Jews invented punk. We kicked out the jams and kicked off a musical movement that perseveres, just like our people!
Punk got its start with the Chosen People, when the offspring of Holocaust survivors turned the tables on their enemy, a la Mel Brooks in The Producers, with a combination of sarcasm, pessism, and yes, Judaism.
This cleverly named book traces the roots of this musical genre, starting with comedian Lenny Bruce, who literally set the stage while on stage for what was to come, and Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed, who endured shock therapy as a teenager because his parents didn’t like his inability to remain a nice Jewish boy.
Heebie-Jeebies is an incredibly comprehensive account of the history of punk and includes interviews with many other musicians, journalists, and club owners, like Danny Fields, the members of Suicide, Jonathan Richman, Lenny Kaye, Hilly Kristal, Malcom Maclaren, and of course, the Ramones and Blondie, even the Beastie Boys. You might be surprised to find out who was Jewish – and who wasn’t.
You’ll learn a lot if you read this book, particularly about the events that influenced the rise of the movement and how that influence endures into the 2010s. Punk has morphed into something a little “pop”ier at times, something a little edgier at other times. It survives in a more modern form - how Jewish.
Time for a new version of the Chanukah song? Joey Ramone lights the menorah . . .
(Punkt: Yiddish for exactly.)