HomeInterviewsLow Cut Connie on His New Radio Show, Obama, and Sea.Hear.Now

Low Cut Connie on His New Radio Show, Obama, and Sea.Hear.Now

Low Cut Connie
Photo Credit: Marcus Laws

For years Low Cut Connie was a band that people (smart people) in the Asbury Park music scene were all about. They spread the band’s gospel on how this was the band to see. Of course, this is something you hear all the time in a scene. Some band is just so good you have to listen to them, they’ll change your life, etc. Well, if you weren’t listening to the tastemakers of Asbury Park’s music scene, maybe you’d listen to former President Barack Obama, or Sir Elton John — both of whom heaped praise upon the Philadelphia-born rock ‘n’ roll band.

Or maybe do yourself one better. Don’t listen to anyone. Just push play on a Low Cut Connie song, and then you’ll realize that a bunch hip kids from Asbury, the 44th President of the United States, and The Rocketman himself were onto something — because Low Cut Connie is pretty damn awesome. Channeling a garage rock vibe with nitro shots of soul, and Jerry Lee Lewis-esque piano driven rock ‘n’ roll, Low Cut Connie provides a sound that’ll knock you right on your ass. The music is fresh, exciting, and undeniable.

Recently, we caught up with Adam Weiner, Low Cut Connie’s lead singer, and the heart and soul of the band. We talked about his interactions with Obama, his brand new radio show, dive bars, and performing at Sea.Hear.Now.

Can you talk about how you got approached to Sea.Hear.Now? I know Low Cut Connie is a band that is no stranger to Asbury Park as you’ve played a ton of shows there. So, it’s definitely cool to see you playing on such a huge stage this weekend. 

We sure have. We played Wonder Bar, I don’t know how many times. We’ve done Light of Day a couple times, which is fantastic, and The Stone Pony. I’ve done a couple of solo shows there and with all those shows we just sort of built a little bit of a crowd over there. Danny [Clinch] and Tim [Donnelly] (organizers of SHN) became fans of the band. Danny came and photographed us a couple times and he’s come on stage and played with us. The festival last year was a smash, and we just started talking about having us there this year.

One thing I noticed that besides doing a set, you’re going to be displaying some of your artwork. So this is a question I’ve asked a few people who are doing art and who are doing also performing. What are you more nervous for — getting on stage in front of tens of thousands of people or a showing your art off?

Oh, definitely the art. I’m not really what you would really call a visual artist. So when Danny asked I wanted to do it because I do draw sometimes to just sort of unwind while on tour. But I’ve never shown anything I’ve drawn, so that’s a little nerve wracking. But getting up in front of 10,000 people ain’t shit. I do that all the time.

A bit of a wide open question, but can you describe your art? And why do you engage with art to unwind from music?

I do a 130 shows a year and when I’m not performing, I’m practicing. I’ll do a recording session and radio session and I have my new radio show I’m doing. I’m performing and working in music and performance daily and I’ve done this for a lot of years. This is my world. But you know, like when you’re a kid, you get joy in doing things that we don’t really know how to do and you’re just sort of discovering it? I don’t know how to draw, I’m not very good at it. So it’s kind of a relief to do something that I have no technique or I don’t have to think at all about what’s good and what’s not good and am I hitting my mark and will people like it and is it as good as last night? I don’t have to think about that. It’s just for me and it’s not even practice, it’s just a mess around. So I’ve done these little portraits of people in history that I find interesting and I’ve got two of them up in the art show there.

You mentioned something about your radio show and I saw on your website the Connie Club. Can you talk about? I love the description of it — it’s just like you go into like a dive bar where nothing really works, but the music is good and it’s a great place to hang out. Can you talk about how you keep up with the idea and where we could hear it this fall?

Exactly. The Connie Club is a dirty dive-y little bar and we’re doing these quote unquote live broadcasts from the bar just like your local kind of crappy little neighborhood bar. The Connie Club has Karaoke nights sometimes and Open Mic nights. You’re hearing me spin records and I play piano in and out of the records and I interview the local yokels that hang out in the bar. Then some of them get up and sing, some of them get up and talk. Then we have special guests that drop by. I have some really special folks that drop by the bar and do a do a song for Karaoke night. And this just sort of came about from the fact that I’ve spent so many years hanging out in these bars performing. Now we get to perform on really big stages, which is great, but for many years I only got to play in real down and dirty kind of dive-y bars.

I’ve gotten a real affection for these kind of places. It’s like accepting of all kinds of people. I wrote a song called ‘Boozophilia.’ It’s one of our better known song that talks about the heart and soul kind of people and the crazy people hang out in these bars where I have spent my life entertaining and I wouldn’t trade the experiences that I’ve had interacting with these people or anything. It’s nice to play really nice venues now. But I really liked the fact that for many years I was thrown eyeball to eyeball with all kinds of people and I’d have to try to connect with them on a very intimate level. So I wanted to create that experience for people in another way, not just with our live shows, but with the radio show  and kind of create an audio environment. It has that feeling of that kind of crazy Saturday night feeling in a, in a crazy bar where there’s a weird mix of people.

