Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.
 

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz too. So maybe he’s really Klezmer Landlord.
 

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)
 

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.
 

Stratton has written op-eds for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.


 
 

MY FIRST DATE

I went out once in high school. It was a fix up, courtesy of my parents. I took out Barbara E. to see Cool Hand Luke at the Vogue and then on to Manner’s Big Boy at Van Aken for shakes. My parents knew her parents. I didn’t see her again, although we went to Michigan together, but I never saw her or said hi to her on the Diag, or anything at all.

How could you say no to this guy?

Bert “Pancho” Stratton, 1967

A couple years ago I was playing tennis in Cleveland, and I saw her father, who is in his 90s. I knew him from my nursing home gigs. Next to him was a young woman (age 66!) in a ski jacket. She was watching the oldsters play doubles. These oldsters were talking to the woman about a nor’easter in Boston. I knew Barbara had moved to Boston after college because I had Googled her. It was her.

I told my tennis partner that Barbara was the first girl I had dated. He didn’t care. He wanted to play tennis. But I stopped everything and said to her, “We went out on a date in high school. I’m Bert Stratton.”

“Really?” she said. I reminded her about Cool Hand Luke and the shakes. Really? “I do remember the name Stratton, though,” she said.

OK.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

September 20, 2018   3 Comments

MY DAD HAD
A GOOD SHORT GAME

“Anything within 10 feet of the cup, Toby sank,” said Hy Birnbaum, a friend of my late father. I ran into Hy at the drugstore, where he worked part-time as a pharmacist. He was about 85 at the time. Hy said all his friends were dead. (My dad, Toby, had been dead about 25 years.)

I ran into John Kelly, who worked with my dad 30-plus years ago at the key company. John said one of the “big bosses” had slept in the key company office overnight because he had marital problems. This particular “big boss,” Sid, had a slew of problems. His kids were “real hippies,” said John. Sid was a loud-mouth, know-it-all, country-club Jew from Shaker Heights, I remember my dad saying. My dad kvetched about Sid frequently at dinner.

My dad disliked most “big bosses.” But the one “big boss” my dad liked, luckily, was the key company president, Manny Schor, who was a World Federalist, intelligent and not a show off.

Manny came to my gigs occasionally in his later years. (Most of the big bosses at the key company were Jewish. The company was owned by a Jew.) Manny said, “I can still picture your father sitting at his desk.”

So could I.

Why were these old guys still alive and my dad dead? That’s what I  wanted to know. My dad’s long game wasn’t so great.

—-

Toby Stratton 1917-1986, died just shy of 69; Manny Schor 1918-2009, 91; Sid 1921-2000, 79; Hy Birnbaum 1925-2016, 91; John Kelly 1931-2011, 80.

 

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

September 12, 2018   3 Comments

FOOTNOTE

I was at the examination room in an orthotics store. The room had a small stage, fit for one person. I sat on the stage, and the orthotics guy was in the front row, so to speak, and looked at my feet. He had a shoebox-sized device with foam in it. He said, “Step in it.” I wondered what this had to do with my sore knee.

phoenix sweatin'Not much. Afterward the assistant said, “That’ll be two eighty.” As in $280. For an insert.

My wife didn’t approve of the orthotics outing. She thought the orthotics weren’t worth it, at least for this particular problem. My issue was more of a head case. The orthotics person gave me plaster of Paris casts of my feet. I stored the casts in my closet in case I ever need more orthotics.

More orthotics, please!

Footnote on a similar subject: I recently polled five physical therapists about heel lifts. Four are against heel lifts (for me) and one is for.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

September 5, 2018   1 Comment

I HAVE SOME CAPS

I lost my Brooks running hat. I owned two and lost them both. They were from a running store in Ann Arbor. I don’t usually lose things (except hats, gloves and caps). I went to Dick’s in Cleveland for a replacement hat and bought an Adidas, but it was constricting. I got headaches from the Adidas. (Granted, I didn’t give my head enough time to adjust to the new hat.)

hats five capsAmazon — I tried that. Nothing I liked there. I wanted a long-bill white cap with not much writing on it. eBay had four. I bought them all. That’s excessive, I know, but it’s only overkill if I die tomorrow. (Yiddishe Cup’s former drummer, Don Friedman, has 10 pairs of black jeans. Steve Jobs had at least 50 black turtleneck shirts.)

