Long before Jersey-born, Philly dwelling Adam Weiner was the singing, sweating, piano-pounding, piled high hair centerpiece of the rocking, soulful Low Cut Connie, he was all by himself, playing at the 88s as Ladyfingers. Famously, he did the dive bar circuit in Manhattan gay bars and karaoke joints, as well as small Philadelphia rooms such as Bar Noir and the lounge atop the Troc, all with a sound and pace that was more melancholy and slow than the frenetic Low Cut Connie. By 2011, Weiner morphed the moody Ladyfingers into LCC, recorded two self-released albums back-to-back (Get Out the Lotion in 2011, Call Me Sylvia in 2012), and the rest was hard hell-raising history.
Cut to the present day.
On the heels of the due-in-2020 album, Private Lives, Low Cut Connie has just released an Atlantic City-inspired new ballad, “Look What They Did,” with Weiner hitting the boards, solo, at the upstairs Loft at City Winery Philadelphia on February 20 and March 26.
I caught up with Weiner for a brief tete-a-tete the morning his new single dropped.
A.D. Amorosi: How much of this solo show stems from your days as Ladyfingers?
Adam Weiner: I’ve always wanted to get back to the raw eyeball-to-eyeball solo thing from my ladyfingers days. I love doing the full-tilt boogie of the LCC shows, but it feels good to get down in the trenches again.
A.D. Amorosi: How much of Ladyfingers is still part of you, part of Low Cut Connie?
Adam Weiner: It’s all a flow, all an evolution. I don’t think much about it, but I guess Connie is just a more pure-hearted version of the Ladyfingers thing… No irony, more soul.
A.D. Amorosi: In the tightest way possible, what do you recall about that morph from LF to LCC happening in the first place, save for just not wanting to be alone on stage, and quiet?
Adam Weiner: LCC was an accidental pregnancy, but once it happened… It was powerful. It changed my life. I am a shy little introverted weirdo by nature, but, with LCC, I fully bloomed into a totally liberated performer at-your-service. Ladyfingers was a little more brainy. Connie is all heart and soul and I don’t over-think it.
A.D. Amorosi: How long have you been thinking of hanging out just by yourself on stage again – and do you get much of a chance to do so when it isn’t so public as a gig at City Winery?
Adam Weiner: Solo performance is my bread and butter. I did it for years and I love the purity of it. I’m lucky to have gotten Connie to a level where I can stretch out and present the songs in this stripped-down way and the fans are right there with me. I want to keep exploring all these things.. but at the same time, I love my day job with the full band and I intend to keep it. I want to offer people both things… Soft touch and rough hands.
A.D. Amorosi: How did you get to “Look What They Did” in the first place – it’s your most gut hurt, yet sentimental, yet lost soul/injustice oriented songs in… forever?
Adam Weiner: It just kinda happened. I’ve spent so much time in Atlantic City throughout my life and I love it. But it saddens me how blighted it is and how poorly-treated the citizens have been. It makes me emotional. This is the type of song I couldn’t have made when I was younger and dumber. Now I see things better and am willing to sing freely.
A.D. Amorosi: The Trump imagery in the video – is that more about his takedown of your adopted Atlantic City or a deeper more politicized statement? Or are the two impossible to tear from each other?
Adam Weiner: I am simply interested in how people live. And in the case of Atlantic City, and urban blight throughout our country, I try to understand how people live and experience daily struggle through their eyeballs. It’s no more and no less than that.
A.D. Amorosi: The literally and figuratively moving photo essay by Alex Wroblewski – how did you two decide what was what, what would get captured?
Adam Weiner: Alex reached out and said he wanted to do a photo or video project. He is a fabulous photojournalist. He has shot in conflict zones around the world, as well as Ferguson and Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. I wanted to take him to Atlantic city and show him around and hoped that he would see everything that I love about it and everything that is so deeply distressing about it. He took the ball from there and kinda nailed it.
A.D. Amorosi: How could “Look What They Did” signal where the next LCC LP is going?
Adam Weiner: The new LP comes out this fall. It’s powerful. I think people are going to get their hair blown back by this one. I tried to be as pure as possible with it, no irony, no diversions, no shiny objects.