LOW CUT CONNIE
photo by Mara Robinson
Interview by Kortney Jmaeff
He's been coined the "Jewish Alice Cooper," but Low Cut Connie frontman Adam Weiner is a little different than advertised. Forging on a frontman and songwriter in a "Real" rock and roll band has its challenges in 2018, and Low Cut Connie has seen them all. Receiving encouragement from Barack Obama and legend Elton John, Weiner is determined to take over the music world "one fan at a time" with their relentless touring and vibrant live show.
In this exclusive PSF interview, learn about Weiner's penchant for Lou Reed, how we feels about the state of rock and roll today, and why Prince was such a great loss to the rock world.
PSF:So what kind of music were you listening to before you started playing piano. Did you have an interest in music when you were young?
AW: Yeah, I mean always. I started playing piano when I was very little. I really wanted to play guitar, but we had a piano in our house, and my brother and my mother- it was all about piano. They wanted me to take piano lessons, I had to wait on the guitar thing. After I saw Back to the Future and all these Eighties representations of rock and roll, I was always trying to figure out how to do Chuck Berry and Little Richard type things on the piano. It just kind of went on from there.
PSF:I love your cover of Prince's "Controversy." Do you think that Prince was one of the most underrated artists ever?
AW: Well, I don't know if I would use that phrase, but I can tell you that he was one of the most underrated songwriters ever. I think he gets a lot of respect as a performer. I think he's one of the greatest performers ever. As a songwriter, he has been very influential on me. I think that in time, people will probably get Masters Degrees in Prince studies. Do you know what I mean?
PSF:I heard that he's got closets of full of stuff that's never been released. Just how many songs he wrote for other people too that nobody knows about.
PSF: And when you see him, he's also one of the best guitarists out there too.
AW: Oh yeah, definitely one of the best. He was the whole package- he was the best looking, the best singer, the best songwriter, the best performer, he had it all.
PSF: Yeah, it true. So how did you guys get the name Low Cut Connie?
AW: It's really a dumb name, I just have to live with it. It's not really a great story, it's not really any story. There are two versions of it with Connie, one is a female boxer named Connie, and the other is a diner waitress named Connie. Neither one of these stories really adds too much other than that's our name.
It became our name and it's taken on other meanings that we are not necessarily intended if you know what I mean.
I'm a huge fan of the sport of boxing. We've always had this correlation between the boxing community and Philadelphia in our band here. A lot of our imagery centres on this female boxer Connie, and the image of her getting pretty beat up in the ring but she's still swinging. Low Cut Connie is a resilient, defiant female boxer.
PSF: Like the underdog?
AW: Yeah, exactly.
PSF: Do you rock and roll is getting better or worse as it gets older?
AW: Oh man, I don't know how to answer that. It's certainly not in fashion right know, I'll say that. I think we all know that.
It's funny, because I just got asked, Rolling Stone is doing this top 100 songs of the 21st century list, and I got asked to vote. So I had to put together my top 25 singles or individual tracks for the last 18 years. I think the expectation was that I would add a rock and roll perspective. It's really funny because there was two, what you would consider, rock songs, on my list. It's not in fashion right now. We see it shrinking a lot of where we go.
It's not a bad thing though, because we play for young crowds, we play for college kids. They act like they have never seen anything like us live. The truth is they haven't, because they didn't grow up with rock and roll. They do get this new sense of discovery. What we are doing is taking it back to the origins, our approach to it is a very simple, not rock approach, but rock and roll approach. I kind of enjoy exposing this music and performance style to young people, because maybe it will start a whole new cycle.
PSF: That's true. Do you have any peer bands or any possess the same vision as you guys?
AW: We are not really part on any scene, we have got our own little corner of the sandbox. There is certainly bands out there that we love and have toured with. A Giant Dog are a great band. Sweet Spirit is great. Black Joe Lewis is fantastic. That's off the top of my head.
PSF: Cool. How do you feel about the exposure that Obama gave you when he listed "Boozeophilia" as a favorite track?
AW: Well, I'm not going to complain about it. That or Elton John's recent report on the band. It was amazing, totally shocking and strange. I got to meet President Obama at the White House. I'll never forget that. It didn't really change our fortune, but it did change something internally, which I re-committed myself to doing this.
PSF: Gave you some motivation?
AW: Yeah, it put some winds in our sails. I mean he said to me when I met him, "I like what you are doing, I like your style. Keep it up." It was worth it for that alone.
PSF: I noticed in a "5 Albums that changed my life" interview that you had, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Stones, Sly and the Family Stone and Leadbelly. You also mentioned a more obscure album, Big Mabel: Complete Okie sessions. Tell me why you love this album, and why it's in your top 5.
