LJ and The Sleeze is back, bigger and better than ever as they gear up for their rerecorded record release and upcoming local gigs. This week the solo act turned group frenzy is posting a music video for the previously released track “Small Dick & No Brain” and following it up with a show at The Camel.
From the conception of LJ and The Sleeze, Max Gottesman had been running the show as a solo recording act, simply playing with a larger live band. Now, that live band has become intertwined with every part of the music making, from the stage to the recording studio in Gottesman’s basement, and beyond. As they got to rerecording all of Gottesman’s original solo songs, they have become a tight knit group, and the explosive energy has only gotten more chaotic.
In addition to Gottesman on vocals, the core members of LJ and The Sleeze are Ben Rosenstock and Gunner Timmerman on drums, Gray Stephenson and Eli Gray on guitar, and Carl Hill on Bass.
“When I was looking for a live band I specifically was looking for people who weren’t assholes, so that’s a really good plus,” said Gottesman. “There’s no assholes.”
“We’re all actually really bad at playing music, but we’re all really nice people,” said Gray.
“In the best way possible it reminds me of playing in bands I’ve played in before where it’s primarily covers,” said Rosenstock. “We all come in, learn the songs, and just have fun.”
“Book us for your weddings,” said Gottesman.
“Yeah, we will make your grandparents leave and make it really awkward,” replied Rosenstock.
In response to Gray’s point, to say these folks are bad musicians is a massive joke. They possess the ability to come in each week, recording numerous songs and recreating them in the process. Plus, this is just one of multiple other gigs for some members. For example, Timmerman plays for Mel Machete, Rosenstock for Toward Space, and Gray co-owns the company Glare Goods.
“I don’t get how you all play in this band and other bands,” said Gray. “This is my only band, but it’s so hard for me to remember when stuff happens.”
“I just watch Gunner do all the drum fills I wish I could do,” said Rosenstock. “I’m the boots and cats.”
“No, you’re the meat and potatoes,” replied Timmerman.
“We have boots and cats, and meat and potatoes,” said Gray. “How does that work?”
“All part of a balanced diet,” said Timmerman.
The balance for LJ and The Sleeze can be hard to come by, as often the members have to record separately, at different times and on different songs. Gottesman gets time with each member on a weekly basis and is able to knock out a few songs during each visit. Right now they have been incredibly busy as well, recording both the remake of the previous record, Keepin’ It Sleezy, and music for an upcoming third album.
“I’ve said it to everyone here individually, but everyone here is so fucking busy and I am so not busy,” said Gottesman. “I don’t want to ask too much more than that, so asking people to learn a third record on top of these other 15 songs and whatever covers is silly.”
“That’s the great thing about this band, we all do have stuff going on but Max makes it so easy to show up and just be a part of it,” said Stephenson.
“With the pace of things, I often leave your house with homework. But it’s fun homework,” said Hill.
It isn’t all recording and homework though. LJ and The Sleeze is looking to get themselves banned from YouTube and banned from Richmond venues with their excitable antics. At this point it appears there is no limit to the absurdity and nudity people are willing to put up with just to hear their music. Recently the band played a show at City Beach in which Gottesman stripped down and gave onlookers a show they probably should have paid more for than they did.
“Last time I got butt naked,” said Gottesman. “Gunner picked me up and my dick was on his shoulder.”
“My dick was on everyone’s shoulder,” said Gottesman.
“There’s a part of City Beach that has glass walls toward the sidewalk,” said Gray. “There were people smoking out there and Max was rubbing his dick on the glass, so people who weren’t paying attention to the show just were like ‘WHOA.’”
“Kelsey, the show booker for City Beach, was trying to put Max’s underwear back on him in the middle of the set. Like, ‘you have to put your underwear back on,’” said Hill.
“Max was being a toddler trying to kick the underwear back off like ‘No! I don’t want to!’ He looked like a giant baby,” said Gray.
“City Beach is kind of the perfect place to play, just because the regular crowd is so the opposite of what we usually play for, but even they came around,” said Rosenstock. “We realized we could actually prove ourselves.”
LJ and The Sleeze has proven themselves above and beyond in this city as they expand and word has spread of their hijinx. Notably, they are becoming known for their productivity. LJ and The Sleeze lacks nothing in music production, including the creation of music videos. This week they have put out a music video for their song “Small Dick & No Brain,” for which Gottesman takes the creative controls.
“My wife had to go to work at like 6 in the morning on Black Friday, and I couldn’t go back to sleep,” said Gottesman. “So I decided to see if I could make the video happen, and finished it by the time she got home. It was on a whim.”
In the future, Gottesman has plans to create much larger scale music videos with friends and bandmates as well. So far they are looking at a number of those videos already being filmed and planned out for the upcoming year.
LJ and The Sleeze will be playing at The Camel on Sunday, December 12, with Zack Mexico and Piranha Rama. In celebration of the music video release and the growing band, they will be playing their hits and looking to party with the best of Richmonds locale.
As Gottesman said, “I’m most excited to get naked at The Camel.”
Tickets are $10 and available through The Camel’s website, and doors open at 7 p.m.
There will be a record re-release show at Fuzzy Cactus on February 12, 2022. As LJ and the Sleeze continues their leather-jacket-and-gold-thong-clad rumble through Richmond, there will be much more music to come, as the prolific and sleezy bunch looks to release a third new album not long after.