Lucius vocalist looks back on Fairview memories ahead of September show

BY NICOLE HENNESSY
WESTSHORE – Four-piece indie pop quartet Lucius includes lead vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, drummer Dan Molad and lead guitarist Peter Lalish. Laessig, a 2003 Fairview High School graduate, is headed to town with her Brooklyn-based band, which is currently touring with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters.
The show is scheduled for Sept. 21 at Quicken Loans Arena.
Lucius currently has two studio albums: Wildewoman and Good Grief, both of which have been recognized by The New York Times, Rolling Stone, NPR and Village Voice. Paste Magazine named Lucius as one of the best live acts in 2015, and the band’s latest single, “Million Dollar Secrets,” aired in the final season of the HBO Series “Girls.”
Wolfe and Laessig, who dress in identical high-style costumes and hairstyles and sing in unison, have also contributed vocals for various artists, including Waters, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, John Legend and Dawes.
Laessig recently took some time to reflect on her success and her upcoming show.
Q: What are some of your favorite memories of Fairview Park?
A: “It’s funny how long it took me to think of what to say on this one. I love the feeling of familiarity, the kindness and hard work of my hometown. I love the family that I still have there, and feel a sense of relief when I get to visit. The air smells good, and the tension in my shoulders dissipates. But when I think back, my mind first goes to the challenges I faced and how out of place I often felt. That being said, one of my favorite memories of Fairview was when I decided to do a ‘History of Fairview’ project. I would assume it was for history class, but I can’t remember for the life of me if I even turned it in. I remember it wasn’t really the assignment that was given, but I had a way of bending the rules just enough to make it interesting to me. I dragged one of my friends along (and even surprised myself, as I wasn’t the most social kid) and walked all the way down Lorain Road and back, popping into every old shop and building and asking if they knew how the business started, who started it, who built the building, etc. I loved all the characters, and the stories, and most importantly that people had come from somewhere else. Everyone seemed to have tall and fantastic ideas about what was outside our town and I wanted to see it all for myself.”
Q: Is there a moment you realized your music career/ band was going to be a success?
A: “It’s hard to explain, even to myself. I definitely decided it was going to happen near the end of high school. We had our senior evaluations and I went in there and said, ‘I’m applying to Berklee (College of Music) to do contemporary music.’ They replied with, ‘Hmm, well why don’t we look at some more realistic options for you?’ That was all I needed to hear. It was the only school I applied to. I even got a scholarship and off I went. Granted, if I hadn’t of gotten in I’m not sure where I’d have landed, and even so, it wasn’t the be all end all. I worked very hard and grew exponentially after I left. I remember a specific moment when I was on my restaurant shift thinking, ‘I’m 27 and I’ve been working in restaurants for 13 years and I know for sure I don’t want to do this forever. I must have made my mind up with music cause if I don’t have a backup plan by now, that’s it.’ I obviously lucked out by meeting the people I got to meet along the way and partnering up with Jess who shared the same determination. For us, I think things have progressed in such a way, and we’ve been so inside it all and working such insane amounts that we almost miss those ‘Aha’ moments. Of course, when you reflect on things you think, ‘What just happened, did that really just happen?!’”
Q: What was the most exciting project you’ve had the chance to work on?
A: “Oh man. Probably the one we are in right now, in Roger Waters’ band. It’s so visually over the top, theatrical, and incredibly meaningful without sacrificing or overshadowing the music itself. But we’ve been extremely lucky to have worked with and befriended legends like Mavis Staples, Jeff Tweedy, David Byrne; it’s been a total trip.”
Q: What does it feel like performing with Roger Waters in your home town?
A: “I don’t know yet. I’m trying to figure out if I’m going to barf or cry. Maybe both? I kind of hope that guidance counselor is a Floyd fan and shows up so I can give ‘em the old ‘boom, take that!’ But I rise above.”
Q: What advice would you give to a creative high school kid who may not be aware of what the world has to offer?
A: “My advice would be, explore as much as you can. There is so much more out there. I have traveled a lot now and still haven’t touched the surface. The more you know the more you want to know; it’s a thrill! Run away with yourself, let your opinions change, be open. Knowledge is much more powerful than money, stay hungry for that instead. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s out of reach. Also, be as weird and fearless as possible! I now know that when others snicker, it’s only ’cause they are uncomfortable with expressing themselves – you can show them the ropes.”
Q: If you could perform with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?
A: “I have loved David Bowie since I can remember. Of course, being born in 1985 it all sprung from “Labyrinth,” and my fascination continued from there. A lot of his lyrics were about growing up in a small town and being an alien there – I guess I could relate to that feeling. I even went the extra mile and painted and decoupaged Jareth the Goblin King on my renovated lawnmower for auto shop class junior year. He was my hero. I was very sad to hear of his passing and now having had the opportunity to speak with people who actually worked with him, I am glad to hear that he really was and would have been such a lovely person to meet.”
Follow Lucius at https://www.facebook.com/ilovelucius/.

Print this story