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Home > Arts & Entertainment > Sex, Drugs and Jews?


Sex, Drugs and Jews?

By MICHAEL AUSHENKER
Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles
November 27, 2000

LOS ANGELES—In the introduction to his new book, Guy Oseary -- the maverick Maverick music exec responsible for signing Alanis Morrissette and Prodigy onto Madonna's label (which he now runs) -- writes, "I was born in Israel and moved to the United States when I was eight years old. I can still remember how excited I was when I learned that some of my favorite musicians were Jewish -- it made me feel proud of my Judaic background and where I came from."

Now others can access that same Jewish pride via Oseary's just-released paperback "Jews Who Rock" (St. Martin's Press, 2000).

With a humorous forward by movie mensch Ben Stiller and an afterword by Peretz Bernstein (better known as Jane's Addiction lead singer Perry Farrell), "Jews Who Rock" entertains as it informs, with tidbits and trivia about musicians-many of them pioneers and legends-who happen to have Jewish background.

Sure, the Jewishness of many in the book, such as Bob Dylan, Bette Midler, and Adam Duritz of Counting Crows, may either be common knowledge by now, or may come of no surprise. But Manfred Mann, Rush front man Geddy Lee, and Mick Jones of The Clash?

The book also outs a roster of younger, cutting edge Jews which the Journal has reported on in recent months, such as Beck, Save Ferris' Monique Powell, and half-Jews Lenny Kravitz and Slash (of Guns N' Roses). If the book has one glaring flaw, it's that more ink is spilt recapping career highlights, while less information is supplied on the Jewish heritage from which these popular musicians derive. With figures such as Sex Pistols founder Malcolm McClaren and the half-Jewish Courtney Love, such insight might have been nice. Nevertheless, for any Jew who's ever played the name game (i.e., everyone), "Jews Who Rock" is a brisk, eyebrow-raising read. Big bonus feature: reprinting the lyrics of Adam Sandler's "The Chanukah Song."

© Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, 2000. May not be reproduced without written permission.

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