Via an announcement on his website yesterday, Franz Nicolay, mustachioed keyboardist for The Hold Steady, said he's leaving the beloved rock outfit. It's apparently old news among the band's members, but Nicolay refrained from commenting about it until everything was complete:
You should know: I've left The Hold Steady. I told the band I'd be leaving in early September, played my last show with them in Minneapolis around Thanksgiving, and dotted the t's and crossed the i's this week. Five years seemed like a nice round number. Thanks to everyone who was a part of the experience, especially the Unified Scene, who are nice folks. I'll see you all soon in any case.
There's no word yet on who will take his place. For his part, Nicolay has a lot going on: a story collection called Complicated Gardening Techniques due out in February, a new EP called St. Sebastian Of The Short Stage that same month, and he's producing a album for Brooklyn's The Debutante Hour.