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Sunday, July 09, 2006

"...former Shlock Rock member..."

I can still remember vividly the first time I saw the words "Shlock Rock." I was in Lenny Solomon's JPSY (Jewish Public School Youth) office and he showed me a cassette labeled "Shlock Rock". He had apparently recorded a parody of Van Halen's "Jump" called "Bench" in a "Record Your Own Song" booth at Great Adventure with Tzvi Pill. I thought it was a big joke.

A few months later, he came up to me at a concert we were doing at Yeshiva University (ironically with Kabbalah, Piamenta, and Kesher) and asked if I'd be interested in going into the recording studio with him to play bass on an album of these song parodies. I always jumped at any opportunity to do studio work, so I said yes.

Soon thereafter, we were spending Midnight to 4am in a 39th Street recording studio where they had a picture of Chuck Berry hanging over the toilet and my roommate "Edgardo" and I were doing old man voices and we drank "Shlock Champagne (Hawaiin Punch)." Good times, good times.

Anyway, I don't think either of us had a clue that it would get as popular as it did.

So over the years I've been introduced as "former Shlock Rock member" Moshe Skier, but it's not fair to describe me that way since I still play with Lenny at least once a year. Every time I try to get out, he keeps pulling me back in! OK, bad Pacino reference there.

So here are a few of the Shlock Rock tunes that we cover, just because they are great songs and people always love them:

Jonah and the Whale



Ezzie said...

Hehe. :) Thanks for putting all of these up, I'm really enjoying... Amen is my fave so far I think.

Kiwi the Geek said...

Thanks. While I'm waiting for my download, have you ever heard "In the Belly of the Whale" by the Newsboys? Probably not, but this reminded me of it, for obvious reasons. I can't find a streaming audio of the whole thing, but here's a snip at Amazon.

PsychoToddler said...

Ezzie: Thanks. These comments are kind of like 'virtual applause.' I'm not sure how many songs you guys want me to put up. Let me know.

Kiwi: Sounds like a cool song. The interesting thing is that according to Jewish tradition, Jonah wasn't in a whale, but a "big fish." But fish doesn't rhyme with the rest of the song.

Kiwi the Geek said...

The lyrics to that song I mentioned, in case anybody's interested.

Regarding the music, it's even better when I can understand the words! But I really enjoy the original melodies. I think even if you posted the whole video, nobody would get bored. I like seeing your personality, that I've seen in your writing, now in living color! Like that little hop at the end of Amen.

Whale, big fish, meh...

Chaim said...

How many?? ALL of them, of course!

ifuncused said...

Yo Yo Yo YO Yarmulka....

Ezzie said...

You can do all of them, though L-o-R found them all on YouTube... I (for one) am more likely to watch them here than on YouTube, which makes no logical sense, but... yeah.

Rafi G said...

great clips! totally rockin'! (do people still say that?)

kasamba said...

Shlock Rock is THE BEST!!!!!

I am not worthy....
I am not worthy....

PsychoToddler said...

Kiwi: I prefer the original Hebrew ones myself. I have trouble with English lyrics--they get preachy if you're not careful. The original Hebrew tunes that I wrote really reflect my interests.

But we have so much fun with the cover tunes that we can't cut them out!

re: the hop: I didn't even realize I was doing that! I had to go back and watch the end of that clip. I look like Ashlee Simpson on SNL!

Chaim and Ezzie: I don't think I want to put all 18 clips up here! I do think that it's cool that Chaim found the youtube repository (I figured somebody would) and that he picked a completely different song to post on his site. I'd kinda like to see more of that. You guys are welcome to raid the vault and pick whatever song appeals to you on your own blogs. It'd be interesting to see what people like.

I will continue to post a few more here, though. What I like about doing it on the blog is that I can talk a little bit about each song.

Ifuncused: I have a video of us doing that number with Lenny at www.mosheskier.com/movies.htm

Rafi G: You just did!

Wayne Campbell: So, do you come to Milwaukee often?
Alice Cooper: Well, I'm a regular visitor here, but Milwaukee has certainly had its share of visitors. The French missionaries and explorers began visiting here in the late 16th century.
Pete: Hey, isn't "Milwaukee" an Indian name?
Alice Cooper: Yes, Pete, it is. In fact , it's pronounced "mill-e-wah-que" which is Algonquin for "the good land."
Wayne Campbell: I was not aware of that.

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

The video is cool thanks. Did you ever listen to variations? That is some good stuff.

PsychoToddler said...

SWFM: Yes, we have a few of those at home. Gershon Veroba is an old friend and hosted one of our Sheva Brachos when we got married.

Yonah said...

WOW - Have not heard "Amen" live since we did it one Thursday night in Seattle in the early 90's. Were you on that gig? The next day we were at the border crossing into Vancouver and in a moment of true idiocy I casually said to Danny the sax player "Wasn't it cool doing 'cocaine' last night?"

Well, after being plucked hastily off the line, detained and thoroughly searched for several hours I vowed to just stay quiet at border crossings!

And a "nice camera work" shout to Fudge, the future editor-in-chief of some major media publication.

PsychoToddler said...

"Were you on that gig?"

NO. You guys never took me anywhere interesting. Except to Israel to do the video.

And I have vague memories of a gig in Atlanta where we rode around with Etan G in Evan and Jaron's pimpmobile--er, touring van.

Kiwi the Geek said...

I look like Ashlee Simpson


I have trouble with English lyrics--they get preachy if you're not careful.

