Who are you and what are you doing here? (what is your name, what is the band and what is your role in the band?)
Songwriter/Guitarist/Singer Brian Dale Allen Strouse of The Lawsuits.
How did the band start?
I’ve been writing songs long before I knew how to play an instrument. Like many people, I just screwed around with a guitar until I hit something I thought sounded cool. I started putting words and melodies to songs then. I then started playing in bands all through middle and high school. By college I had met Brendan and Vanessa through a mutual friend. We later added Josh on drums to complete the sound and line up.
How would you describe your band?
I find it difficult to put an exact description on what we do. I dig how Philadelphia-area blog, The Swollen Fox, put it: “While it’s difficult to not immediately draw comparisons to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers or The Black Crowes, particularly when describing singer Brian Dale Allen Strouse, the band proved their range stretches far past Americana, reaching into pop, gospel, jazz and perhaps even a little reggae.”
If you had to choose one song you’ve written that best defines your band which one would it be?
Hm. Because we enjoy blending a range of genres into our music, it’s difficult me to dial in on one in particular to speak for the rest. Our new album, Cool Cool Cool, best defines our band.
In this day and age where anyone is pretty much able to pick up an instrument, what would you say sets your band apart from the rest?
Let me make myself clear by saying I don’t think we’re the greatest thing since sliced bread, and since in this day and age where “anyone is pretty much able to pick up an instrument”, bands like us have to compete with those that might not be able to play their music live because they don’t really understand how they got on the recording – basically by just screwing around with effects. Yes, anyone can do this.
Now, that’s not to say I’m a true purest, because I’m not. I like effects, I like vocal processors and guitar pedals that allow you to just hit anything and make it sound cool [On stage, I only use an MXR distortion pedal for leads, occasionally a wah pedal, and I’m looking to work in a boost pedal]. What I’m not is someone that relies on these things. Subtract anything from our music you might consider to be fluff, and at its core, I believe you’ll find a good song. We use effects to enhance our sound, not define it. Sometimes I see people put down bands that rely on craft rather than art, which is a bummer. Having said all that, I’d imagine that if any of the artists from past generations, the ones that really pushed the boundaries in the studio, had access to the incredible technology of today, they’d use it.
Where are people able to hear your songs?
Are you playing any shows anytime soon (if you live outside of Australia, do you have any plans for a trip down under)?
10.16 Tammany Hall – New York, NY
10.18 Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA
10.24 Rockwood Music Hall – New York, NY
10.31 T.T. The Bear’s Place – Cambridge, MA
11.02 Tavern on Broadway – Newport, RI
We absolutely intend on touring outside of the United States. It’s just a matter of money and sensibility.
What is your proudest moment/greatest achievement as a band?
Hard to say. I believe our best days are ahead of us. I’m proud of the team that we’ve put together that helps to create and connect our music with people. I will say that the shows have gotten quite fun these days.
Tell us 3 bands that we should be listening to/be keeping an eye out for?
I’ll stick to 3 Philadelphia bands with 3 notable front men:
1. Toy Soldiers – Rock & Roll band with one of the tightest live shows I’ve ever seen. Great new album titled, The Maybe Boys. Lead guy is Ron Gallo.
2. Levee Drivers – Old school country with modern folk and rock elements. Well known for having strong lead vocals. Lead guy is August John Lutz II .
3. The Districts – Indie rock band years beyond their age. Effortless songwriting. Wild live show. Lead guy is Rob Grote.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I was listening to the radio one morning not too long ago, and The Wiggles came on and did an interview with a few songs. That lead guy is brilliant.