Back when Low Cut Connie singer Adam Weiner was growing up the video was the thing. He remembers watching his favorite band's new clips on MTV and marveling at the stories they told. That's the vibe his band was trying to catch with the gritty clip for "Beverly," the first single from the Philadelphia band's upcoming album, Dirty Pictures (Part 2).
"This album I was getting into writing more character sketches, so the song is married to the image," he tells Billboard about the video, premiering here. After years of being tagged with the same "low-life bar band" descriptions, Weiner knew there was much more to his group than that, and he set out to write songs from a different perspective.
"I've written a lot of songs about women and this particular album has a few -- Dirty Pictures (Part 1) had 'Angela' -- which had a similar conceit, of being about a woman, but also really exposing the frame of who’s speaking, which is the guy," he says. "I don’t really know and I don’t think you should know everything that’s up with this character."
The composite "character" he's describing, made up from people he's met and experiences he's had over the years, is played by a performer/visual/artist/burlesque actress who goes by Centerfold Angel. Weiner, who co-directed the video with photographer Joe Wehner, says the idea was to capture the world of the song and what Angel's life is like. "She has this 'be your own sex symbol' credo and she puts it out there, very sex positive," Weiner says of the video's star, who prefers not to use her given name.
Dressed mostly in lingerie and revealing outfits, Angel is seem walking from one red-light situation to the next, grabbing a life-affirming smoke in the back of a truck bed, hitchhiking, posing for provocative pics in gritty hotel rooms while modeling a series of wigs that allow her to try on different personas. "I'm screaming your name/ Bent over backwards while you watch the game/ You're making faces just to feed the flame/ It's such a shame/ Beverly, come on and talk to me," Weiner pleads over the song's plaintive piano and weepy guitars.
The singer/pianist describes the video's main character as "somewhere between homeless and settled," a women suspended in limbo between motels and temporary housing, or jumping from car to car and house to house, not unlike a band on the road 100 days a year.
"When we're on the road we stay in really low-rent motels, and I meet a lot of people living there for the week, month or year, and you hear such amazingly crazy stories," says Weiner. "Some are very sad, and what I found intriguing about this character is her existence is entirely isolated and really day-to-day, but she maintains this spirit, this inspiration, this glamour that she carries with her."
More importantly, Weiner wanted it to be Angel's story, which is why LCC is not featured in the clip. "What I'm inspired by is people who live in those circumstances yet find joy in some sort of temporary happiness in their situation and Beverly is trying to do that in this video," he says. "She's finding glamour and sexiness and beauty in whatever container she's in." The song was a kind of writing breakthrough for Weiner as well. He says that instead of doing what he typically does: writing a song about a woman from the perspective of the male gaze, he tried to focus on desire, aware that he could never truly step into a woman's shoes.
"I can't do that as a man, but I felt like I tried something with this song. And maybe I can't go all the way there, but I can take myself and my voice out of it, and explore her situation from whatever lens she's looking through," he says.
Check out the "Beverly" video below.