Get To Know The Lawsuits

the lawsuits
We caught up with local guys and gal The Lawsuits, who were nice enough to take time out of their busy schedule to talk with Rock On Philly about some exciting things in the works, including a record release show in support of their new EP Tumbled at Johnny Brenda’s on September 26. The Bucks County quintet is comprised of Brian Dale Allen Strouse (songwriter/vocals/guitar), Brendan Cunningham (bass), Vanessa Winters (vocals), Josh Friedman (drums), and Joe Bisirri (guitar/piano). As a preview, Rock On Philly asked them some questions to get to know the band a little better.

ROP: Is it safe to say you guys have been keeping busy this year?

The Lawsuits: We played the XPN Festival and The Campfire Festival this summer. But we’d like to be touring more to be honest. We’ve been recording a ton. A full album (Cool, Cool, Cool), two EPs, and another album’s worth of material.

ROP: And didn’t you guys jump on a new “Philly” record label with Ron Gallo?

The Lawsuits: Actually Brian and Ron launched the label together, but Ron likes to take credit…(laugh) just kidding. The label is called American Diamond Recordings and includes TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb, The Levee Drivers, Ron Gallo’s solo work, and Ron‘s original band Toy Soldiers.

ROP: How about a little band history? How did you guys form?

The Lawsuits: Well, we all grew up in Bucks County. Brian, Brendan and Vanessa played in the first formation of the band The Lawsuits. It was a much larger lineup with 8 or 9 people at times including a horn section. Brendan and Vanessa actually went to the same elementary school (Yardley), Josh and Brendan both played bass in high school. Josh switched over to drums and won the position outright in a band tryout; he was the only one who showed up (more laughs). Joe completed the lineup, helping with production.

ROP: How did you guys come up with the name The Lawsuits?

The Lawsuits: Both of Brian’s brothers are lawyers. Someone from the original lineup came up with it and it stuck. It is kind of a polarizing name but at this point it would be hard to change the name and we like it. We get a lot of the same questions like, “have you guys been sued or something?”

ROP: Who are some of your musical influences?

The Lawsuits: We’ve answered this question before and not liked our answer.

ROP: Is it a bs question?

The Lawsuits: It is kind of a bs question but at the same time it is relevant because people want to know who inspires us.

ROP: Well, after listening to your EP and Cool, Cool, Cool…

Brian: Who do you got? drumroll….

ROP: I may lose you here but I hear a bit of Philly classic Hall & Oates?

Brian: I’ll take that.

ROP: And some Steely Dan.

Brian: A studio band…but a great one at that.

Brendan: The song “Darla Nye” has drawn comparisons to Bright Eyes and Jim James and I think we’re all flattered for those comparisons.

ROP: Yeah. That’s not bad company right there. Since we’re on the topic, what have you guys been listening to lately?

Joe: While we were working the kinks out on the EP I was listening to the last Vampire Weekend album a lot.

Brendan: It’s a couple years old now but I really like Frank Ocean‘s Channel Orange. Also, earlier this year I went back and listened to Elvis Costello‘s records.

Brian: Sturgill Simpson. We played a show with him at Underground Arts this year back in March. At the time, no one had heard of him but he put out that album this year and he’s blown up. We really like his album (Metamodern Sounds of Country Music). It’s like he’s from another world and a lot of people don’t appreciate it because its based in traditional country.

Josh: I’ve been listening to a lot of psyche rock lately. Tame Impala and Temples. My taste changes so often.

ROP: What are some of the artists you’ve enjoyed sharing the stage with?

The Lawsuits: Good Old War, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Lake Street Dive, and Delta Spirit to name a few.

ROP: What are some of the venues you guys enjoy playing?

The Lawsuits: Johnny Brenda’s, Underground Arts and Boot & Saddle. We’d like to play Union Transfer soon. Connie’s Ric Rac (laughs). That was probably our worst show. It’s was back during the Phillies‘ 2008 World Series run. They projected the game right on us so you would hear cheers and jeers during our songs (more laughs).

ROP: Favorite spots/things to do in Philly?

Brian: I love Philadelphia. I grew up in the suburbs of Philly and have lived here my whole life. Sundays were spent watching Randall Cunningham and I’m a  fan of all Philly sports teams.

ROP: Since we’re on the topic of football. Any of you guys in fantasy football leagues?

Brian: Yeah I am. I’m in a keeper league with my fiance’s brother.

ROP: Who’s your number one overall pick this year?

Brian: First pick has to be LeSean McCoy. But let’s talk a bit about some sleepers. I think T.Y. Hilton is going to have a good year. Matthew Stafford, he puts up huge numbers.

ROP: How about you Vanessa?

Vanessa: I like going to games but I don’t understand the obsession with watching them on TV all the time.

ROP: So what do you watch instead?

Vanessa: I’m into TV shows: True Detective, House of Cards, I’m rewatching Arrested Development and Parks and Recreation.

ROP: All great shows.

Brendan: There’s a Simpsons marathon going on right now.

ROP: That’s right it is!

The Lawsuits: We also have been watching a lot of Stand-up comedy. We love John Mulaney and Hannibal Buress.

Go catch The Lawsuits record release party at Johnny Brenda’s on Friday September 26 and look for their new EP Tumbled to come out on Tuesday September 23. Find the tracklist below. Keep an eye on this Philly band to watch.

Tumbled
1. (Darla Nye) Never Love Someone
2. Gimme Gimme
3. Sweet Marcelle
4. You Aren’t the Same

2 Comments

  1. ojr107

    September 6, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    So the Lawsuits answer some questions in unison? That’s some serious band cohesion.

  2. ojr107

    September 6, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    In addition to the Johnny Brenda’s show, I’m really looking forward to seeing them at the River City Festlival. They and a bunch of other good local bands will be playing outdoors, for free, in beautiful Penn Treaty Park.
    I highly recommend people give a listen to Cool, Cool, Cool, one of my favorite albums of 2013

    http://www.rivercityfestival.org

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