Adam Weiner on recording at Memphis’ Ardent Studios and the late Prince
Coming up, Low Cut Connie singer and pianist Adam Weiner absorbed a variety of musical styles as he flitted between part-time jobs playing piano at a gay bar, in elder-care facilities and in theater classes.
“I had all kinds of gigs, so I had a wide repertoire, but Low Cut Connie was just this gut-bucket rock 'n' roll thing in the beginning,” said Weiner, reached at home in Philadelphia. “People consider us to be a party band. I guess we played into that idea for a minute, but I just let more in [on the band's fourth full-length, Dirty Pictures (Part 1), from 2017]. There's a song on the album called ‘Forever' that I guess you'd say is a ballad, and there's no irony in it at all. I don't do irony well. But I think that song caught some of our fans off-guard.”
“Forever,” coming on the heels of the band's strutting cover of Prince's “Controversy,” plays like an extended eulogy for the late musician, Weiner singing, “All of our heroes are dying tonight/They're flying up into the sky” atop a stately trickle of piano.
“I guess [the song] felt right there,” said Weiner, who joins his bandmates in concert at Rumba Cafe on Wednesday, Jan. 24. “I'm a child of the '80s, so I grew up with [Prince's] music and videos. For me, he's the gold standard of what it is to be an artist. After he passed, like so many artists, I just wanted to do something to not just celebrate him, but to make sure that spirit stays alive. … I've stolen and learned all my shit from him.”
The Low Cut Connie bandmates recorded Dirty Pictures at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. Or, more accurately, in Studio C — alternately known as the ZZ Top room since the Texas trio recorded its debut album in the wood-paneled room, which has changed little since the early 1970s. On a handful of tracks, guitarist James Everhart even played a six-string that once belonged to late musician Chris Bell of Big Star, which also recorded in the facility.
Though the band is no stranger to famed studios — the musicians also recently recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, epicenter of the Muscle Shoals sound and host to everyone from Aretha Franklin to Wilson Pickett — Weiner stressed that setting isn't essential to the LCC sound.
“At the end of the day, you just have to let loose and do your thing no matter where you are. I've worked in legacy studios, and our first album was done in my friend's garage,” he said. “Different things call for different rooms. If someone said, ‘Record your next album in the Walmart parking lot,' we could do it.”
That said, the frontman isn't willing to discount the effect of recording in Memphis, where he lived for six months during college and where the band regrouped to make Dirty Pictures (Part 2), due later this year.
“[Musician and producer] Jim Dickinson used to say that the proximity to and humidity from the Mississippi River and the Delta makes the molecules behave differently, and so you get this better sound,” Weiner said. “I don't know anything about that, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was true.”