Ya can't preach in Hebrew? The Old Testament prophets didn't seem to have any trouble. ;o)

The original Hebrew tunes that I wrote really reflect my interests.

I'd love to see short explanations of what the songs are saying. But I enjoy them either way.

I don't think I want to put all 18 clips up here! I do think that it's cool that Chaim found the youtube repository

Is there a video of the whole thing available? With all the in between stuff, like Ashlee Simpson hopping?

PsychoToddler said...

Kiwi: The Hebrew songs are mostly from Psalms or prayers, occasionally passages of Bible. They are rarely preachy. However, I find that English lyrics tend to be more moralistic and run towards "do this" "don't do that" or really sappy stuff, which is why I stay away from them--I'm just not very good at them.

I can do comedy pretty well. I also did politics, a song called "The Situation" (it's on my website) but frankly I try to stay away from that too.

I can try to put up translations if I have time, or anyone else is welcome to.

All of the songs are uploaded to youtube, so if you click the youtube icon on the video, it'll take you there, and then sort for all of my videos. I didn't cut out any material in between, so if you watch them in order (assuming you knew what the order was), you would see all the banter and walking around and stage directions.

As I was saying to Mendel after Mincha tonight, I was surprised at how smooth the stage show has become. There really isn't alot of wasted time on stage. In the old days, if I had to cut up a video or recording of a full show, I'd have 5 to 10 minutes of silence, tuning, fumbling between songs left over. I had none this time.

Kiwi the Geek said...

I was surprised at how smooth the stage show has become.

Good job!

The Hebrew songs are mostly from Psalms or prayers, occasionally passages of Bible.

In that case, the Bible reference would be sufficient. Are Jewish references the same as Christian ones?

Kiwi the Geek said...

OT, but I just read this on another blog: "Furthermore, most Jews respect those of other religions who are "frum" within their beliefs. Most Jews will tell you that they'd rather have as a boss or neighbor "a frum goy" than a non-religious Jew."

That means I'm frum! The wonders never cease!

PsychoToddler said...

Kiwi: I'd qualify that statement by saying that "frum" Jews think that way. I think secular Jews feel quite differently.

You certainly are "frum", though!

Kiwi the Geek said...

Not that I'm arguing, but how do you know I'm frum? You don't know the way I dress or the rules I live by; I don't think I've talked about that on my blog...just curious. Other people are much better than I at reading between the lines.

Kiwi the Geek said...

You mean, secular Jews think they're better than sincere Christians or whoever else? That's pretty screwy.

Many or most conservative Christians have similar respect for frum Jews. Sure, we love to see anybody follow Christ, but that's a longshot. I think we identify with another group that's been persecuted and stood for what they believed, and who lives by the same difficult and unpopular moral rules. Also, both religions have been split by doctrines and liberal vs. conservative politics. The way you feel about Reform Judaism is probably similar to the way I feel about the Episcopal church.

BTW, my previous comment is only because I love to see how astute people figure me out based on limited evidence.

PsychoToddler said...

Kiwi: I can tell that you're frum by the way you write, your attitudes towards spirituality, prayer, modesty, your careful use of language and avoidance of profanity. Primarily your philosophy that you are subserviant to a higher being and need to act accordingly shines through.

Regarding non-observant Jews' attitudes to Observant Jews or Christians: Although I suppose there are some who do feel superior for some reason, I don't think that's really the attitude. What I've experienced has been a combination of intolerance/resentment.

It probably goes back to whatever the reason is that they themselves are not observant. If it's ignorance, that's less of a problem. It's usually just a matter of education and becoming more familiar with what religious people do or are about. I remember being very phobic towards Chassidim. Now that I've had some familiarity with them I've decided I just dislike them--KIDDING! I'm much more comfortable with them. They just have a different spin on things.

It's more of a problem if they know more about the religion and just reject it outright--thinking it's antiquated, or too much trouble to follow. Then I'm a reminder to them of all the things they should be doing but don't.

When I started my residency program here in Milwaukee, I got the most attitude from Non-religous Jews. Those were the ones who didn't want me to take off for Shabbat or Holidays. The religious Christians had no problem with it, were more than happy to trade calls with me, and most went out of their way to tell me how much they admire me for sticking to what I think is right.

Ralphie said...

On the topic of chauvinistic secular Jews, I'm sure there are plenty of them, as well as plenty of religious chauvinists, and non-chauvinist secular Jews, and chauvinists in other religions...

I think what PT was trying to say (if I may), is that a religious Jew is much more likely to relate to a relgious Christian - or at least to his/her religiosity - than a secular Jew would.

At one of my first jobs, I found myself much more comfortable speaking with a church-going Christian colleague than with any of the many secular Jews there. (And it's not like we talked about religion necessarily, either.)

You know, if you say or type "chauvinist" a lot it starts to sound funny. Same is true with "sheep."

Sheep. Sheep. Sheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheepsheep

Guess that's kind of off-topic.

Kiwi the Geek said...

Primarily your philosophy that you are subserviant to a higher being and need to act accordingly shines through.

Wow, thanks! BTW, Christians call that "seeing Christ in you". I see Hashem in you too.

Ralphie, I've seen that happen with lots of words.

Sweettooth120 said...

Yonah, that's hysterical. I got pulled out of line when I was going through Airport customs both in England and in NY. I guess I gave the soldier carrying the Uzi a funny look at Heathrow and in NY...well it had something to do with me wearing a tank top, and room enough to hide drugs. His words, not mine.