Before "American Idol," Facebook and YouTube, most bands spent years, even decades, on the road, honing their songwriting and live chops while establishing a solid base of fans that would eventually elevate them to the next level.
Langhorne Slim has been at this for a while now – crisscrossing the country with kinetic live performances – and that sweat equity is paying off.
"It’s an insane amount of determination and continuing to push on between the good times and not-so-good times that makes the difference," said Slim (aka Sean Scolnick). "We’ve been doing this eight to 10 months a year for the past 10 years. We’ve just kept at it."
Mix that "road warrior" tenacity with Slim’s infectious, American folk – played with punk-rock intensity and sprinkled with insightful lyrics – and it’s easy to see why the band has been gathering an ever-growing following for their live performances and more recently, beyond.
It was just a few years ago he was playing gigs at Milwaukee’s tiny Mad Planet. Since then, he’s "kept at it" with tours along side Drive-By Truckers, the Avett Brothers, The Lumineers and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals -- leading to slots at big regional gigs like the Newport Folk Festival and Bonnaroo.
With the June 2012 release of his latest record, "The Way We Move," some new opportunities presented themselves.
Last January, the title track from the album was featured on the TV ads for the launch of Windows 8.
In March, Slim landed a guest spot on the Conan O'Brien show. Conan personally asked for the band to be on his show after hearing the album. They not only performed "The Way We Move" on the show, but, at O'Brien's request, played a second song with Conan sitting in on guitar.
And just a few months ago, Slim wrote the song "Animal" for use in a Converse X / Foot Locker commercial. In about a month’s time, the spot skyrocketed to more than 1.9 million YouTube views, so the band decided to record a full-length version of the song.
True to form, Slim and The Law kicked off their current headline tour on Tuesday, Sept. 24. It stops at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall on Thursday, Oct. 3 at Turner Hall Ballroom.
"I feel like the cool thing in how we’ve done it – regardless of the regional opportunities or television slots – is that we’ve been working at it for a long time and we’re going to continue to work at it every day.
"The people that have connected with us and gotten to know us through seeing us play live have stuck with us and have helped spread the word. That’s how we’ve developed an audience over the years before any of this other stuff happened."
Slim’s band, "The Law," features Milwaukee born and raised drummer Malachi DeLorenzo – son of original Violent Femmes' drummer Victor DeLorenzo – along with bassist Jeff Ratner and banjo player and keyboardist David Moore.
"I’ve been told by my booking agent that this tour will be the best attended headlining shows we’ve done to date. We’re excited about coming back to play Milwaukee. We’ve played there so many times. It’s one of our favorite places.
"I’m proud of my band and we’re definitely an example that hard work pays off eventually. There’s a lot more growing to do and I’m glad the way things have gone for us because some of these acts today that come out of nowhere disappear just as quickly.
But I need to have my career – because it’s my life -- I don’t have a backup plan. I never did."
The way things are moving for Langhorne Slim and the Law – he won’t need one.