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Franz Nicolay is an Americanmarker multi-instrumentalist and composer currently based in Brooklynmarker, New Yorkmarker. He is perhaps best known for playing the accordion and the piano in The World/Inferno Friendship Society and playing keyboards in The Hold Steady. He is also notable for founding Anti-Social Music, a composer/performer collective based in New York Citymarker, and for performing in the gypsy-klezmer troupe, Guignol.

Beyond his long-term association with these groups, Nicolay has appeared in recordings by many other bands, such as Mischief Brew, Leftöver Crack, The Dresden Dolls, and Nanuchka. Nicolay also arranged the strings on the Australian band The Living End's 2008 release White Noise.

His favorite brand of moustache wax is Cowboy Stache Wax, from Montana.

In 2007, Nicolay released Black Rose Paladins, a set of solo demos. Only 50 hard copies were made, which were sold at his concerts. The album can still be purchased on his MySpace page.

On November 5, 2008, Nicolay announced he will be releasing a his first full-length solo album, titled Major General, with Yula Be'era of Nanuchka, Brian Viglione and Jared Scott of Demander. World/Inferno saxophonist Peter Hess also appears on the cd. The album was released January 13, 2009 on Fistolo Records.

Regarding future solo releases, Nicolay states that he has: "just made plans for a 10″ vinyl EP this summer, and I should have another full-length next year, and so on and so on. I don’t ever start a project assuming it’ll be a one-off, and the idea is to build this as a sustainable and separate entity."



  • Black Rose Paladins (2007) (collection of demos)
  • Major General (2009)

The Hold Steady



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