I went on eBay a couple days after my hat buys to see how the world of caps was holding up. There were no old-style Brooks hats left. I had cornered the market.

My Brooks hats arrived from Mississippi. Then my wife found one of my old ones.

I have some caps.

Here’s my latest essay from City Journal, “Locking My Bedroom Door,” about Airbnb, my wife and me.

The hostess

The hostess

 

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

August 29, 2018   3 Comments

TOM CLARK

Donald Hall, the big-time English professor at Michigan, had some super-favorite students, and I wasn’t one of them. Number one was Jane Kenyon, whom he married. Another was Tom Clark, who became poetry editor of the Paris Review at 22, thanks to Hall.

Hall wrote in A Carnival of Losses: “Tom Clark was the best student I ever had. As a senior at the University of Michigan he wrote a 44-page paper about the structure of Ezra Pound’s Cantos, replete with Chinese characters — Tom’s back hurt from carrying Chinese dictionaries — and Greek, neatly ball-pointed . . . His paper went further into Pound’s structure of improvisation than anyone else had done.”

Tom Clark (L) and Lewis Warsh on the beach at Bolinas, Calif., 1968. Photo by Anne Waldman

Tom Clark (L) and Lewis Warsh on the beach at Bolinas, Calif., 1968. Photo by Anne Waldman

Clark was at Michigan seven years before me. I bought his first poetry book, Stones, shortly after it came out in 1969. I hitchhiked to Bolinas, but Clark wasn’t there. (I met Lewis Warsh instead, another poet.) I had a poem in The World, an East Village mag, and was thrilled. I wrote some more poems.

Clark kept up with poetry. Clark had a wise-acre, yet lyrical, poetic style that reminded me how I would write poetry if I was good, brilliant, and had stuck with it. I went over to prose (for the fame and money).

Clark wrote prose, too – mostly dry bios. I liked just one: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, an investigation on Allen Ginsberg’s weird relationship with a Buddhist leader, Chogyam Trungpa, in Boulder.

I wanted to be Tom Clark for a while.

On Friday Clark was hit by a car and died. He was walking across the street in Berkeley. He was 77. It was an accident. A screw up.


I had an op-ed — “5oth high school reunion time? Just Show up” — in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Sunday.

brush greaser

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

August 20, 2018   3 Comments

DEATH TRAINING

My younger son recommended I try a flotation tank in California. You climb into a flotation capsule that feels like an MRI tube, but it’s filled with several inches of salt water. There’s music, and then the lights go out, and the music goes off, too. You float on your back in the dark.

I couldn’t find the exit handle and panicked. But when I finally found the handle, I settled in and kept my hand on the exit lever. I counted down from 100. That flotation tank in Pasadena was an acquired taste. Not much going on in there. It was death training.

bert tombstone

Funk a Deli / Yidd Cup on the lawn tomorrow (7 pm Thurs., Aug. 16) at John Carroll U., University Hts., Ohio. Free. Free ice cream, too. If raining, we’re indoors at the Dolan Science Center. (Some PR says “indoors at the O’Malley Center,” but that’s incorrect.)

funk a deli

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

August 15, 2018   2 Comments

WRONG JOB?

The building manager became shell-shocked when a tenant called from the hospital, crying about losing his toe to diabetes. Worse: the building manager had to chase the sick man for his rent. Meanwhile, the manager also had to collect rent from apartment 102. She knocked on that door. 102 was passed out on the floor. Drunk.

huebner b101 2_21_11

Messiest apt. ever. 2011

“I’ve never seen a place that messy,” the manager said to me later. The place wasn’t that messy. Some people live like pigs. Some tenants are messy because they have health issues and can’t clean.

A tenant had Alzheimer’s. He couldn’t remember if he had written his rent check. The manager thought the tenant might accidentally light the place up, too, so we turned off the tenant’s stove gas.

There were about 40 cigarette butts on the front stoop. A tenant used the stoop as his personal ashtray. I picked up some of the butts and said to the manager, “If this grosses you out, you’ve got the wrong job.”


