Ch. 12f : Jerusalem Boys & Girls

According to your website, you recently took a short break from
music to do some soul searching to “rediscover your Jewish roots”. Did
the music ‘biz’ burn you out at all? You must of come back pretty
re-energized as it seems like you’ve been pretty busy the past couple
of years. As far as I can tell, you have up to four or five different
projects going currently (Moschiach Oi!, Blanketstatesmenstein,
Republican Enemy,White Shabbos). Care to talk a bit about that
experience and what it was like?

It was the lifestyle of late nights, intoxication, second-hand smoke
and a spiritual rootlessness that wore me out.  I dropped out of music
for a year and spent my time studying Torah and getting adjusted to
resting on the Sabbath.  Then I bought a house and got started making
parties and jam sessions with a bunch of kids who basically dragged me
back into music.  The truth is that Blanket StatmentStein, White
Shabbos and Moshiach Oi! all have the same members.  It’s just that
different people take turns being the band leader.  The leader of
Moshiach Oi! is a major World/Inferno fan.  He said that the only
reason he originally joined Blanket StatementStein (as the drummer)
was because he thought I could get us a show with World/Inferno.  But
so far I’ve kept my Jewish and pre-Jewish music lives separate.  I
guess I wanted my Jewish bands to grow organically and not rely on my
“music biz” connections.  Like I said above, I enjoy watching things
grow from seed.

11) Which of the projects have been your primary focus lately? Or do
you love them all equally? Any interesting plans in the works?

I like to think of my current projects as my children and treat them
all equally, without favoritism.  But I put a decent amount of money
and time into getting Moshiach Oi! off the ground this year.  We’re
trying to get Moshiach Oi! some shows with the Taqwacore (Islamic
punk) bands.  One band from that scene, the Kominas, was agreeable to
the idea.  He said that such a show would either be amazing or a
complete disaster.

12) Forgive my ignorance but I do love Matisyahu & am excited that I’m
working at the Music Hall of Williamsburg when he is playing next in
December. With Moschiach Oi! being described as what may be “the
world’s first no-joke Torah-Hardcore Punk band” & having “a
full-throated passion for both Torah and Punk Rock” do you feel that
an underground Jewish youth movement in NYC is on the rise in
non-traditional music mediums.

I wish there were more cool Jewish bands because then Moshiach Oi!
would have more bands to play shows with.  The problem is that many
kids who go to Jewish schools don’t learn to play instruments and
their musical vocabulary is limited.  And Jewish kids who know about
good music don’t necessarily know about their own tradition.
Matisyahu being an exception, of course.  Hopefully what he’s doing
and what my bands are doing will have a positive musical effect on the
next generation.

Now Yula plays in Electro Morocco, who are the same label as Moshiach Oi! (Shemspeed).

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