So I came up with this idea of the Connie Club. I was inspired by a bar, specifically a bar in south Philly where Low Cut Connie started. We did a lot of our first gigs there. It’s called, Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar. It’s been a bar in Philly since the 1930s. Yeah. Yeah. You wouldn’t want to see it with the lights on, let me put it that way. But the people that are in there, it’s just fabulous. A good friend of mine in Philadelphia is a local DJ called Jerry Blavatt and he’s dubbed “The Geater with the Heater” and “”The Big Boss with the Hot Sauce.” He’s 79 years old and Jerry has been a big fan of Low Cut Connie and he’s over the years encouraged me that when the band got to a level of success I should do a radio show. He thought I would be good at it and kind of keep the flame alive for the kind of wild live broadcast radio that he does.

That’s awesome. When is that going to roll out?

Yes, so every weekend, October. We are on nine stations around the country in our area. We are on WXPN out of Philly every weekend in October. I’m also streaming them on our site.

One thing I saw you’re also doing this fall is going on tour with Big Freedia  — which is awesome. Can you talk about how you two hooked up and decided to go on tour together.

I’ve been a fan of Big Freedia for many years. In fact, years ago I tried to pitch a song that I wrote called “Little Queen in New Orleans” that’s on our third album. Then the universe just brought us together because now we share a manager as of about a year ago. He got us in the same room and I had Freedia to do something for my radio show and it was just magic and the two of us together was pretty explosive. We just started talking about why don’t we do this co-headline tour and cross pollinate and do this like crazy, crazy party show where all kinds of people are brought into the same room. The people that would go to a lot hip hop show, the people that would go to a drag performance that might never go to a rock ‘n’ roll show and the people that would go see a rock ‘n’ roll band might never go to a hip hop show or drag show. We bring them all together and we have a crazy show planned for everybody. It’s going to be very soon, especially now.

Are you guys going to be doing separate solo sets and then playing together or you go then jam like you know, stepping in, I was sitting in an h other sets or is this going to be a dual set youtube together?

Well I guess people will have to buy a ticket to find out.

You mentioned the song ‘Boozophilia’ before and that song became very famous because President Barack Obama put it on his Spotify playlist back around 2015, and it got a lot of attention. I know you’ve said in other interviews that didn’t help you guys financially, but can you talk about the experience of having a sitting president call you out and put a spotlight on you? 

Well the band wasn’t doing so great at that time. We were on shaky ground. You’re kind of always on shaky ground, you know, running a band in 2019. But the ground was real shaky back then in 2015 and I was really struggling to keep it together. It didn’t really feel like it was growing at the rate that it would need to to keep it going. A lot of people in the band were starting to leave and I was just really having trouble with going into a lot of debt. [The playlist] came at the perfect time and it was validation.

I see that ‘Boozophilia’ is on this list with Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder and Sly and the Family Stone, all my heroes. All this national attention came and it didn’t really change my fortunes because it wasn’t that kind of an opportunity. It wasn’t like getting booked on Saturday Night Live or something, but being [on the playlist] it was such an honor. Then I got invited to the White House and I got to meet Obama in 2016 because of it. He said some very kind things to me. It just put wind in my sails as an artist that [made me say] I ain’t going to give up now. I got to see this thing through. I can’t let this fall apart. I have to find a way to make this sustainable because I am reaching people. I just have to find a way to reach more people and do this in a way where we can grow over time. So I recommitted myself to what I do and the life that I’ve chosen. We made the Dirty Pictures records right after that. The first song I put out after that was called “Revolution Rock ‘n’ Roll,” which was a song where I kind of publicly recommitted myself to what I do in a much more mature way than I had done before.

That’s really awesome, man, because I can relate to you, man. I’ve been doing this site for 10 years and I don’t make a lot of money with it. There’s times I want to give up and quit, but something happens and I just realize that I’ve been doing it this long. I can’t give up because all the people we’re reaching.

Yeah. I mean, listen, I have a song that we do on stage almost every night. To me it was kind of like the B side and I never thought of it as one of them. Our biggest songs right then called “Me N Annie.” In the song I say, “You’re talking about money, you’re talking about success, I’m talking about happiness.”

Our fans just embraced that song. We have fans that have gotten that tattooed. Those words really meant something to our fans. I sing it every night on stage and it really means something to me. You can’t go into any field of entertainment or expression of art or passion if the pursuit is just about money or success. Then you may find yourself disappointed. But I’m not in it [for money]. I’m not in this game for that. I feel like I’m doing something special. And the relationship that I’ve gotten with our fan base and the connections that we have is [something] I’m going to ride this as far as I can go.

Low Cut Connie performs at Sea.Hear.Now on Saturday September 22 starting at 4 p.m. at The Park Stage.


Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, HBO shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- Anchored in Asbury, TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.


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