A quiz question for you: how many rock bands with a piano-playing frontman can you name? Okay, so someone like Muse’s Matt Bellamy might tickle the keys for the odd song, Freddie Mercury-style, but it’s not their primary means of expression. And others who fit the bill, such as Ben Folds Five, don’t exactly rock the house. But for Adam Weiner, the ivories-hammering frontman with Philadelphia five-piece Low Cut Connie, the piano is one of the great instruments in rock.
“Rock’n’roll was built on piano,” he states. “Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis are the purest rock’n’roll ever, and I’m just trying to pick up where they left off. To me the piano is a percussion instrument. People think of it as a very luscious, beautiful, melodic instrument, and it can be that, sure. But it’s also percussive. It’s also a piece of furniture that I can stand on, or jump off, and indulge my Napoleon complex to make me taller than everyone else on stage.”
With Weiner doing his piano ‘thing’, he and his bandmates make a righteous, riotous racket that is fast making them one of the most exciting live bands in America. And with their fourth album, Dirty Pictures (Part 1), they’ve also shown themselves to be consummate songwriters who combine gutsy R&B grooves with a gut-punching rock edge, irreverent wit and shamelessly sleazy joie de vivre.
The video for current single Revolution Rock’n’Roll is a good indicator of their party-hearty approach: all human life is here, from blow-up dolls to bisexual shower shenanigans, punk rock pensioners, naked pizza misadventure and toe-smoking (hard to explain, just watch it), with a cast of thousands filmed at a homecoming gig and aftershow.
“Our Philly shows are usually a bit extra-crazy compared to the craziness of everywhere else,” Weiner explains, “and we often throw after-parties. I had a photographer friend of mine shoot the whole night, and we used it for the show because that’s the world that we inhabit.”
It’s a world where rock would be nothing without the roll, as reflected in LCC’s louche Stonesy strut of Dirty Water, the Jerry Lee Lewis-style rumble of Death And Destruction and their feisty, bottom-heavy cover of Prince’s Controversy.
As the band’s reputation has spread slowly over five years of gigging across the States, they’ve gained a lot of fans – including Barack Obama, who while in office included LCC’s Boozophilia on his summer 2015 Spotify playlist. And Weiner even got to meet the great man.
“It was surreal,” he recalls. “He chose Aretha Franklin, the Stones, Stevie Wonder and us. He told me he was looking forward to hearing our next record and said: ‘I like your style. Keep it up.’”
Nice one. But what if Trump came calling?
“I’m pretty certain he doesn’t like music at all.”
Dirty Pictures (Part One) is out on May 19 via Contender.
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“Originally rock’n’roll was really dance music,” Weiner says of the band’s influences. “That’s the stuff I like the best and all the bands we love. From The Faces to the Stones to Sly Stone, they played heavy rock’n’roll that you could move your ass to. That’s what we do. A lot of rock has lost the boogie. We’re trying to bring it back.”