Funk a Deli/ Yidd Cup is on the lawn at John Carroll U. next Thurs. (7 p.m. Aug. 16). Free. University Hts., Ohio.

Alan Douglass. Middletown, Ohio 2008

Alan Douglass.

Middletown, Ohio 2008

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

August 8, 2018   1 Comment

I’M THE BARD

I used to be a drummer. Now I’m a bard. I break it down by letters, not beats. My favorite letters are k and l, like in glock.

A blue jay smoking a cigar — that’s an abstraction. A blue jay on a cigar — that’s for real. I did wordplay on the drums, but it didn’t work well. I used to play jazz clubs, weddings, bar mitzvahs. I was embattled — with myself. I once did a gig where the club owner strew pillows on the floor so the audience could nod out. They did. One guy woke up halfway through my set and yelled, “I hate this!”

hypno klezI switched to words. Words are tougher than music. The English language is pretty limited with end-rhymes. I hate that tune/spoon, moon/June shit. At least music keeps you anchored with real-life reminders like “when’s the call? . . . what’s the pay? . . . food? . . . dress? . . . parking situation?”

The bard thing is a challenge. What rhymes with challenge?

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

August 1, 2018   2 Comments

THE HUMAN JAZZ ENCYCLOPEDIA

Michael “Moon” Stevens has an almost photographic memory for jazz facts. Moon gets most of his information from reading jazz bios and LP liner notes. Moon grew up in Flint, Michigan, and knew John Sinclair, a well-known jazz aficionado. I’m not sure why Moon is “Moon.” I see him about once a year, when he visits family in Cleveland. Moon is a painter at the Los Angeles airport. Moon was talking to his brother-in-law, Louis, and me about Albert Ayler, Pharaoh Sanders, Joe Maneri, Charlie Parker, Roland Kirk and Bill Evans. Louis mentioned Bill Evans was Jewish.

“How do you know Evans is Jewish, Louis?” I said. “Do you wake up in the morning and wonder who’s Jewish, and who isn’t?” I do. But why would Louis, who isn’t Jewish. Neither is Moon.

“I grew up in Greenwich Village,” Louis said. “New York was a very Jewish town when I grew up.”

“If somebody shoots somebody, or if somebody wins the Nobel Prize, I wonder if the guy is Jewish,” I said. “That’s my M.O.”

Moon said, “Bill Evans wasn’t Jewish. His father was Welsh and his mother was Russian Orthodox.”

Louis corroborated this on Google.

Impressive, Moon.

—-

Was Dave Brubeck Jewish? Here’s that one . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaWvixN_a9Q

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

July 25, 2018   5 Comments

GETTING LOUD
IN THE RESTAURANT

My friend Brian eats out often and is finicky. If his fries aren’t crispy, he sends them back. Brian gets annoyed by cheese. He doesn’t like sharp cheese. If there’s a short pour on the wine, he gets upset.

Brian works the room [the restaurant] like a celeb when he eats out — mostly at places where his buddies are. When we ate at Club Isabella, Brian pointed out the doctors and dentists in the room. Brian said, “That’s the guy who does the dental implants. He runs the full-page ad in the Plain Dealer.”

I said, “When I visit you in California [where Brian lives half the year], you’ve got to do better than docs who do dental implants.” Brian said he would take me to L.A. restaurants where I’ll have a greater than 50-50 chance of spotting celebrities.

Brian likes to say goyim loudly to elicit a reaction from nearby diners. (Nobody reacts. It’s too loud. Nobody hears him.)slomak diining Brad

At Club Isabella, I suggested we out on the patio because it was quieter there, but Brian opted for the echo-chamber dining room. That night every happenin’ Jew in Cleveland was at Isabella’s. Brian worked the room: “How was Aspen, Sandy? . . . “How’s your tennis elbow, Jeff?”

I prefer Indian and Chinese restaurants, because they are usually quiet. I don’t like to suck cough drops and sip tea for weeks after nights out with Brian.


Brian is a pseudonym.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

July 18, 2018   3 Comments

SOME THINGS I HAVE LEARNED

  1. Wear a bike helmet (even though nobody in Holland does).
  2.  Put air in your car tires regularly.

In my thirties, I kvetched about not living in New York, or someplace else equally glamorous. Now, who cares where you live. When I was young, I judged people by their tastes in music and their bumper stickers. I don’t care about that now.

