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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

Jews Who Rock

Guy Oseary; Introduction by Ben Stiller; Afterword by Perry Farrell

St. Martin's Griffin



The original inspiration for this book came when my friend Josh Richman gave me a book called Jews in Sports as a Hanukah gift. I instantly thought about all of the Jewish artists who were in rock, and knew how outstanding a book about them could be. I was born in Israel and moved to the United States when I was eight years old. I can still remember how excited I was when I learned that some of my favorite musicians were Jewish--it made me feel proud of my Judaic background and where I came from. There are a lot of kids out there who might feel alone because they're the only Jewish person in their school or community. Discovering that a favorite musician is Jewish might give them a reason to feel positive about their culture, religion, and themselves. I wrote this book to honor and celebrate these rockin' Jews . . . I give you Jews Who Rock.

The Beastie Boys

Born: Mike D: Born Michael Diamond, November 20, 1965-Upper West Side, NYC
MCA: Born Adam Yauch, August 5, 1967-Brooklyn Heights, NYC
Ad-Rock: Born Adam Horovitz, October 31, 1966-UpperWest Side, NYC
Talent: Rappers/songwriters/musicians

The Road to Fame: Middle class Jews Diamond and Yauch formed the original Beastie Boys as a hardcore punk band in 1981. Their drummer and guitarist left in 1983, just as Horovitz had folded his punk band, the Young and the Useless, to join the group and help them make their transition to rap, In 1984, the Beasties signed with Columbia's Def Jam Records and releasec Licensed to Ill, the best-selling rap album of the 1980s, two years later. After a dispute with their label in 1988, they signed with Capitol and were teamec with the Dust Brothers, acclaimed producers of cutting-edge music. Their groundbreaking follow-up, Paul's Boutique, failed commercially but earned them cult status. The underground fame soon paid off and the Beastiel them cult status. The underground fame soon paid off and the Beasties reemerged in the '90s with their own label, Grand Royal, and a series of best-selling albums.

The Music: Breakthrough Hit: "Fight for Your Right (To Party)" (1986)
Best-Selling LP: Licensed to III (1986)
Other Hit Singles: "Sabotage" (1994), "Sure Shot" (1994), "Intergalactic" (1997)

Did you Know?: The Beastie Boys opened for Madonna during her Like a Virgin Tour and were nearly booed off the stage for their comically profane stage antics.
Licensed to Ill was the fastest selling debut in Columbia Records history (750,000 copies in its first six weeks). It remains the Beasties's best-selling disc, with sales of over 8 million.
The Beasties were arrested, sued, and accused of inciting riots during their 1987 tour.
"Cookie Puss," their first underground hit single was based on a prank phone call the group made to a Carvel ice cream store.
Ad-Roc's father is New York playwright Israel Horovitz.
The band founded the Tibetan Freedom Concerts, a series of benefit shows that call attention to the persecution of the people in Tibet.

Bob Dylan

Born: Robert Alien Zimmerman,May24,1941-Duluth,MN
Talent: Singer/songwriter/guitarist

The Road to Fame: Following his graduation from the University of Minnesota in 1959, Zimmerman became a fixture at coffeehouses as a folk singer and dubbed himself Bob Dylan. Bob relocated to New York City in 1961 and garnered attention as an opening act for bluesman John Lee Hooker. Signing with Columbia, he put out an eponymous album that was comprised mostly of covers. It was after the 1962 release of his second album. The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, that his legend was born. Folk acts such as Peter, Paul, & Mary and Joan Baez began to cover and popularize his songs. In 1965, Bob entered the rock-and-roll arena with the hit "Like a Rolling Stone," much to the chagrin of folk devotees. His songs continued to trumpet socialist and transcendental themes and to extol the use of certain drugs, as in "Rainy Day Women No. 12 and 35 (Everybody Must Get Stoned)." He toured and recorded tirelessly for the next thirty years, during which time he explored various religions outside of Judaism, to which he ultimately returned. In 1998, Bob won three Grammys for his 1997 release Time Out of Mind.

Bob on Judaism: "My so-called Jewish roots are in Egypt. They went down there with Joseph, and they came back with Moses, you know, the guy that killed the Egyptian, married an Ethiopian girl, and brought the law down from the mountain." -City Pages, 1983

The Music: Assorted Albums: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963), Highway 61 Revisited (1965), New Morning (1970), Blood on the Tracks (1975), Empire Burlesque (1985), Time Out of Mind (1997)

More Dylan Classics: "Blowing in the Wind," "The Times They Are a Changin'," "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"

Famous Tours: 1975: The Rolling Thunder Revue with Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Jack Elliot, Arlo Guthrie, Mick Ronson, Roger McGuinn, and Allen Ginsberg.
1986: with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
1987: with the Grateful Dead as his backing band
l988-1996: The Never Ending Tour

Did You Know?: Bob took his adopted last name from poet Dylan Thomas.
He was bar mitzvahed in 1954.
Bob was nearly booed off the stage at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 when he plugged in an electric guitar.
Bob was involved with the Lubavitch movement in Jerusalem in 1984.
He studied with a rabbi in New York during the early 1970s.

Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction and Porno for Pyros

Born: Peretz Bernstein, March 29, 1959-Queens, NY
Talent; Singer/songwriter

The Road to Fame: After a brief career as a rock star-impersonating stripper in Newport Beach, California, Perry became the lead singer of the experimental rock band Psi Com. The band gained a loyal following, but fizzled out in 1985, about the time that Perry met bassist Eric Avery. The two began writing songs, and soon formed Jane's Addiction with drummer Stephen Perkins and guitarist Dave Navarro. The band's debut-a self-titled live album released by the L.A.-based indie Triple X-started a bidding war that landed them a deal with Wamer Brothers. Their proper studio debut,

Nothing's Shocking (1988), featured such underground classics as "Mountain Song" and "Jane Says." Their next album, Ritual de lo Habitual (1990), was a smash hit, due in part to the single "Been Caught Stealing," an MTV favorite. After the 1991 Lollapalooza tour, which Perry created, the band broke up. The following year. Perry and Steve went on to form Porno for Pyros, whose success nearly equaled that of their previous band. The Music: More of Perry's Hits: With Jane's Addiction: "Mountain Song"; With Porno for Pyros: "Freeway," "Hard Charger"

Did You Know?: Perry shared a house with college football players when he arrived in California.
The name "Jane's Addiction" refers to a junkie friend of Perry and Stephen who was also a prostitute.
Many stores refused to carry the album Nothing's Shocking because of the nude sculpture of Perry's girifriend that graced the cover. He created a papier-mache "three-way" for the cover of Ritual that forced Warner to issue a censored cover for sensitive retailers.
Perry was once arrested for singing nude onstage with Jane's Addiction
Jane's Addiction reunited in 1997, with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea standing in for Avery.

Joey Ramone of The Ramones Born: Jeffrey Hyman, May 19, 1952-Forest Hills, NY
Talent: Singer/songwriter

The Road to Fame: In 1974, Hyman became "Joey Ramone," drummer of the Ramones, a new punk-rock band whose members assumed the surname "Ramone," and dressed in leather and torn blue jeans. Joey switched to lead vocals shortly after the band began gigging in clubs with their trademark twenty-minute sets of two-minute songs. The Ramones' 1976 debut album quickly earned them cult status in the United States and Britain. Despite a few attempts to crossover into the pop charts in the early 1980s the Ramones maintained a consistent sound during their twenty-two-year existence. The 1996 Lollapalooza festival marked their last tour, after which Joey started a radio show, produced several bands, and began work on a collaborative recording project with singer Ronnie Spector of Ronettes fame for the indie-punk label Kill Rock Stars.

The Music: Suggested Listening: Ramones (1976), The Ramones Leave Home (1977), Road to Ruin (1978), End of the Century (1980), Loco Live (1991), Acid Eaters (1993)

Did You Know: The Ramones recorded their debut album for only $6000.
Joey and the band played major roles in Roger German's Rock 'n Roll High School (1979).
Road to Ruin was the first Ramones album to run over half an hour.
The legendary Phil Spector produced the Ramones' 1980 album, End of the Century.
In 1989, the Ramones wrote the theme song to the film adaptation of Stephen King's Pet Semetary.
The Ramones' appearance at the 1996 Lollapalooza was their farewell tour.

Adam Sandler

Born: September 9,1966- Brooklyn N.Y. Talent: Comedian/singer-songwriter

The Road to FameRaised in Manchester, N.H., Adam's first real brush with comedy came at age seventeen when his brother told him that he should take the stage at a Boston comedy club. While studying at N.Y.U., Adam honed his comedy chops in clubs and at college campuses around the city. Shortly after graduation in 1990, he was hired as a writer/cast member of Saturday Night Live, becoming one of the show's most popular performers. In 1995, two years after the release of his Grammy-nominated comedy album They're All Gonna Laugh at You!, which contained the hit single "Lunchlady Land," Adam left SNL to pursue a career in both stand-up comedy and movies.

The Music: Sandler's Other Hit Singles: "The Thanksgiving Song," "The Chanukah Song," "What the Hell Happened to Me?"
Follow-Up Albums: What the Hell Happened to Me? (1996), What's Your Name (1997), Stan & Judy's kid (1999)

Did You Know: Adam's first professional gig involved a comedic appearance on "Showtime at the Apollo."
His 1996 comedy album What the Hell Happened to Me? reached the Top 20 and went double platinum.
Adam wrote the screenplays for Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, Big Daddy, and Little Nicky with his college roommate Tim Herlihy (not a Jew).

Copyright 2001 by Guy Oseary