by Carole Verona
“Our show is very alive, rowdy and electric. At least that’s the feeling we’re going for,” said Brian Dale Allen Strouse, singer, guitarist and songwriter/lyricist for the band The Lawsuits. “We’ve all worked really hard to make the live show better. We realize it’s important when people are taking time out of their day or paying money to come and see us. We tend to get pretty wild because the response from the audience is very positive when we do that.”
The Lawsuits will bring their indie rock sound to a free concert at Pastorius Park on Wednesday, June 24, at 7:30 p.m. In addition to Brian, the band members are Brendan Cunningham, bass; Vanessa Winters, vocals; Josh Friedman, drums; and Joe Bisirri, guitar.
“We’re really excited to play Pastorius Park this year. We did play last year, kind of, two or three songs in, and the rain started pouring down,” Brian wrote on the band’s website. Michael Caruso, the Chestnut Hill Local’s music critic, said, “The pity was that those three songs revealed a four-piece band of surpassing distinction. The Lawsuits have a classic rock ‘n’ roll sound, heavy on the bass and drums but nonetheless led by the vocals. There were even passages when all the instruments dropped out to let the singing take over completely and to stunning effect. I was disappointed that I didn’t have the chance to hear more of the band’s work, and I hope to do so in the future.”
Brian isn’t sure how the band got its name. “The Lawsuits existed as a band prior to the current lineup, and I was a member back then. The current lineup has been together now for three years. Most of us met each other through mutual friends. We became close when we started playing music together and pursued the idea of a band … Our music is very eclectic. In the music industry, it’s better to pigeonhole yourself. It’s easier to sell yourself to people if you have a focused product. And that’s what we have been working on. But the way it is now, it’s all over the place.”
Since its inception, The Lawsuits have risen in popularity, locally and nationally. The band won two Annual Tri-State Indie Music Awards for Folk/American Roots Band of the Year. The most recent award was presented on April 12 at World Café Live.
The band released “Cool Cool Cool,” its first full-length album in 2013. Daytrotter, an entertainment website, chose the song “Onion” from the album as #22 on its list of the 300 best songs of 2013. The album also received favorable mentions in Rolling Stone, Spin and Paste magazines. The band released “Tumbled,” an EP, in 2014. They are currently recording a new full-length album that should be out this Fall and will debut on the San Diego record label Randm (not a typo) Records. “It’s been a really exciting, new process and experience for us,” Brian noted.
Brian, 28, grew up in New Hope where he still lives with his fiancée and his dog. He attended Kutztown University for a few years but left to pursue working in the band. Although he never studied music formally, he has been playing in bands for most of his life. Walter Strouse, his father, was a musician who played rock ‘n’ roll and country music in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and then moved on to children’s music. “It was good stuff. My dad was a large influence on me and my family in general has always been very supportive.”
Brian writes the band’s music by himself and has been trying to get into the process of writing with others. “We were recently in Nashville and some friends of ours who moved there told us that the typical greeting when musicians meet each other is “Let’s get together and write.” It’s a thing down there … The bottom line is that I don’t know where everybody gets the time to do all these things. Most of my time is spent writing and trying to record. I don’t know how people succeed so well in social media and still have time to lead normal lives.”
More information about The Lawsuits at thelawsuitsband.com. More information about the free Pastorius Park concert series at chestnuthill.org. If it rains the show will take place at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, 8000 Cherokee St.