Brian Lisik & Hard Legs make a Nu Wreckard with a dirty old sound

 Akron-based singer-songwriter Brian Lisik was thinking a lot about the ghosts of his musical past while making his latest studio album, appropriately dubbed Nu Wreckardout Oct. 13 on Cherokee Queen Records.

“Frankly, in the past couple years, I’ve become bored with anything but rock-n-roll,” Lisik said. “And I’m talking the rawer and bleaker the better; Flat Duo Jets, Daniel Johnston, Peter Laughner, Link Wray, Billy Lee Riley, Gil Scott Heron, this German jazz guitarist named Tobias Hoffman who is just great. Lately I’ve been trying to do more with less whenever possible.”

This aesthetic has extended to both Lisik’s minimalist backing band of guitarist Robb Myers and drummer Martyn Flunoy – with occasional appearances from long-time bassist/vocalist and songwriting partner, Steve Norgrove – and the seven-song Nu Wreckard. The album is short, it’s snotty, it’s irreverent and it’s smart.

Or, as Lisik himself put it: “I try hard not to write songs for stupid people.”

The album is also notable for its abundance of co-writing by Lisik’s Hard Legs colleagues, with more than half the album credited to the Lisik-Myers-Flunoy partnership. While he has co-written with others, primarily Norgrove, over his previous seven solo outings, Lisik said creating Nu Wreckard was an organically collaborate effort from the start. A true band record, if you will.

“These songs were born from us getting in a room, making some noise and seeing what happens. More so than I’ve done in years,” Lisik said. “Letting other people make suggestions and decisions about my songs can be a very frightening process, but also a very rewarding one.”

Featuring guest appearances from Ian Early (Cherry Poppin’ Daddies) and Akron rock legends, The Bizarros (which Flunoy is also a member of), Nu Wreckard deftly traverses an ocean of genres – from raw ‘50s rock to 90s grunge to campy ‘70s TV cop show sounds.

In spite of its brevity, the album is deceptively deep – a musical milieu of bloody streets populated by corrupt politicians who didn’t really mean it, Old West outlaws who most certainly did, and Gatemouth Brown’s flooded casket. A world where anything can be better than nothing at all – most of the time.

“I hope I haven’t hit my creative peak, but if I had to sum it up I this is probably the best pure rock-n-roll record I’ve ever made,” Lisik said.

Nu Wreckard follows Lisik’s 2022 release, the intentionally unvarnished live album Hotsy Totsy!American Songwriter placed “Monk,” a searingly profane non-single from that album, among its Top 24 songs of the year. Hotsy Totsy! was also named one of the Canton Repository’s “Best of 2022” releases.

No Depression called Lisik’s music “a winning formula of catchy phrasing, jangly guitar riffs and great pop hooks.”  The Seattle Post Intelligencer said his songs make “A rough and tumble garage-y sound…soaked deep in an ocean of chunky guitars.” Music writer Lee Zimmerman said “Lisik writes songs that resonate almost immediately…sharp, smart and full of edgy intensity…bold, assertive and flush with full tilt rock ‘n’ roll.”

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Publicity: Mike Farley / Michael J. Media Group / 608-848-9707 /

Hotsy Totsy! New Live Album Available Now!

Akron, OH (August 31, 2022)–In the bygone and halcyon era of mass vinyl, cassette and compact disc consumption, there existed a certain tried-and- true career trajectory for rock-n-roll acts. The seminal, or some may argue terminal, live album was in many ways a final frontier. Unless, of course, one counted greatest hits collections. Which, of course, no one ever did. 

Akron, Ohio-based Brian Lisik grew up in that era, so the inevitable live album, following his eight previous studio releases and another currently in the works, is not a shocker in and of itself. The ferocity, irreverence and fresh relevance of the captured performance, however, belies the fact that this is not a brand new band chomping at the bit and hungrily clawing for its rightful place at the proverbial alter of rock. 

Brian Lisik & Hard Legs: Hotsy-Totsy!  (out October 21 on Cherokee Queen Records), co-produced by Don Dixon (REM, Smithereens, Counting Crows, Matthew Sweet) and recorded during a  particularly fiery set at Akron’s Rialto Theatre on the eve Lisik’s most recent birthday, assumes its place in his established musical canon while hinting, not so subtly, that there is still plenty of gas in the tank. 

Kicking off with a punishing barrage of guitar feedback and machine-gun drums, Lisik and his current minimalist backing band of guitarist Robb Myers and Bizarros-alum Martyn Flunoy on drums take no pains to make Hotsy Totsy! a radio singles retrospective, opting instead for a sonically brutal alt-rock attack more reminiscent of the late ‘90s scene Lisik cut his teeth in with Akron-Cleveland-based underground darlings, The Giants of Science. To wit, this may be the full album that band never got around to recording. 

Pummeling the audience with an opening salvo of “The Poor Kids,” “Hey Zelienople!” and “Monk” – a vitriolic new composition with a chorus made for fist-pumping sing-a-longs (so long as no one’s grandparents are in the room) – Lisik and company finally come up for air with an unfeigned reading of the humorously heartbreaking “Bye Bi Love” before turning the guitars back up for high-octane takes on the 2015 ode to boredom, “Normalcy,” and “(Erebus Goes) Overboard,” “Happy All The Time” and “Junior High School” from 2020’s Gudbye Stoopid Whirled before closing the blistering set with a 5-minute magnum opus rendering of Lisik’s 2021 single, “Sights.” 

Equal parts flippant and devotional, Hotsy Totsy! also finds Lisik tossing out a dizzying array of random pop-music interludes throughout – from The Troggs and The Drifters, to Mac Davis and Brenton Wood – appearing and disappearing as wacky musical menageries with head-scratching abandon. 

If Lisik’s most recent album release, the largely low-key Gudbye Stoopid Whirled that Elmore Magazine called a “tasty bare-bones hash of timeless folk-pop and rockabilly, shaggy garage-rock edge and power-pop sparkle,” was his sweeping indictment of the vapidity of pop music’s current landscape, Hotsy Totsy! in many ways inserts the exclamation point.

Americana Highways called it an “incendiary concert set…occupying a sweet spot between garage rock and power pop and making a much bigger sound than you’d expect from three people.”

Far from a literal career retrospective, the album still manages to touch on Lisik’s most noteworthy musical tomes, both original and inspired, in ways that almost accidentally make Hotsy Totsy! his most honest and unguarded to date. The vibe provided by a roomful of true believers sharing that experience makes it even more poignant, as Lisik & Hard Legs ignite a 40-minute sonic forest fire, leaving nothing but the raw, charred, profanely pulchritudinous essence of his sound. 

Publicity: Mike Farley/Michael J. Media Group/608-848-9707/