To Europe and Back: Sean Loosh & Brett Haenn are Going Places with Black Dandelion
By Dave Coskey Jr.
Playing his music on an international tour wasn’t exactly what Sean “Loosh” Luschini had in mind as a young guy working days at a surf shop in Stone Harbor.
“I’d finish up my shift and head to 96th Street,” he says. “Try and get into the local spots where all the live music was being played.”
But that job in retail was the gateway he needed to find his true passion and eventually the platform needed to showcase his guitar chops.
“A lot of the guys I met through the shop were playing gigs in town, they’d let me fill in here and there,” he says. “Eventually I became more comfortable, grew connections. My hobby suddenly became my passion. Maybe something I could do for a living.”
Loosh, who teamed up with Brett Haenn to form Black Dandelion, is being modest. One look at his summer schedule on his Facebook page tells the real story. He’s locked in to play at least one local stage a day, every day, all summer long. Sometimes two venues on the weekend days. If his name sounds familiar, you’ve probably seen him playing the Sunday Brunch at The Princeton, and afternoon at the ICONA Beach Bar, a weekend night at The Reeds, offseason at Fred’s Tavern, or maybe a wedding or two.
It was a different story for the second part of this duo. Like Loosh, Haenn started coming to Seven Mile Beach when he was an infant. He shared a beach house with his extended family and held the typical summer jobs at Uncle Bill’s and the Avalon Yacht Club. While Loosh was taking the stage solo, growing as a local celebrity, Haenn was a founding member and lead guitarist of the band, Long Miles.
During Long Miles’ touring days, it had a huge following in Charleston, S.C., and Penn State, which allowed it to branch out to places like Avalon and Stone Harbor, where its fan base could usually be found in the summer. It played sold-out shows at Jack’s Place (R.I.P.), The Whitebrier, and PJ Ryan’s (R.I.P.). But like a lot of college bands, the members of Long Miles eventually parted ways. Haenn moved to Avalon full time and begin looking for solo gigs of his own.
The local music community here is a tight-knit one. Networking and relationship building are key when looking to start groups and get shows. Eventually the two found each other.
“I’d heard the stories about Loosh,” Haenn says. “As I got to know him, I suddenly realized they were true. He has the voice of an angel, the song choice of a ’70s classic-rock DJ, and the personality of a B-movie star.”
Brett Haenn (left) and Sean Loosh are planning to tour again this fall as Black Dandelion.
Loosh was equally impressed with Haenn, especially his guitar-playing style. When Haenn approached him about playing as a duo, Loosh says he jumped at the opportunity. They practiced together just twice and something clicked.
“It was like he knew what I was going to do before I did it,” Loosh says. “Some say I am the John Oates to his Daryl Hall. That’s up for debate.”
The guys started taking the stage as “Loosh and Brett,” but knew that in order to really capture a following they needed a better name. The jokester who puts together the marquee at The Princeton announced them as “Loosh and the Brett Shop Boys.” The name Black Dandelion came about when Loosh was regaling Brett with all his favorite small-plate options at his favorite Steven Starr haunt, Dandelion. He was wearing his customary stage uniform: black boots, black jeans, black shirt, black scarf, black fedora. (We know, odd for a beach musician.) Haenn rolled his eyes at his bandmate’s ability to list the menu items and, given what he was wearing, said, “You’re gonna turn into a Black Dandelion.” Once easily identifiable by the local music booking agents, the duo immediately saw their calendars fill up. More brunch concerts at The Princeton, sold-out nights at The Reeds, the occasional bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah.
Everything was coming up Black Dandelion. So much so that when things on the island were winding down last August, the two were approached by another act that was embarking on a fall tour in Europe and needed an act to help fill the bill. One of the biggest downsides to playing the island is the lack of opportunities once Labor Day comes and goes. Loosh and Haenn had the time. Had the talent. And embraced the tour with open arms. They toured with the other band, playing to larger audiences than most island venues could accommodate. Taking the stage in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland proved to be the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I love the crowds that gather here to hear us play, but people overseas were just something else,” Loosh says. “Their love of American music really surprised me.”
When the tour wound down, Loosh and Haenn were excited to get back home. They spent the winter and spring recording their own music and getting ready for their busy summer season. Once Labor Day passes, they’ll be looking to embark on another fall tour. Right now they are looking at dates in Europe again, but also looking forward to some shows closer to home in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Baltimore, and New York City. Check out https://www.facebook.com/blackdandelionband/ for upcoming dates and more info. They are probably playing somewhere on the island tonight!
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