Low Cut Connie: Music and fights
One of the perks of covering the sport of boxing is the access granted in order to immerse ones self in everything that is the pugilistic art form. It’s comes with the territory of being a part of the unsung group that is the boxing media fraternity. Along with this access comes the opportunity to network with boxing fans on fight night. For this writer, one such instance happened during a show earlier this year at the Sugar House Casino in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On that particular evening, I was introduced to Adam Weiner, the lead singer of the indie rock band Low Cut Connie.
Steve Fleisher (South Philadelphia and South Jersey’s unofficial mayor) made the introduction and, since then, countless fistic conversations have taken place between Adam and me. In order to understand just how Adam and the band became fans of the sport, one needs to take a quick look into the history of the band.
The band has had success since originating in 2010. Part of this success is their song “Boozophilia,” from their second self-released album “Call Me Sylvia,” ranked as the 31st best song of 2012 by Rolling Stone magazine. President Barack Obama placed the song on his Spotify summer play list in 2015. This attention culminated with a trip to the White House to meet the President last summer.
“It was great; he was such a nice guy. He definitely controlled the room the second he walked in,” explains Weiner. “I knew about him choosing our song for his list the year before and we were honored. But when he shook my hand and asked when the next album was coming out, it legitimized that he did actually listen.”
Having the most powerful man in the free world as a fan and the most respected rock magazine on the planet enjoy your tunes is fine and dandy but, for Weiner and the band, they are not resting on any of these laurels. “We can’t. In this business, just like in boxing, it’s ‘What have you done for me lately?’ That’s part of the reason that I admire fighters. It’s all about determination,” emphatically states Weiner. He believes this so much that he named the independent record label to which his band is signed Contender Records, complete with a boxing ring logo.
Think again if you believe it’s purely because the band is based out of Philadelphia that it makes them tough. Believe me, they do a fine job of that on their own. It’s due to the aforementioned determination and dedication to their craft that the connection between music and fights was inspired. “We could have went the usual route to success in the industry that many bands do. That’s fine and congrats to them. We just decided to carve out our own lane.” In any business, going it on your own is tough, more so in the entertainment and sports world.
“We live our music all year. Just like any all-time great fighter or fighter that wants to be great. Look at (Bernard) Hopkins and (Floyd) Mayweather (Jr.); they are always about boxing. Well, we are always about our music,” certifies Weiner. RingTV.com editor Doug Fischer once wrote that “If you were to cut open the head of Felix Trinidad, all you would find is a boxing glove.” I get the feeling that if you were to do the same with Weiner, you would find a piano and microphone.
As we sat at the famous Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar (voted one of the Top 10 dive bars in the country and where the music video for Boozophilia was shot), I noticed that, while a nice cold Heineken was in front of Yours Truly, Weiner was sipping on an ice-cold pineapple juice on the rocks. “I gave up drinking a couple years back. We want to be a long-lasting band and not burn ourselves out, especially since we are constantly on the road touring,” he said. I was shocked, since this was not what I thought a rock star would behave, considering the fact that the band had just came off a national tour. “My voice is my livelihood, so I have to take care of it as much as possible,” explains Weiner.
He adds, “I’m a performer, so I enjoy being aware of the audience that we are playing in front of. I have to be able to be on my toes in order to control the mood of the crowd emotionally.” When I make a comparison with how fighters have to be aware of how a fight is unfolding and how the greats have to make adjustments to not only control the fight but to let the judges and the crowd know it too, Weiner simply responded, “Absolutely.”
Los Angeles Weekly wrote of a Low Cut Connie live show that “Their ferocious live show is unmatched by anyone in rock right now,” while Rolling Stone has compared Weiner’s piano prowess and frontman stylings to the late, great Jerry Lee Lewis. High praise, to say the least.
That’s something Weiner does not take lightly, “It’s about conditioning. Just like the fighter that usually wins, well, the band that can give it their all for two hours a show every night. They are the ones declared the winners.” So far, the basic gym has been good enough for Weiner. However I have an inclination that an introduction to some of the Philly boxing gyms is going to be necessary before any future national tours.
All of the dedication and determination are not just marketing points for Low Cut Connie, like they are for other bands and – heck, for that matter – some fighters. They actually pay off for the band. Recently Rolling Stone named their latest album “Dirty Pictures (Part 1)” one of the top records of 2017, so I guess President Obama wasn’t the only person looking forward to its release.
In fact, earlier this week, on Beats 1 Radio’s “ Elton John’s Rocket Hour,” which is hosted by Sir Elton himself, “Rock Piano” from Dirty Pictures was featured. Not only was it played by Elton John but, after the song, the “Rocket Man” commented, “I love that so much.”
As for the upcoming boxing schedule, which, unfortunately for a big boxing fan, Weiner is not always able to catch, due to shows. “I’m going with (Danny) Garcia over (Adrien) Broner. Garcia is peaking and Broner has had some issues. That’s my quick snap on that fight,” states Weiner. “As for the Mayweather-(Conor) McGregor thing…I think the whole thing is an intriguing sideshow. I think these media events they’ve been doing have been total bullshit and got increasingly staged and nasty and I think the recent language that got thrown around between them was horrendous. My quick prediction is McGregor goes the distance but Mayweather gets the fight.” It’s clear that Low Cut Connie and Adam Weiner know their music and boxing.
Like any true boxing fan, he is anxiously awaiting the mega-fight between THE RING Magazine/lineal middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez and IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin. While I couldn’t get Weiner to pick a definite winner, he did offer this much: “It has the chance to be a modern-day classic.”
Low Cut Connie is constantly on tour, so look for their dates on Ticketmaster. You can find their music on any of today’s streaming services…
And a great reference to Goodfellas in a terrific cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into the Fire”: