Brian Lisik & Hard Legs – Hotsy Totsy
Actually, an impressively recorded live document (Rialto Theater in Akron, Ohio, March 12th, 2022) of a band that just puts their toe to the accelerator with pure unadulterated American rock ‘n roll. There’s sludge (probably meant to be there) but it has lift, energy & manages to drive their tunes regardless. The Brian Lisik vocals are enthusiastic but undistinguished. He’s not Marty Fortson (The Rivieras’ “California Sun” lead singer), Reg Presley (The Troggs), Jim Morrison (The Doors), John Kay (Steppenwolf), or Mick Jagger.
But Lisik holds up. The band is an entertaining unit that will get your blood boiling & feet moving. He’s closer to the type of vocalist that hit the target with “Little Girl,” (Syndicate of Sound) & “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night” (Electric Prunes).
The rockers mix up a recipe of music that hasn’t been in vogue for decades, but they are survivors of this type of showcase. On the tune “Monk,” I heard the intensity of the Velvet Underground. These musicians aren’t as innovative as the Velvets, but they are at times better sounding musicians.
Produced by Brian Lisik & Don Dixon the 41-minute Hotsy Totsy (Drops Oct 21–Cherokee Queen Records) features 12-cutting rockers that are mindful of the 70s but have a 21st Century motion – a bit more subtle & broader, bursting with head-rocking beats & solid-state music.
It’s loaded with 3-chord progressions, electrifying guitar solos the snap on the drums, but it’s the presentation of the vocalist & band in tandem that decorates the mayhem that rumbles each seat in the house. There are shades of bands that existed before many of these guys were born or were sucking pacifiers – The Strangeloves (“Cara-Lin”), the Standells (“Dirty Water”), the Yardbirds (“For Your Love”) & the aforementioned Syndicate of Sound (“Little Girl”).
The band is tight as Willie Alexander & the Boom Boom Band & cut from similar cloth. Lisik does an admirable job & the band never sounds uninspired. Obviously, the group is a good time unit & arena polish while not being in any great quantity still manages to be worth sitting through. Bands like this manage to keep the early Bruce Springsteen R&R bar band chapter going with relevance. One moment folky, then garage rock, pop, soulful Southside Johnny — all good.
Lisik (vocals/guitars), Robb Myers (guitar), Martin Flunoy (drums/vocals on “Feudal Nights”) with bass noises throughout by Steve Norgrove & Don Dixon (R.E.M. & The Smithereens). There’s nothing low-octane. Highlights – “Monk,” “Bye Bi Love,” “Junior High School,” “Anything,” & “Sights” (impressive).
B&W image courtesy Jason Chamberlain. Color image by Michael Farley Media. CD @ https://www.brianlisik.com/