Meshugga Beach Party

Meshugga Beach Party

(Note: Banner photo lifted from the website of Judd’s Hill Winery, a Jewish-owned winery in Napa, which we hear is very nice this time of year.)

Of the various orders and species of weird bands, one of our favorites is the Band Dedicated Beyond All Reason to an Incredibly Specific Joke. These can’t be one-and-done bands; they’ve got to release album after fucking album, for years and years and years, all based around the exact same premise. Within this little subcategory, you’ve got your Zambonis (all songs about hockey), your Beatallica (all Beatles/Metallica mashups) and your Previously on Lost (all songs based on the TV show Lost). Today, we are happy to add to the Weird List another Band Dedicated Beyond All Reason to an Incredibly Specific Joke: Meshugga Beach Party, a Jewish surf-rock band from San Francisco. “Meshugga,” for those of y’all who aren’t part of the tribe, means “crazy” in Yiddish, so these farkakte bastards live up to their billing. They’ve been mixing “Hava Nagila” with “Miserlou” since 2003. 2003! The only thing I’ve been doing consistently since 2003 is disappointing my parents.

But, I hear you say, gimmicks schmimmicks: How’s the music? Well, I gotta tell you, it’s ain’t half bad. Head meshuggener Mel Waldolf has been playing surf-rock for 20 years and even composed music for Spongebob Squarepants and My Favorite Martian, so he knows his way around a twangy solo. And the rest of the band can rip the curl right with him.  (Is that how surfers talk? I’m neither Jewish nor a surfer, so I’m flying by the seat of my tuchas here.)

As previously mentioned, Meshugga Beach Party have been around for over a decade, so they’ve released a ton of music, including a Hanukkah album because hey, everybody loves that “Dreidel, Dreidel” song, right? Their other titles include Let’s Go Shlepping! and Twenty Songs of the Chosen Surfers. Most are available via their website, at prices that won’t make you plotz.

By the way, lest there by any confusion: Meshugga Beach Party is in no way affiliated with these guys. That’s a different and much more goyim kind of weird band. Although I’m sure they call their mothers every week, too.

We’ll leave you with MBP’s most famous track, which is indeed a mashup of that song people play even at non-Jewish weddings as an excuse to carry the bride and groom around on chairs, and the Dick Dale track made famous by the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.

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Weird of the Day: Meshugga Beach Party, “Hava Nagila/Miserlou”

Meshugga Beach Party

Summer’s almost here, and nothing says summer more than beach parties and bar mitzvahs. Or beach mitzvahs. I think we have those in California now. I almost went to one once but I hate getting sand on my prayer shawl.

Anyway, reader Yolojoe just turned us on to the perfect band to book for your next beach mitzvah: Meshugga Beach Party, a Northern California crew who play Dick Dale-style surf rock while dressed in full orthodox finery. Much shredding—and, we can only assume, much schvitzing—ensues.

They’re a kick in the tuchas, right? They’ve put out three albums’ worth of this stuff, believe it or not. You can hear more on their website.

DeScribe

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Photo by Schneur Manaker

Shalom, weirdlings! In honor of Yom Kippur (which started last night, for all you goyim out there), we thought we would finally give a long overdue Weird List shoutout to our favorite Hasidic Jewish rapper. No, not Matisyahu. When have we ever been that obvious? No, the only Hasidic rapper who really deserves Weird Band of the Week honors is Crown Heights, Brooklyn’s finest, DeScribe.

DeScribe was born Shneur Hasofer, into a Hasidic family in, of all places, Sydney, Australia. If you can keep the faith when everyone around you is throwing shrimp on the barbie, you gotta be pretty hardcore. Young Shneur got into music at an early age, but also into trouble, and his family packed him off to Israel to study in a yeshiva (basically, Bible Camp for Jews). He even enlisted in the Israeli army and became a  sharp shooter, which officially makes him more of a badass than your favorite gangsta rapper. You don’t spend three years in the Israeli Defense Forces without popping many caps into many asses.

After he left the army, young Shneur became the Jerusalem equivalent of a hood rat, hanging out in Zion Square with the drug dealers and homeless kids. Two things saved him from that life: religion and hip-hop. And he’s been combining them ever since.

It would be crazy enough if all DeScribe did was rap half in Hebrew, half in English, while wearing a tallit (the traditional Jewish prayer shawl) and a yarmulke. But he brings his own burly Brooklyn Hasid swag to the proceedings, as well, grooving to the beat, sporting some seriously fly head gear and even deploying some Auto-Tune. It’s like if T-Pain had a long-lost Australian Orthodox Jewish brother. Hey, that sounds like a great terrible idea for a sitcom!

So Happy Yom Kippur, y’all. Start planning that Wednesday night break-fast now.

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