Self-described as a “tongue-in-cheek 70’s cock-rock project,” LJ & The Sleeze is the head-trip creation of Max Henry Gottesman, whose tattoo-covered skin and leather jacket aesthetic grant him the image of your classic untamed rocker. With lewd anecdotes and raunchy instrumentation, Gottesman takes the word “sleaze” and works it to his advantage, seizing control over its usual negative connotation and producing a sound that brilliantly inhabits the phrase, “sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.”
The singer first turned heads when releasing his debut album Keepin’ it Sleezy last year, introducing us to his boisterous, yet subtly humorous artistry, layered in charming indecency. Now, he’s officially dropped a 4-track EP that embodies the same wild night persona – booze, sex, narcotics and all.
A sneak peak into the sweet debauchery of the past, Put Something Sleezy Between Your Legs is like stepping into the grunge wave of MTV’s 120 Minutes, dripping in VHS-tape nostalgia. Gottesman’s fuzzy vocals carry an attitude that’s less than concerned with society’s rules and criticism, belting out in step with crunchy guitars and hammering drums, reminiscent of an AC/DC grit.
“Night Time Lover”, a single off the record, was also manifested into a music video set in a dim-lit bar as Gottesman serenades a blonde, female blow-up doll. It’s your customary tale of what happens after midnight as judgement is skewed, hormones rise, and in LJ’s case, zero shits are given.
As the EP sees the light of day, I had the pleasure of diving further with Gottesman, chatting about his influences, sound, identity, and his charmingly sleazy persona.
What is the first thing that new listeners should know about LJ & The Sleeze?
I don’t give a fuck. LJ & The Sleeze is LJ & The Sleeze and that’s all there is to it.
Who or what influenced the cultivation of your sound the most?
Beginning of 2020 I was listening to a lot of early Beastie Boys records, AC/DC, and GG Allin. I’d like to think those three groups are the largest, and most easily recognizable, influences to LJ & The Sleeze.
There’s a lot of humor in your work, specifically in those that have song titles and lyrics like “Small Dick and No Brain” and “2 Stoned 2 Bone”. What triggers you to write these tunes, and what is the greatest value you believe this brings to music overall?
Damn, you’re really thinking pretty hard into a song called “Small Dick and No Brains”. There’s no value in shit that isn’t hilarious. If it’s hilarious it’s cool.
So you’re set to release your new EP soon. What might be the overall inspiration behind this collection of tracks?
Truthfully, I was missing partying with my friends, ya know. Was written in the middle of last summer at the height of the pandemic where everyone was quarantining. Really, it’s just about having a good time, all the time.
Are there any significant highlights that came from making this record?
This is the first LJ record to get pressed to any physical medium. Eight Ball Record$ is releasing Put Something Sleezy Between Your Legs on both 7” and a cassette.
You also released a music video for your EP single “Night Time Lover”. What was the idea behind this and how did you make it come to life?
As I had mentioned I missed going out, the night life. Meeting someone new at the bar seems so foreign at that point. My friends at Fuzzy Cactus let me use the space to film myself and two blow up dolls acting out the nightlife I missed so much.
I’ve noticed that for both of your albums/EP’s you’ve creatively included the word “Sleezy” in each title. Is this a trend you’re looking to continue including in the titles of future projects?
I’m not a magic eight ball, but I better not tell you now.
Speaking of titles, how did your own name “LJ & The Sleeze” come about?
I was on a cruise wearing my leather jacket and this lady kept calling me LJ. On the last day I asked her and she said it was because I was the only one wearing a leather jacket. Wish I could remember where Sleeze came from, but it fits.
What is your ideal live music venue you would perform your music in?
Whatever your neighborhood rock and roll bar is.
Besides the EP, what can fans expect from LJ & The Sleeze over the rest of the year?
More videos, live performances, and maybe even new music.