In my twenties, I sometimes wore a tool belt, thinking I was blue-collar. I did some brick pointing, painting, whatever. I didn’t like it.

I annoyed old people for fun. For instance, when my mother-in-law said, “They’re wearing their hair high in the 1940s look,” I would answer, “Who’s they?”

She would say, “I don’t have any shoes to wear tonight to the party.” I would say, “You going barefoot?”

Harvey Pekar

Harvey Pekar

I hung around with the comic-book writer Harvey Pekar — a bitter guy. He said, “I’m hateful. I’d like to have a cool way to slip my George Ade article [published in a local magazine] to my ex-wife [an academic]. She’s small-minded.” Pekar was more cynical than me. I liked that.

Getting married and staying married was one of my better moves. Starting the klezmer band was another good play. Having kids was a good move. Basic stuff.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

July 11, 2018   4 Comments

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

I had a commercial tenant who sold gravestones and pistachios. His main window sign read Porter Monuments and a smaller sign was Pistachios. Not a good sign. He went under.

I had a tenant, the India Food Emporium, which sold Indian spices, Indian bread, Indian music. Then came the Marlboros and malt liquor. Went under.

You want a samosa with that 40?

You want a samosa with that 40?

I got a call from a prospective tenant for a headlight removal business. Not a bad concept; headlights are tricky to remove. The caller corrected me: “Head lice.” I was still OK with it.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

July 4, 2018   2 Comments

WRONGFUL DEATH

Two of my friends’ parents died the same week. The first funeral was a massive Catholic Mass, and the second was a small Jewish affair. At both funerals, mourners chit-chatted about wrongful death. The Catholic man had gone into a local satellite hospital for a fairly routine matter, then went to “code blue,” and died. The Jewish woman had a procedure on her trachea and died. They were both in their 80s.

bad gigWhen my father died, he was treated first by a Mt. Sinai Hospital doc, then a Cleveland Clinic doctor. My dad thought he might get better care at the Clinic. Nope.

Marc Jaffe, a comedian, once told me that he wants to interview people regarding the best way to die. Like he will go up to a guy impaled on a picket fence and say, “Hey, is that a good death?” You don’t know till you try it. (The interview and the death.)

People I know — and know of, in a fanboy way — who have died recently:

From my gen . . . Lillian Goldberg, a friend; David Ariel, former head of the Cleveland College of Jewish Studies.

Older gen . . . Philip Roth, Tom Wolfe, Donald Hall.

[I should convert “my gen” to “older gen” right after I post this. The older crowd — the Silent Gen and WWII folk — is tapped out.]

I wrote a tribute to Donald Hall, who died Saturday. He was a mentor to me. “The Freelancer” in City Journal.

Donald Hall (L) and Bert Stratton, New Hampshire, 2000

Donald Hall (L) and Bert Stratton, New Hampshire, 2000

—-

I wrote “Me and my Lawnmower” for Belt Mag. This one is not about anybody dying, but it does touch on the subject.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

June 27, 2018   4 Comments

I’M A SENSUOUS OLD CROOK

I’m sensuous. Everybody knows that, like I like opera and tennis. I was born above a deli in 1949. I remember the pickles. The cukes were right in the goddamn basement. My parents got the hell out of there in 1955 and moved to the suburbs, South Euclid.

I never really wanted to kill nobody. I was just an accomplice. At Chillicothe, I did kitchen work. I don’t mind getting dirty. I was numero uno with all the inmates, especially the Cleveland Italians and, of course, the Jews.

comedy judgeFor me, personally, the whole thing went kaplooey in ’79 — the year I was busted. The Crash of ’79, for me, was not a book. It was real. I made some scores after, when I got out, and blew everything on a racehorse –- owning one. I couldn’t deal with the thick-headed Italians at the track no more, to tell you the truth.

I’ve learned a few things. If your mama mixes her monthly blood with hamburger and serve it to you, you won’t hit her. What else?

I never got married. Not my thing.

