Although his music journey is just getting started, New Jersey raised (and Princeton graduating) Cold Beer & Broads founder, songwriter and lead singer Larry Studnicky has already had one hell of a ride in the entertainment industry. While writing charismatic tracks was always in his talented nature–as proven in his group’s latest tantalizingly titled single, “Jennifer Aniston” (we’ll get to that title and so much more in just a few)–but Mr. Studnicky spent the early part of his journey as part of a super successful entertainment law firm in the early ’90s that handled music business for the likes of L.L Cool j, Mary J. Blige, and everyone’s favorite Death Row Records mogul, Mr. Suge Knight.
In fact, Larry still holds it down as a successful attorney in NYC, but lucky for him, he’s got a great group of talented musicians who have joined him on his Cold Beer & Broads journey, including pop-rock composer John Macom, classically trained pianist and composer Charles Czarnecki and songwriter and producer Kevin Dow, whose performed not once, but twice at The White House during Mr. Obama’s past eight years.
So, you can probably already imagine that together, these fine tuned gentlemen (they also have two stunning back up vocal divas as well) create music that is slick, polished, but most of all…it’s just a whole lot of fun to listen to. Really, isn’t that what music is supposed to be? But the main question is, just how do Mr. Studnicky and his oh, so merry band of Cold Beer & Broads mates put it all together? I recently got the chance to spill some music tea with him, where he broke mugs about that and so much more, including chatting about about his days as Suge Knight’s attorney, what he hopes for his latest venture, and just where, oh, where he got that band name from.
For much, much more Cold Beer & Broads music truth, including where you can get lost in their headphones ready E.P., Six Pack, check out their official website right here.
Okay, first up, you just have to spill about where the name Cold Beer & Broads was derived from…It literally came from a brief effort trying to find some kind of interesting name that hadn’t already been taken. Now, this goes back to 2011, and this is arguably borderline on the stupid side, but when the three of us came together to co-write, the two of us, [John and I], he was in his ’40s and I was already in my ’50s and Charles had just barely cracked the thirty year mark. [The name] literally came from me saying to them, ‘You know, I wish we had done something like this 10, 20 years ago, but when people could still make money selling actual records in stores.’ And it came out of a thought about what we would have done with the money. So, we were all single back then, so I said we would’ve probably pissed it away on cold beer and broads! I said, ‘Let’s go with that.’ John and Charles were a little resistant, but eventually they just kind of caved and we just stuck with it.
There’s certainly no denying that it’s an attention grabbing name…I think it’s a stronger name in some parts of the country than others. A year ago, [I was with a group] of people who were in town from Texas and we were chatting about music, and I told them I was involved in this band and one of the gals said, ‘This is a great name! You would have no issues in Texas!’ But every now and then while getting reaction from the singles we’ve put out to the Internet stations where people give you feedback, every now and then someone says something about the name. But, I like [it] and I think it lends itself to the artwork and merchandise…and maybe an eventual lifestyle brand.
Speaking of interesting titles, your new single, “Jennifer Aniston” is certainly turning music heads because of its name. I just have to know where the inspiration came from to write a song about everyone’s favorite Friends star? When I was at the music firm in the ’90s, I had a colleague who would make a point one day a week to get home early enough to watch Friends (keep it mind this was before TIVO happened), but I wasn’t watching it at the time. And he said, ‘You gotta watch the show, it’s really well written for a comedy. The girls are hot, the guys are hysterical.’ So, I took him for his word and I started watching the show and I just thought she was fabulous. Among the three girls, I just thought she was special. I didn’t ever think about it back then that I would ever be writing a song about her, it literally came out of nowhere. I was going home from work one day and I was heading for the PATH station and I don’t know why I was thinking about Jennifer Aniston, but I was, and the first few lines of the song just started playing in my head. So, I stopped and pulled out my iPhone and fired up the recording app and sang pretty much the whole first verse with the chorus right there. Then I went home and continued to play around with it over the next few days until it became a full song.
Switching things up a bit, you’re also a very successful NYC attorney where you once represented the one-and-only, Suge Knight. I can truly only imagine what that experience was like for you. In the ’90s, I was at one of New York’s small, but meaningful entertainment law practices headed by an old-time guy who’d been the city’s top music lawyer probably since he was a kid in the mid-”50s. And we had a huge practice in urban music, and some of of our clients [in the ’90s] included L.L Cool J, Mary J. Blige. One day our firm’s senior partner said ‘I got a call from one of Suge Knight’s guys and he wants to come out and talk with us.’ Everybody was kind of apprehensive at first, and when he finally showed up at our office, he had an armed guard in the lobby of our [office] building and another armed guard in our office. There were three of us who sat with him and looked over what he wanted us to do. It wasn’t long before our senior partner sat back and said ‘This man is a real record man and I would be happy to work with him.’ So, we started representing Death Row [the label] and I spent a fair amount of time over the next few years flying [with our senior partner] flying back and forth to L.A. to negotiate various things, including the Interscope Records deal that got Death Row back in having ownership of its master recordings, which was right before Suge violated his parole and was sent back to jail. So, that’s when it started and I did actually find out over the years that if I was stuck on the other side of the velvet rope trying to get into a nightclub, I could lean in and say I’m Suge Knight’s corporate lawyer, and they would let me in, just take me for my word.
What is one thing you’ll truly remember the most about handling Death Row and Mr.Knight? He was a good client. In the music industry, good clients have market power. They have leverage in the marketplace because they make a lot of money for somebody. Like when you have a little boy band and there’s no bidding war between the labels, you have absolutely no power in making that deal. When we took on Death Row as a client, they were grossing annually $100 million dollars for Interscope. That gives you a client who has clout, leverage and negotiation, and it completely changes the landscape of everything you’re doing for [them]. So, that was fun to have a client in the music business where you could be on the other side of a music label and you can tell them to ‘stuff it’ and that you’re not going to take their first crappy offer or deal because your client has market power and you can negotiate. As a music lawyer, Suge Knight’s as high as a profile client as you can get.
Now, let’s get back to your music. What is the one thing that is the ingredient to keep Cold Beer & Broads along? It’s probably the writing sessions. Everybody in the band has a full-time job of some sort, and it’s hard to get people to keep things moving, but [the recording sessions] are where all the cool things happen. I always go in with the lyrics and the melody for the song and some basic idea for the instrumentation for the song;sometimes it’s an acoustic guitar, other times it’s an electric guitar line. When a song is done, it’s so much than I could’ve ever imagined it could be because everybody brings something special first to the writing process and then onto the studio process. When you’re done recording, everything that’s happened with the song has happened already in terms of creativity. All this cool stuff that you didn’t anticipate when you wrote the first version has been contributed and it’s so much better than what you thought you we’re going to actually do. That’s why I keep working with this people, because they each had their own styles of creativity to make it all happen.
One last sip, what do you see for the future of Cold Beer & Broads? Hard to say. We’re a one hundred percent do it yourself project. There’s no label backing us and no publisher involved, meaning that there’s only so much that can happen. Interviews like this with a publication like yours mean a lot to us because we’re an unsigned band and nobody really knows who we are. But as long as we don’t go broke doing it, we’ll just keep doing it and keep making music so each song will find its own life out there!