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.

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.



I was a rock star of sorts in the 1990s. My band, The Crushin’, was on MTV and charted #53 on the Billboard Hot 100. But I had a problem; nobody wanted to be a sideman in my band. Everyone wanted to be the star. I wrote the songs but everybody else thought they were the star.

Now I do mostly solo gigs and give piano lessons. I don’t play klezmer. I knew you’d ask that. I like klezmer but I don’t play it. I don’t mind listening to klezmer — in small doses.

Last shabbes my rabbi’s Zoom sermon was “What I Learned at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” The rabbi must have recently seen 20 Feet from Stardom. He said you’ve got to balance your sideman role with your star-tripping persona. Joseph was a star-tripper and his brother Judah was a sideman in the band.

The rabbi asked for comments from the congregation. (He likes to work the room.) I chimed in about my old band. Most people didn’t even know I had been a rocker. I talked about my record-label deals and my A-hole manager. I actually said “A-hole.”

I’m a sideman. I accept that now. We’re all sidemen. But don’t forget this: I hit #53 on the Billboard Hot 100 (June 21, 1995) with The Crushin’s “I Hope My Afterlife is After Yours.”


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Here’s my recent op-ed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about a lake with no water in it. “Rescue Horseshoe Lake. Dam It.”

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1 bill jones { 03.31.21 at 9:21 am }

Thanks for bringing Horseshoe Lake’s plight to people’s attention. As you pointed out, its a wonder the people in the surrounding neighborhoods don’t openly support more priority for the Lake (mud flat). But as you know folks these days have forgotten that government is still functioning and they can make their views know to those in government who are involved.

2 Kenneth Goldberg { 03.31.21 at 9:55 am }

Load some videos of “Crushin’ on YouTube and I may watch. I’m glad to know you don’t play Klezmer. Who needs that stuff, anyway….(

3 David Korn { 03.31.21 at 10:49 am }

Rock: Si! Klezmer: No.

4 Charlie B { 03.31.21 at 11:34 am }

You’re not Jonny Valentine’s cousin, are you?

5 Rev Don Friedman { 03.31.21 at 12:27 pm }

I once upon a time was consumed with Klezmeritis!

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