March 4, 2004
Shlock Rock ‘n’ Roll
If spoof dj Dr. Demento hosted a Purim show, he'd have to spotlight the Jewish band Shlock Rock. Shlock 'n' roll includes clever parodies of pop hits like "I Don't Get No Humentashen (based on the Stones' "Satisfaction") and "Achashverosh" (think Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus").
For Purim 2004, the musicians will perform these spoofs, live, in a Southern California appearance March 6 for Chabad of Irvine. They'll also shlock out to tunes from their new album, "Almost on Broadway," where "Annie's" "Tomorrow" becomes, "To Maariv."
Band founder Lenny Solomon, a nice Orthodox ex-accountant from Queens, is "the Jewish Weird Al," according to Simon Rutberg of Hatikvah Music.
But his spoofs have a serious message: "It's spreading Jewish identity and awareness," Solomon, 43, said.
The singer-keyboardist, who is descended from generations of cantors, said Shlock came about by accident in 1985. Then, his band, Kesher, was playing the youth group circuit, and Solomon decided to record the parodies he'd written to interest bored teenagers.
"Never in a million years did I think it would turn into a career," he said.
Yet requests poured in for parody concerts, and Solomon ultimately left Kesher to Shlock full time. Since then, his band has released 23 albums, including original and children's music, although Solomon remains best known for parodies such as "Hit Me With Your Best Pshot," (Pat Benetar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"), about a student arguing with his rebbe.
Solomon, too, has argued with rebbes, who claim prayer and pop don't mix.
"But Jews have always taken music from their surroundings," he said. "If a song has a Jewish message, it's Jewish."
That applies even to "Hamentashen," which has to do with scarcity of holiday pastries. "None left in the bakery," the song laments. "I can't get no Hamentashen. I can't get no nosh reaction."
Solomon, for his part, relates more to Mordecai than Mick Jagger. "I'm fighting for Jewish education through music," he said.
The band performs March 6, 7:30 p.m., at the Lake View Senior Center in Irvine. For more information, call (949) 786-5000.
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