So, How Was Your Decade is a series in which the decade’s most innovative musicians answer our questionnaire about the music, culture, and memorable moments that shaped their decade. We’ll be rolling these pieces out throughout December.
Early in the 2010s, rock & roll revivalists Low Cut Connie were a band without a home, releasing their own records after they received rejection slips from 20 different major labels. “At the time, those were all terrible blows,” singer Adam Weiner told Rolling Stone in 2018, “but now I see it as a blessing.” It was a blessing for music fans too. The band put out five great albums this decade, full of fun, often hilarious, sometimes offhandedly incisive songs that can bring to mind anything from Jerry Lee Lewis to Philly soul to the New York Dolls. It’s a sound and spirit that’s won them the endorsement of Barack Obama (who included a Connie song on one of his presidential mixtapes), Bruce Springsteen, and Elton John. But their most important supporters were the fans who turned out in droves for their sweaty, joyously chaotic shows.
Here, Weiner reflects on his band’s wild ride during the 2010s, his most excellent stage outfit, and more.
So, how was your decade? A wild ride. In 2010, I was working as a teacher and SAT tutor, playing piano in bars and restaurants for tips on the weekends. I had kinda decided that an entertainment career was never gonna happen for me. Now I travel the world doing 120 shows a year, performing for all kinds of fantastic people. My life has changed a lot.
My favorite album of the 2010s was: Those Darlins’ Screws Get Loose is very close to my heart. We lost my pal Jessi a few years ago who wrote and sang some real killers on that record. She was an amazing talent, and I want people to remember her.
My favorite song of the 2010s was: I can’t pick just one. Let me just spitball here: Tune-Yards’ “Bizness,” David Bowie’s “Lazarus,” Kendrick Lamar’s “King Kunta,” Prince’s “Breakfast Can Wait,” Charles Bradley’s “Changes,” Galactic’s [with Macy Gray] “Into the Deep,” Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games,” Sun Kil Moon’s “Carissa,” Cardi B’s “Be Careful,” and Low Cut Connie’s “Revolution Rock n Roll.” Pretty whack to pick my own song, but I do think it’s good.
The artist who had the best decade was: Prince. I know it’s a weird answer. But since his death there has been an explosion of appreciation for his genius, and lots of amazing new material keeps coming out. I feel like a lot of his work feels bigger and more vital than ever. We will never see another like him.
The craziest thing that happened to me in the 2010s was: Barack Obama putting “Boozophilia” on his first Spotify playlist … and then getting invited to the White House to meet him. Nothing can really touch that one.
My least favorite trend in music this decade was: The shift to cultivating “followers” instead of “fans.” I think it’s terrible.
The TV show I couldn’t stop streaming in the 2010s was: Queer Eye. Those guys are doing great stuff. I cry my fucking eyes out every episode.
Best film you saw? I loved The Florida Project. I’ve stayed in a lot of fleabag motels over the years, and that one really resonated. Faces Places is another personal favorite.
The best new slang term of the decade was: “Humblebrag.” Everyone is doing it now at all times. “I am so humbled and grateful to have made a million dollars this year and eaten only organic foods. I am blessed to be having the sex I have always dreamed of having. Thank you for being a part of my journey.” I gag at this kinda shit.
The best live show I saw in the 2010s was: Leonard Cohen at Radio City. His first big U.S. comeback show. The energy in the building was completely electric. David Byrne and Elvis Costello were in front of me in line to get in. There was a standing ovation after every song. I get chills thinking about that show. What an amazing last chapter for Leonard.
The most surprising encounter I had with a fellow artist this decade was: Bruce Springsteen backstage at his Broadway show. He and Patti were so kind, and Bruce said some very encouraging things about Low Cut Connie. I grew up in New Jersey in the Eighties, so this was kinda like getting blessed by the Pope.
The misstep I learned the most from in the 2010s was: I made a lot of mistakes. I wasted a lot of time and energy trying to get labels to sign me. I’ve heard the phrase “We like it, but we wouldn’t know what to do with it” about 87 times. Ultimately, it hasn’t really mattered. I also let a lot of self-doubt hold me back for too long. Complexes about my appearance, sexuality, talent … blah blah blah. That was a buncha bullshit. I tried to do things by committee.… That was stupid, that never works in art or business. Oh, and I got arrested in Texas. That was really stupid.
The best book I read this decade was: Just Kids by Patti Smith. Completely inspiring. Patti is a real hero of mine. In my teens and early twenties, I worked at a mall in New Jersey in the town where Patti went to high school. Like her, I moved to New York City to shed my skin and pursue art. For me, the book is a testament to committing fully to a life in art. Thank you for this wonderful book, Patti.
Something cool I did this decade that nobody noticed was: I wish more people could witness what went down every night at these shows I just did with my pal Big Freedia. It was an outrageous mix of people gettin’ down together. It was scandalous and uplifting. If you were there, you know what I mean.
The strangest thing someone said about me in the media this decade was: Early in the band, a certain media entity wrote an essay about me and the band that described Low Cut Connie as “alcoholic, sex-addicted traveling charmers.” They used phrases like “men as animals,” “gluttons,” “devils,” and “Vince Vaughn.” The whole uber-macho/lecherous tag was a real bummer. Around the same time, a prominent blog slammed me for what they described as anti-Semitic humor. I am a Jew and used to do this Hebrew shtick during one song that used to kill every night in New York, Philly, etc. I did the song in a city down South and some people just really did not know what the fuck to think, including this particular writer apparently. And around the same time I started getting homophobic comments online and at shows. The band was being called “bros” and “f—-ts” and “Jew haters” all at the same time. For those that know anything about me, that was some seriously dumb shit.
The best outfit I wore this decade was: Custom skintight moose-knuckle tux pants, torn tank top — lots of nipples, chest hair, and gold headscarf. I love dressing and undressing for my fans. They have given me so much and helped me get over so many hang-ups. They deserve a good show.
The most “2010s” moment of the 2010s was: Trump and his wife slow-dancing to an off-key cover band doing “My Way.” Puke-adelic display of anti-art.
My biggest hope for the 2020s is: Health and happiness and great art for all of you. Love you all.