At the age of 65, Laurence “LJ” Harness is the ideal double to the Energizer Bunny. A professional drummer and percussionist, he picked up his first pair of “sticks” when he was only 9-years-old.
Since then, he has shared the stage touring, opening and performing for top-notch talent like Patti LaBelle, Aerosmith, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Kansas, Ted Nugent and Cheap Trick, among others; and he will also perform June 30-July 2 at the South Point Showroom in the presentation of American Trilogy.
The man isn’t afraid of a crowd and he will play a mean flam-a-diddle on his desk with the slightest of thought. He’s on-stage whether he’s working the showroom at Findlay Cadillac where he is marketing/promotions director/sales executive; or entertaining a crowd somewhere in Las Vegas.
Harness was a member of the band “Hoochie” that played in stadiums with seating for as many as 60,000 fans in the 1970s and 1980s.
“I’m on-stage all the time,” said the colorful native of Muncie, Ind., who has lived in Las Vegas since 2009. “Whether it’s cars or performing on stage, you seriously need to be at the top of your game. This is the closest thing to Rock ‘N Roll I could find for a straight gig that produces a good living while also offering a great time.
“Also, in order to be successful in Las Vegas, you must first realize the importance of giving back to the local community.”
Harness has been affiliated with the Cadillac brand for 15 years. His connection with the company dates to when he lived in Sarasota, Fla.
“Over the years, Cadillac and I have worked hand-in-hand to help raise awareness and funds for worthy or special causes such homeless and disabled veterans; Marine Corps Toys for Tots and Nevada SPCA, to name a few.”
As Harness explains, entertainment mixed with the car business has resulted in the perfect combination in a city known world-wide for its never-ending pace, employment opportunities and entertainment.
“I think it’s safe to say that once a musician, always a musician,” Harness analyzed. “Las Vegas has so much opportunity for people who are not afraid to work; whether you’re talking about show business, sales or working in a grocery store.
“This city was built by innovative people who have never been afraid to take a chance. When a building or property gets old, someone pulls out the checkbook and either rebuilds what’s left, or bulldozes the site to make room for something new.”
Old-time entertainers seem to find a sense of loyalty in Las Vegas, and Harness is one of them.
“I am a self-professed old rocker with an edge,” Harness explained.
Harness fits into the car business like a ball in a glove. He cannot see himself retiring anytime soon.
“My fiance’, Tiffani Foote is so supportive of my efforts,” Harness said. “She’s the backbone that continues to keep me going strong.”
Harness seems to fit in well wherever he’s at, and especially in the car business.
“Every automobile dealership needs a level of energy,” said Findlay Cadillac general manager John Saksa, who has known Harness for several years. “L.J. brings that energy to this dealership through his deep knowledge of the car business and his notoriety in the community.” +