Mickey Katz, Bourbon Nell, Alan Sherman discussed on Unorthodox



All day just while you got the article to learn it reaching all the teaching I've been helping my father know about bourbon Nell was a 15th century finance minister to Queen Isabella of Spain. And instead of Barbara and we had a bar banal. So schlock rock, by the way, I named it schlock, because schlock and yiddish mean second hand or almost like junk. It's a derogatory name. And this was secondhand rock. I was taking rock songs, making them secondhand changing the words. Now, believe it or not, I was actually following other parody artists, some of them in the secular field like "Weird Al" Yankovic Tom lehrer, Alan Sherman, and some of them in the Jewish field, the rejects and country usi and the steeple hoppers. I don't know if you're familiar with any of those guys. But those guys were before me. And of course, the first one was Mickey Katz. Mickey Katz from the vaudeville days. What would happen to be Joel Grey's father and Jennifer Grey's grandfather. So Mickey Katz was a big yiddish parody artist just to FYI. Anyway, so 86 comes and I have now 11 song parodies and I decide. You know what? Let's go into the studio and make an album. So I get my Friends together. We didn't really have any money. I used $6000 of my own money and I borrowed money from my father and my uncle, my music teacher, and I go into the studio and the studio was 39th street music, which was where Ashford and Simpson, the solid as a rock, Chaka Khan, the song came out. It was a regular top of the line, music studio in 1986, 85, 86. So they say to me, it's a $180 an hour. And I say, I don't have a $180 an hour. They say, well, you could work from midnight to 8 a.m. for $60 an hour. And we will give you an engineer and assistant engineer and a slave, a slave. Yeah, I said, what's a slave? They said the slave you send out for coffee at four in the morning. So I said, okay, I'm there. And we did this album learning is good. Schlock rock learning is good. I put it out on cassette only. We didn't records were already gone. So I put that put up this album and three months later, it starts to catch on. And I get this letter from a lady in Florida. My brother hates Judaism and he's listening to your cassette around the clock, keep up the good work. And then another letter like that. And then I got a letter dear mister Solomon. If the barbanel would know what you did to his name, he'd be rolling in his grave. The good Jews hated you and the bad Jews loved you, basically. Yes, in the beginning, the rabbis would come up to me and say, what is this? What are you doing? I said, this is fun. It's rock and roll. It's Jewish, it's educational, but I didn't really know what I was doing to be honest. What I was doing was I was just following my gut, which is what this whole career is, which I never, I never anticipated in a million years that I would become a Jewish rock and roller. I actually have a degree in accounting, and I worked as an accountant from 82 to 85. Now, in 85, I left the county, and I went into music full-time, and I become the music director of the Jewish public school youth organization, which has public schools where you go in and you sing songs and they're expecting to hear having a Gila, and I go in and I play born in the USA, now I'm making a two day I had all these songs I had original songs that I had parodies and that's what I use this curriculum schlock rock. I used it as curriculum. I did a hundred shows in the public schools and by 88 after the third or fourth album, I was starting to get calls for concerts. And from 88 to 96, I did a hundred shows a year all over the world. Do you miss accounting? Well, I still do a counting for myself. Like I do my own books. Believe it or not, accounting and music have synchronicity. The math and music are on the same level and I enjoy math. I enjoy the concept of balancing out getting to a zero balance, but no, I don't, I would never have wanted to do it for my whole life, which is why, after one year of doing accounting, I already had a midlife crisis and I'm a huge weird Al fan. I think he's probably American Mozart. I think he's probably one of the greatest musical geniuses we have. It seems to me however, like there's a certain kind of inherent disrespect paid to it rather inflicted upon musicians who use humor in their work because somehow we got into this groove of thinking that if you're really, really funny, if you tell jokes, if you do parodies, you're not a serious musicians. You're not rock and roll, man. And it seems to me like our kind of getting it a little bit backwards. Where do you stand in this issue? Do you agree? Well, first thing is, I think that weird Al is a genius. I mean, that guy, the lyrics that he has written. And the way he writes it and the way he parodies a song. It's incomparable. That's what I shoot for when I'm writing a parody. I write to be as witty as him. By the way, insane that he's not Jewish. Let's talk about that. Not a drop of Jewish blood in him. Unbelievable. You know, but he is a genius. And yes, he's disrespected that the whole parody industry is disrespected as a gimmick. You know, it's like a gimmick. And it's a shame. It's a shame. I think because it's shtick. You know, there's a lot of shtick to this. Like, for instance, there's a band out there called guns and carrots. You know, whenever you hear a very, very clever name, which is a take off on something else. You think, I'll give it, gimmick gimmick. So that's that's what it is. It'll never change, but I have given a lot of people many, many hours of enjoyment. That's for sure. So when you are coming up as a Paradise and as a full-time musician, when you finally made the transition left behind your beloved accounting world, you know, initially you were getting pushed back from some rabbis from people who thought this was heretical and wrong. My sense is now that any OU and CSI modern orthodox camp is excited to have you. That that is all gone. Am I wrong about that? Are there so people who feel like this turns kids away from the true path to put some on a different Derek than just true piety? I mean, where are those lines drawn now? Who still doesn't like you? The rabbis eventually came around that took them around three or four albums. And when they came around and put their stamp of approval on it, what do you think happened? My age group dropped dramatically. Like all of a sudden, instead of playing the high school kids, I'm looking in the audience and I'm seeing 7 year old kids, 8 year old kids, 5 year old kids, four year old kids. And I'm thinking to myself, my lyrics are getting more and more complex. And my age group is dropping. And I thought to myself, can you believe this? And it was only one explanation. The explanation is that the rabbis put this down. You had the hex check. Yes. But I didn't. I didn't get the heckscher from the really right wing people. And as far as NCS Y goes, and I love them, they don't really hire me so much. You.

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