Getting Down Here With the People: An Interview with Adam Weiner of Low Cut Connie

Low Cut Connie are making rock and roll music in the way that it was meant to be, loud, proud, and full of swagger. Every time, without hesitation, they bring raw energy to the masses in a way that is so desperately needed. In March, they are hitting the road for a short run of dates. They will support their 2017 release Dirty Pictures Part 1 and ahead of their 2018 release Dirty Pictures Part 2. Recently we caught up with frontman Adam Weiner. What follows is one of the most enjoyable conversations about the world of music.

GSLM: We caught Prince’s last show ever. The 10 pm in Atlanta. It still feels like a fever dream. Half real, half imagined. It still weighs heavy. We know you’ve talked about the loss to the world of music. What did it mean to you?

Weiner: It was the solo tour right? Prince solo is some of my favorite Prince. He was like a comet that went across the sky, that only comes a couple of times in world history. Somebody at that level, who is used to getting up on stage with a 20-piece band, in front of 30,000 people, that is the most full bodied experience you can get. And he was using every tool in his tool box, to then do a show where he is only using two tools, and to still keep people entertained and off balance, is a rare gift.

We did the Prince cover (“Controversy”), and I think that was an unlikely thing compared to our other music. The Prince fan community really got into it. That was very gratifying, because it was done with love. I guess every cult fan feels the same thing, and that is, when you are outside of your frame, nobody takes you seriously, but within the frame, it is like family.

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GSLM: We recently watch his first performance on Saturday Night Live. Even as a seventeen or eighteen years old, he was all cock and swagger.

Weiner: He had it at 14.

GSLM: Your last album, Dirty Pictures Part 1, has the same style. It’s like early Rolling Stones. Like being in a crowded bar in New Orleans just after the heat breaks for the night. Maybe the party carries out into the street. Maybe the evening turns to night, turns to dawn.

Weiner: It’s like a wave. When you are in a band, it’s like a living organism. It grows. It changes. It gets sick. It comes back. It’s up and down and sideways. Just surviving to the next year is a big deal.

From the beginning, the band was never intended to be a real band, It was never intended to be a long term thing. It was a side project that struck a nerve with some people. It looks us five years to catch up and realize that this is really a legitimate thing. We could do this full time, and give it the love and attention that it needs.

Every review that came out in the beginning said things like “scuzz ball,” “sleaze bucket,” or “scumbag.” I don’t know where the hell that came from, but the truth is we were doing red blooded, sexy rock and roll at a time when that is terribly out of fashion.

GSLM: We really love your song “Forever.” It says, “All of the angels are climbing tonight, and there isn’t time to be shy. I don’t even know them, but I still have to show them. I love you forever.” It stands apart from the rest of the album.

Weiner: Before I was in Low Cut Connie, I played piano in three different gay bars. I also played for ballet classes, accompanied cabaret singers, and scored a couple of shitty movies. They were my Barry Manilow years. I would take any job. Anything. I was working as a musician. I wasn’t getting anywhere, but I had a gig three nights a week. I would go in the bar and play for tips. This was my education.

If you go into a room and someone is playing a guitar and singing, people back away. But you see a baby grand piano in a room,  people gravitate to it. They rest their arms on it. And you hear people’s life stories. They sit there and tell you everything about themselves.

I found myself in all of these crazy and very intimate situations with people that I did not know at all. For instance, I played piano on Christmas at this particular gay bar. I was the only Jewish piano player on their circuit, and nobody wanted to play on Christmas. I didn’t want to have to always play jazz standards and show tunes. I wanted to be able to do my thing. So I would come up with little things that people wouldn’t know if it was an original or cover.

I wrote this melody, that is the melody of the “Forever” song around that time. I wanted something pretty and sad. It took ten or twelve years of different iterations. I had put it away in the closet. And off the top of my head in the studio, I tried it. And it came together in one quick take. I haven’t ever played it live…yet.

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GSLM: You are playing Bonnaroo in June. Congrats!

Weiner: (Laughing) We’re on the very bottom line.

GSLM: (Laughing) Yeah, but there are people who would cut your throat for that slot.

Weiner: Let me tell you why it is funny. I have done Bonnaroo twice. In either 2013 and 2014, or 2014 and 2015. Somebody that liked the band hired me to play in the artist tent all weekend. There is a tequila company (Maestro Dobel Diamond Tequila) that Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction has some association with. And they came up with an idea to build a piano bar in the artist tent where the bands hang out and hire somebody to sit there all four days and nights and play. (Grinning) Back to my Barry Manilow days. So I have worked Bonnaroo twice, but from the other side of the glass. I was there for the bands, and now I am there as a performer.

When I was there before, there were people who would hang around the piano all weekend, drunk off of their head, stoned out of their gourd. And they would say, “this is better than what is out there.” It is interesting, because now I am going to do the same thing out front on stage.

To me, there are two worlds of music, two worlds of entertainment. There is the rat race, which is everything you see. Try and get on TV. Try and get on the charts. Try and be on the radio. Try and get a hit. Try and be at Bonnaroo. The rat race. And as you said, somebody would cut my throat to be in that.

But there is this whole other world made up of people who work as musicians, but they are not in the race. And that can be anything from a wedding band ,to a DJ, to the open mic night, to the best salsa band that plays in a bar every Friday night in a place that you typically would not know about, to some underground jazz place in New York that tourist don’t go. All the work that people do that is in no way intended to find commercial success and is not marketing itself in that way. I’ve worked in that world as long as I have the rat race, and I have met people who are just as talented over there as I do in this circuit. There is no difference. If I am in the bar at the artist tent, my job is to entertain people and get a reaction and make them happy. If I am on the stage and there are 2,000 people there, it is the same gig. And it is the same gig if it is 20 people or 20,000 people.

We did a tour a couple of months ago in the Midwest. We had some big shows in Chicago, and then we played Des Moines, Iowa in a tiny bar, and then we played Lincoln, Nebraska in an even tinier bar. Imagine playing Tuesday night in Lincoln at McDuffy’s. (Laughing) It’s ladies night. The next night is karaoke night, puppet show and Low Cut Connie.

We go in there and there and there are about eight people in Low Cut Connie shirts that had traveled hours to see us. Then there were another 20 drunks and weirdos at the bar. Best show of the tour! We’d played a festival a couple of nights before to a couple of thousand people. Thirty whack jobs in a bar in Lincoln, Nebraska…best show of the tour. There was a guy in there, barefoot, who seemed to me to have some issues. He deals with some shit. It seemed to me to be the peak hour of his week. In our song “Boozophilia,” we have the line, “We’re getting down here with the people.” I didn’t know what it meant when we first recorded it, but I do now.

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Low Cut Connie will make you dance. They will tap into that part of your soul that is screaming to shiver and shake. To move in ways that you have only imagined moving. To be free. And starting on January 24, you will have your chance to be a part of that magic. A full list of tour dates can be found below.

Low Cut Connie Tour

1/24 Colombus OH – Rumbe Cafe

1/25 Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge

1/26 Atlanta, GA – The Earl

1/30-2/4 The Rockboat (Leaving from New Orleans, LA)

2/9 Asheville, NC – Ellington Underground

3/3 Bethlehem, PA – Musikfest

Photo Credit: Amber Patrick

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