The little-known band that Elton John and Barack Obama love
When President Obama’s Spotify playlist was released in 2015, it was filled with songs from giants like Bob Dylan, the Stones and Stevie Wonder. But nestled among them was “Boozophilia,” a rollicking party anthem from a little known, Philadelphia-based band named Low Cut Connie. The band will release its fifth album, “Dirty Pictures (Part 2)” and take the stage at Bowery Ballroom Friday.
When the news broke, the piano-driven rock band’s Jersey native frontman, Adam Weiner, saw his phone light up with congratulatory texts from friends and family. Surely such a high-profile endorsement would be a slingshot to stardom. But no.
“It didn’t change our fortune at all,” Weiner, 38, tells The Post. “That night we played the Holiday Inn cocktail bar in Totowa, NJ.”
Formed in 2010 — and named for a stereotypical Jersey diner waitress — Low Cut Connie was still booking its own shows and releasing its albums under his label, Contender Records, when the Spotify story came out. But it wasn’t until a September 2017 gig in a small Nashville, Tenn., record store that the band finally escaped the Garden State chain-hotel circuit.
“Someone from William Morris Endeavor heard about us and stumbled into the show,” Weiner says. “Two days later, we had six booking agents that wanted to sign us. We went with William Morris, and they’ve totally transformed our career.”
‘I grew up with Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow in the house. I couldn’t escape the schmaltz.’
Now he and his bandmates are playing major summer festivals like Bonnaroo and BottleRock. In March, they lit up South by Southwest, where Rolling Stone named them among the best 30 artists at the fest. And they’ve amassed more boldface fans: Elton John gives them heavy play on his radio show, “Rocket Hour,” and Howard Stern tapped them for a David Bowie tribute album he’s curating.
“I just refused to take no for an answer,” says Weiner, who cut his teeth playing piano in gay bars such as the TownHouse and Brandy’s on the Upper East Side while dabbling with a punk band on weekends. Before Low Cut Connie, he honed his performing chops with an act called LadyFingers that he calls a mix of “cabaret piano with lo-fi punk.”
“As much as I love rock ’n’ roll, I’m a Jewish boy from New Jersey, so I grew up with Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow in the house,” he says. “I couldn’t escape the schmaltz.”
Despite years of industry neglect, the band built a loyal fan base, thanks to its electric performances. Weiner, who treats his piano the way a gymnast would a pommel horse, is a showman of a throwback era, dripping sweat, jumping all over the stage and keeping the intensity at a constant 10.
And, amazingly, the “Boozophilia” singer is sober.
“I don’t drink. I don’t party,” Weiner says. “I like to facilitate the party for everyone else.”
Although Obama’s shoutout didn’t translate into a career boon, Weiner is still grateful. Invited to the White House in 2016, Weiner says he met the 44th president, who told him, “I like what you’re doing. I like your style. Keep it up.”
“It put wind in my sails,” Weiner says. “Barack Obama was whispering to me, ‘Just keep it up, man.’ It wasn’t a career thing. It was an inspiring thing.”
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