One last thing, I haven’t ate ice cream in at least thirty years. It’s kids’ food and I’m no kid.

Last call: Funk a Deli / Yiddishe Cup at Cain Park, Cleveland Hts., this Sun. (June 24), 7 p.m. Evans Amphitheater. No tix necessary. Guests: Michael Wex, Steve Greenman, Kathy Sebo, Shawn Fink and Greg Selker.

yc 98 2

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

June 20, 2018   3 Comments

NEW YORK CUTTING SESSION

I always wanted to cut another musician in a jam session. I wanted to draw blood! Problem: I’m a mediocre musician. I attended a wedding in New York, and the mother of the bride asked me to play some clarinet. I said, “You already have a good band.” But she insisted I play. The orchestra was a 10-piece wedding unit of NYC pros. I agreed to sit in only if my  son Jack backed me up on drums. (This was before Jack got known with Vulfpeck, so “I want my son on drums” was simply a crutch for me, not leverage to sit in.)

The bandleader and I exchanged emails prior. This was serious biz. In Cleveland, at my band’s gigs, I always let any  wedding guest sit in. Any . . . body!  It’s a wedding, not a concert. This NYC bandleader was choosy. He said the groom’s mom didn’t want anybody to ruin the “flow” of the party.

At the New York party, I stashed my axe in the synagogue front office near the social hall, and had a good time as a guest. The band had three singers, a saxophonist, trumpeter, guitarist, etc. No clarinet. They played Black Eyed Peas, Beatles,”YMCA,” Chuck Berry.

jack and bert stratton 10_22_11

Jack (L) and Bert Stratton, 2011

Toward the end of the party, the bandleader hadn’t yet called me up, so I went into the synagogue office, got my axe, and played along — from the office. I got into a solid groove. The band was back to Jewish music, playing a tune I knew really well. I strolled into the reception and took the melody from the saxophonist. My son hopped on drums. We played old-school klezmer, which hadn’t been heard all night. Success.

Next stop, Minton’s Playhouse, Harlem!

Funk A Deli, aka Yidd Cup, is at Cain Park, Cleveland, 7 pm Sun. June 24. Free. No tix necessary. Special guests are Michael Wex, Kathy Sebo, Steve Greenman, Greg Selker and Shawn Fink.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

June 13, 2018   4 Comments

THE ODDS ARE . . .

The odds are actuaries have interesting jobs. What could be better than figuring out the odds on everything? For instance, what are the odds I’ll rent a store a month sooner if I reduce rent $50? What are the odds I’ll get a gig if I reduce the size of the band?

I’ve had stores empty for years. I had a barber who wanted to put photos of “fades” in her window. I let her. It was a tough store to rent. She was a Puerto Rican Lesbian cage fighter. She had a couple tattoos on her face, like Mike Tyson. She said she was part Jewish. The odds are you’re not Jewish if you say, “I have some Jew in me.”

Me the Landlord? (No, late coroner Lester Adelson)

Me the Landlord? (No, late coroner Lester Adelson)

I rented to a tattoo parlor the other day. I used to not rent to tat shops. We call the new business a “tattoo shop and art gallery” in the lease. I think it’ll work. Tats are mainstream now. Times change. What are the odds an old Jewish landlord would be OK with tats? 55-45.


Funk a Deli, aka Yidd Cup, is at Cain Park, Cleveland 7 p.m. Sun. June 24. Free. No tix necessary. Michael Wex is the emcee. Guests artists are Steve Greenman, Kathy Sebo, Shawn Fink and Greg Selker. We’re gonna burn down Cain Park with klez and soul.

Gonna burn down Cain Park with klez and soul.

Gonna burn down Cain Park with klez and soul.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

June 6, 2018   2 Comments

THE REVOLUTION

I told my dad I couldn’t do pre-med because of The Revolution. How could I do eight years, minimum, of science during a revolution? My dad, surprisingly, did not think I was nuts. This was 1969, and he believed a revolution was coming too.

In Ann Arbor, the Jesse James Gang splintered from the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The gedolim of the gang – Diana Oughton, Bill Ayers and Jim Mellen — wore hiking boots, wire rims, and were Hollywood handsome. They were several years older than me. The Jesse James Gang met in a U. building and encouraged us to take it to the streets.

