minute show when you have food poisoning, etc.

Our new record, "Heaven is Whenever," is about struggle and reward. It's about accepting suffering as a necessary part of a joyous life. It's about how love can help us rise above these struggles. It's about faith. It's about how bad it hurts to settle for less. It's about not being scared to try. It's about four guys who still believe in the power and glory of rock and roll. Because even after a thousand soundchecks, a thousand load–in and load–outs, fifty missed birthdays, and a few hundred electrical shocks, our reward still vastly outweighs the struggle. In fact, the reward would not exist without the struggle. Thus, this struggle is inherently part of the reward. And in this way, the fantasy of playing rock and roll for a living is a lot like real life.

It's hard to pinpoint when we started making this record, but I think the genesis was when Tad was doing a score for a film in early 2009. He started laying down some song ideas in the studio and sharing them with us. I started writing lyrics and at one point we even set up a makeshift studio in the back of our tour bus to record demo vocals. We spent our down time in the summer of 2009 making demos in our rehearsal space. Songs started to pile up, and it was time to hit a proper studio and start making an album.
Franz Nicolay

Franz Nicolay

World/Inferno Friendship Society

World/Inferno Friendship Society

The Hold Steady

Franz Nicolay (The Hold Steady, World/Inferno Friendship Society)

The Hold Steady

Franz Nicolay (World/Inferno Friendship Society, The Hold Steady, Against Me!)