AW: Big Mabel? She's is one of my favorite singers of all time. She is underappreciated, her story is kind of a sad one. I think she was one of the purest blues singers of her era. Her versions of all of her songs, there is a lot of crossovers. There are songs that pretty much everybody covered in that era, but her covers are my favorite versions. She had this somewhat revolutionary span of repertoire. It was very interesting for that time. She could do pure blues, R&B- jump blues, she could do a jazz standard like nobody's business. She could do a tricky ballad, a cover of a rock and roll song like "96 Tears," "Candy," all these kinds of things. She could float between by today's standards different genres- soul, R&B, rock n roll, blues, country, float between them all. I'm always attracted to music that isn't genre specific. If you look at my list, Sly and the Family Stone, I mean what are they? Are they a funk band, a rock and roll band, a soul band? Yes, yes, yes- they are all those things.
Sly and the Family Stone existed outside of any genre, it's their own sound. It's kind of appealing to anybody. I think Big Mabel did that as well. She had a very unique to music.
PSF: What artists are you listening to currently- more new stuff/older stuff?
AW: Well, I do little to a lot of old music. Lately, because I've been reading the Lou Reed biography, I've really got real deep into the Lou Reed New York album.
PSF: That one's of the best albums that no one know about.
AW: I feel like these songs were written yesterday. I feel like I'm getting a lot of new things in this era listening to it. There's a band out of Brooklyn that is new that is opening for us in a couple months called Combo Chimbita, they're kind of like a Spanish language psych band. They're fantastic. Because I was doing this Rolling Stone list, I went back to my favorite songs from the early 2000's. Right now I'm listening to a lot of Missy Elliott and Outkast. I think there is enough distance from that era that I can safely say that that I think that Outkast is probably my favorite band of the century.
PSF: I'll name a band and you tell me what you think.
AW: Oh, this is dangerous.
PSF:(Laughs). These are always the most fun. Iggy Pop?
AW: Saw him live with the first Stooges reunion show in New York 15 years ago, it changed my life.
PSF: The Smiths?
AW: Could take it or leave it.
AW: We get compared to them a lot. Good songs.
PSF: Alice Cooper?
AW: People tell them I am like the Jewish Alice Cooper. I don't have a lot to say about him musically. Good performer.
AW: Listen, you are from Canada, so I am boxed into this interview. My wife's from Canada. It's like on another planet for me, I can't relate at all. I recently watched an interview with Geddy Lee, talking about his family's history with the Holocaust. I was deeply moved by him and the description of his family. I think there are very interesting, nice guys.
PSF: The Strokes?
AW: I am supposed to love them but I don't.
PSF: The Hives?
AW: Amazing live band. I am not sure that I would listen to their albums, but live they are brutal.
PSF: Which do you prefer, the Stones or the Beatles?
AW: Oh god, that's not fair. That's like the age old time. I listen to the Stones more, that's for sure. But I would say they had an equal influence on me.
PSF: Black Sabbath or Kiss?
AW: So Black Sabbath all day long. Kiss, I don't really feel much about their music, but their show is outrageous. They are great. But Black Sabbath, there is something musical going on there.
PSF: Metallica or Iron Maiden?
AW: You are killing me with these. (Laughs) We were just in England and we were staying one block from the bar where Iron Maiden played their very first gig, which was interesting. In a pinch I am going to have to take Metallica just on the songwriting side, but that's a toughie.
PSF: One more what do you think about- the New York Dolls?
AW: Hugely influential on me. Totally underappreciated. Their first album is one of my favorite albums.
PSF:I think their newer stuff is still good, the 2006 album One Day It Will Please Us… is still really good and solid.
AW: I saw them live. It was one of these things that you go in squinting because I just don't want my dreams shattered, but it was fantastic. It had the spirit. What do you do when you are down two members and its so many years later? What you do is you conjure the spirit, and I have to say they did that.
PSF: They been through a lot of stuff. So what's your 2018 look like, are you guys still touring over 100 days out of the year?
AW: Yes, Oh, my god yes. So our new album comes out in May, Dirty Pictures Part 2. Pre-orders are on sale now. We are booked for a lot of shows. We are going to Europe twice. We are going cross country USA twice, and everywhere in between. We are just one of these bands that keeps cranking. We never really hit this moment of, and we probably never will, hit this moment where it just kind of bubbles over, where we have a cathartic career moment. We just keep grinding. One city at a time, one fan at a time, it keeps spreading. Once we get somebody, we hold onto them.
PSF: Any hints of what Dirty Pictures Part 2 is going to sound like?
AW: We put the first single out last week "Beverly." That's out and people are digging it. You'll see. It's definitely a different direction for us- Dirty Pictures Part 2. It's very different from Part 1.
PSF: Any other hints?
AW: I hate to use the word mature. But I guess as I age it might be happening.
PSF: Say it ain't so. (Laughs)
Also see Low Cut Connie's website
|MAIN PAGE||ARTICLES||STAFF/FAVORITE MUSIC||LINKS|