Some protestors threw rocks through store windows and carried NLF flags. An acquaintance, John Gettel, threw a rock through the Ann Arbor Bank. A couple years later I saw him on a street corner in Cleveland, passing out leaflets for Lyndon LeRouche. John had moved to Cleveland to mingle with the working class. I honked, said hi, and drove off. I was on my way to my job managing apartments.

Dux Wirtanen, a Finnish-American student from the UP, got his jaw broken in a fight outside Hill Auditorium. I don’t remember why. Afterward, he drank through a straw for weeks.

I went to Cobo Hall to protest George Wallace. The funny thing was George Wallace was a good speaker. In 1968 the Michigan Daily endorsed Humphrey. Some of my friends thought the Daily should endorse Eldridge Cleaver (Peace and Freedom Party).

george c wallace

George Wallace

The Revolution petered out in late 1970, after Kent State. Youth-craziness and youth fashion shifted toward ecology — back to the land, communes, and brown rice.

I blame my flame-out in organic chemistry on The Revolution.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

May 30, 2018   4 Comments

A GOOD RISK, OR NOT?

I predict Garcia will leave a pile of junk in his apartment tomorrow. He was evicted and has to move out pronto. Today I saw him get on a bus carrying a TV and a lamp. He conned me  — and the court — because he told the court his mother had had an operation and he had to help her recover. He got a continuance and an extra week. Nice play, Garcia.

In court he showed me pictures of his daughter. He didn’t know he had a daughter until last week, he said. He said the girl’s mother had put her in the trash. I said, “Didn’t you know you had a daughter? You had an affair?”

“It was in high school,” he said. “I was pretty popular back then.” He said his daughter, later adopted, has a PhD and is a weightlifter. Maybe she can help him lift his bed, box spring and couch tomorrow.

I bet the furniture stays. Garcia has until 8 p.m. tomorrow to get the stuff out. I told him, “Everything after 8 pm is ours, even if it’s your grandma’s diamond watch.” He laughed.

I could call the bailiff on him. But what’s the hurry? If I wait another day — and he moves the stuff out — I won’t have to hire a hauler. Garcia has already gotten $500 in free rent. What’s another day? His apartment has a lot of pizza crusts and cigarette butts. No roaches.

I shouldn’t have rented to him, but he looked good on paper. He’s 51 and had a job. Now I’m thinking “51, male, and single” isn’t such a good risk.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

May 23, 2018   3 Comments

OPRIMA EL UNO

I tried Spanish to reach a human at AT&T. Oprima el uno for Spanish. That didn’t work; I got no human, just a Spanish robot. I went through the whole Spanish programa, yelling for a human, and ultimately got an adios from the machine. I’m trying to get my landline to work. It’s been out a couple days. The AT&T online repair site says the phone will be working by Friday. That’s too long.

phone push button shelburne 2015

I used to be a phone-repair guy, back in the 1970s. I’d hook up extra phones in the house I rented. I didn’t own the phones. Ohio Bell owned the phones. Ohio Bell came in one day and took one of my phones. That hurt. The Ohio Bell tech was a young woman who sweet-talked my roommate into my bedroom, where my illegal phone was (but I wasn’t).

I’m OK waiting for my landline. I’m not ranting. You think I’m ranting? I’m cool. But hey, I have a “for lease” sign up with that landline number in a vacant storefront. This is costing me dinero.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

May 16, 2018   4 Comments

MY 15 MINUTES

My band was on MTV and charted #53 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1995. But we had a major problem — nobody wanted to be a sideman. Everyone wanted to be the star. I wrote every song, but everybody else thought they were the star.

kosher riffsI go to shul a lot now, and my rabbi’s sermon this week was “What I Learned at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” My rabbi said you’ve got to balance your sideman role in life with your ego-tripping. The rabbi asked for comments from the congregation. I raised my hand and blabbed a bit about my days as a rocker. Most people at shul didn’t know I was a rocker. I mentioned my A-hole manager. I said “A-hole” in shul.

I’m a sideman now. I accept that. We’re all sidemen. I mean, who’s running this band? Think about it.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

May 9, 2018   2 Comments