In 2010, Cherry Hill native Adam Weiner teamed up with friend and drummer/guitarist Dan Finnemore from Birmingham, England and created what has become the energetic, rock and roll group Low Cut Connie, now based in Philadelphia.
Since then, they have released three albums, attracted a loyal fan base, put on more than 100 shows a year and started gearing up to work on their fourth album.
Weiner, 36, who provides lead vocals and plays a piano named Shondra, talked a bit about growing up in the area, what’s next for the band and his music influences.
Did you go to synagogue growing up?
Yeah, [Congregation] Beth El on the west side of Cherry Hill.
Do you go now anywhere in Philly?
I don’t. Sadly, I travel so much. I don’t really do anything with any regularity.
Does your Jewish identity impact your music or your lifestyle at all?
In many, many ways. I think — am I allowed to use the word “Jewy” in this article? [laughs] Yeah, I mean most people who know me will tell you despite my lack of synagogue attendance, I’m extremely Jewy. It just gives you a world view and a sense of humor and a way of relating to the world a little bit as an outsider and with a lot of humor, and those things are in my music every day.
Who did you listen to growing up? What do you listen to now?
Oh man, there’s so much. I don’t think we have time. I really got into — my family is like a Frank Sinatra kind of family, but I really got into old southern music — black blues, country, early rock and roll, Elvis, Little Richard, and that is the music that has influenced me the most. And I spent a lot of time down south. I lived in Memphis, Tenn., Austin, Texas, and I lived in Canada for a couple years in Montreal and really traveled the world with my music. And now I’m back in the area where I grew up and it feels good, but I feel like I’ve brought many years of listening and meeting all kinds of crazy people and that is part of my music now.
How would you describe Low Cut Connie’s sound?
Oh man. It’s rock and roll. Most of our fans use the phrase “booze and fun” when they talk about us.
You guys are known for having pretty energetic and lively shows, I would say. Do you have a favorite song that you perform live?
These days, I’m a little bit partial to our song “Boozophilia.” It’s our best-known song and President Obama chose it for his presidential playlist last summer.
I was going to ask you about that, actually. Do you still talk about that? Have you gotten over it?
Well, I got to meet the president about three weeks ago because of it, so yeah, I’m definitely still talking about it [laughs].
What was that like for you guys? What was your reaction?
It was pretty amazing and the president — it’s so hard to believe that he’s really a fan, but he is — I got to spend about two minutes with him and he said, “I like your style, I like what you do, keep it up.”
How do you respond to that?
I just said thank you so much and keep up the great work.
I feel like “Shake It Little Tina” would be also be a lot of fun to perform.
We do that all the time, and people love that song. It’s really cool that a song about a guy that dresses up like Tina Turner on the weekends has become so popular with people of all stripes and varieties.
Hi Honey [Low Cut Connie’s third studio release] has been out for about a year now. What did you enjoy about working on that album?
It was really cool working with a lot of guest artists. We had a horn section and some of the singers from Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings with us, and my friend Dean Ween played guitar and Merrill Garbus from Tune-Yards sang on “Little Queen of New Orleans.” We had a lot of people who were just excited to be in the studio with us, and I think it gave us a bigger sound. And in three weeks we’re going back in the studio to make our fourth album.
How did working on Hi Honey change your guys’ songwriting and sound going forward, because I think it sounded a bit different from your previous records. How is that going to affect what you’re working on now?
I think Hi Honey was like maturing a little bit, and getting — you know, people think of us as a party band, and I think it is a very upbeat album, but I think we tried to show people we could do a more R&B side of rock and roll, old rhythm and blues style, and the record that we’re about to make is a little bit more raw, more like our first album [Get Out The Lotion] and a little noisier, a little more raucous.
What are you looking forward to about going back to that kind of sound?
We’re so busy these days. We’re doing over 100 shows a year, and we’ve become a pretty great live band and I’m just excited to go back in the studio and set up like we do at our shows and capture the energy from our live shows in the studio. And I also think this time with this record, there’s a lot of things going on in our lives and in the world that are worth talking about so I think we’re going to dig a little deeper with the subject matter.
What are you looking forward to about performing in the XPoNential Music Festival?
Oh my God, so many things. First of all, XPN has been so good to us, and we’re just so happy to have the opportunity to do this, but I think we are going to really blow up the stage and turn a lot of people on that day and I’m very excited to have a big crowd and move people and get them dancing and make them feel something.
Catch Low Cut Connie on July 24 at Wiggins Park.
Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0740