Before Craig Finn led the Hold Steady from Brooklyn to worldwide fame with appearances on arena stages and TV shows, he led Minneapolis-based quartet Lifter Puller on pretty much every stage in the Twin Cities—coffee shops, basements and house parties included. LFTRPLLR, as they were occasionally tattooed on fans’ hands, earned a rabid fan base and the adoration of critics, but never truly busted out of that Minnesota-band bubble.
Unfortunately for those of us who adored seeing the band play on a regular basis—and for the rest of the world—Lifter Puller were active from about 1994-2000, or in other words, right before the Internet started changing the way audiences find and fall in love with and make stars out of artists. So the band members went their separate ways, with Craig and bassist Tad Kubler moving to NYC to form the Hold Steady. The Hold Steady would carry on the tradition of chronicling life in various Twin Cities malls, suburbs and night clubs, but where Lifter Puller was brittle and jagged and quasi-post-punk, the Hold Steady were chunky, direct, and unabashedly embracing of classic rock.