So, How Was Your 2020? is a series in which our favorite entertainers answer our questionnaire about the music, culture and memorable moments that shaped their year. We’ll be rolling these pieces out throughout December.
In October, Low Cut Connie released their sixth LP Private Lives, a double album which — recorded pre-pandemic — featured frontman Adam Weiner collaborating with over 40 musical friends. “I’m obsessed with understanding people’s interior lives,” Weiner said of the album in April, before society was forced to spend the rest of the year with a near-constant window into everyone’s interior lives, whether via Zoom calls or socially distanced hangouts. “Times are tough, but we’re making it the fuck through,” Weiner recently told Rolling Stone.
Unable to tour in support of the new album, Weiner has spent his downtime reconnecting with old albums by Aretha Franklin and Sly & the Family Stone, learning how to cook oatmeal, trying roller skating and once again being in awe of Bob Dylan. “Still writing truthful, penetrating songs at age 79,” he said.
The album I listened to the most in 2020 was:
There’s a Riot Goin’ On by Sly & the Family Stone. So heavy. Sly had such a purely American dream with his music and then it turned dark and dreadful. The dream is still there but it’s polluted. Deep stuff.
My favorite TV show to stream during quarantine was:
Mostly been watching 1980s Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin movies. It’s good to laugh.
The song that will define “2020” for me is:
“The Harder They Come” by Jimmy Cliff. Been singing it throughout quarantine on my livestream series and it never fails to lift my spirits. I need to get myself lifted and ninja-focused, so that I can get other people lifted and ninja-focused. Jimmy Cliff is brilliant for this.
I’d define my current state of mind as:
“Unflappable.” Very much “I got this” energy. Times are tough, but we’re making it the fuck through. And I’ll be goddamned if I don’t learn some important shit in the process.
The viral video I kept coming back to in quarantine was:
The video of Brazilian piano Joao Carlos Martins using “bionic” gloves to relearn to play the piano after 20 years without the use of his hands. Very powerful.
The old-favorite album I returned to for comfort this year was:
Aretha. Lady Soul. She was a genius.
The old-favorite movie I returned to for comfort this year was:
The Best of Youth. An Italian movie from about 20 years ago. Have you seen it? I watch it every few years and I feel like I relate to the characters as they age. I cry more now when I watch it than when I was younger. It’s good to cry.
A new hobby I picked up in quarantine was:
I tried to roller skate and immediately fell on my ass. I had not done it since I was like 10 and I was going through a serious regressing phase. Apparently it is not like riding a bike.
The celebrity I’d most want to quarantine with is:
Prince. So I could learn how to do everything I do better. I miss that guy.
The most interesting thing I learned to cook during quarantine was:
Oatmeal. I still suck at cooking.
The best book I read in quarantine was:
Grace Jones’ autobiography I’ll Never Write My Memoirs. She is an absolute force of nature.
Something positive that happened to me that nobody noticed was:
I made a lot of new fans. It ain’t easy being a performer during a global pandemic, but I found a way. Doing Tough Cookies feels like walking a tightrope but I love every second of it. Private Lives was really well received as well, which was very gratifying cuz I do indeed think it’s good. Contrary to popular opinion, releasing a double album during a global pandemic is not a walk in the park.
The mistake I learned the most from this year was:
Making plans. Every time I planned something, it got cancelled. No more big planning, just trying to be useful in the present. Today I am going to play Professor Longhair on the piano and try to learn how to do a split. That’s as far as I have sketched out.
The biggest hero of 2020 was:
Bob Dylan. Still writing truthful, penetrating songs at age 79.
A word or phrase I never want to hear again is:
The thing I’m least looking forward to in 2021 is:
I have to get my license renewed next year. The DMV in Philly is the third ring of hell.
The thing I’m most looking forward to doing when the pandemic is over is:
Hugs and kisses.
My biggest hope for 2021 is:
Hugs and kisses.