Staiman: The video cost like $30 to shoot. I did it literally for no money, I just bought sandwiches for the crew. We shot it for a day, and then edited it and put it up a couple days later. And immediately after putting it up it went viral. The next day it had thousands of hits and it was all over the blogs. I was sort of taken aback by all this.
Currently, the original “Get” clip has 115,000 views. It Ain’t Susan Boyle, but for a Yidvid that took $30 to produce – pretty respectable.
Staiman: I decided to give it a shot and pretty quickly we were doing big shows, and a couple weeks later we opened for the Moshav Band (a huge Israeli band that began in Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach’s little village on the road to Jerusalem, and is a successful musical crossover, which their website defines as “rich with fiery rock/folk/reggae songs, spiced with the flavors of the Middle East.”).
Yanover: (Making general appreciative noises, including an inaudible “Wow.”)
Staiman: It kinda took off very quickly. So we turned into a real band. At first it was a fake band, we didn’t really have band rehearsals, I just wrote the chords in my basement. But very quickly we started rehearsals and writing new material, and we put out an album. And the rest is history.
The Groggers’ debut album, “There’s No ‘I’ In Cherem,” was released in the summer of 2011, to great reception. Binyomin Ginzberg wrote in the Forward: “Offbeat characters with humorous personal issues populate The Groggers’ songs. From a guy who got dumped by his girlfriend so that she can date a Maccabeat, to a frustrated Queens single who wants to move to the Upper West Side, Staiman’s quirky subjects illustrate the ridiculous aspects of modern religious life. Each song also presents a snarky perspective or a situation with a twist.”
Mom and dad I’ve got news for you I found myself a love that is so true Cause she’s everything to me And I hope that you agree And I hope that you can love her like I do
Mom and dad don’t be afraid Cause I know you think shell rain on your parade But if you open up your mind Like I know Ive opened mine Youll meet a girl who spends a lot of her time rallying against the state of Israel, surprisingly
Anyway her name is…
Oh Oh Malka Jihad She talks like Islam But she looks like Chabad
Oh oh shes smart and analytical All our conversations Always turn political Its me and me and me and me and me and Malka Jihad.
There’s a party going down In our little Brooklyn town And its spreading far and wide And were screaming it out loud
So put on your dancing shoes Fill the table full of booze Tonight were celebrating Cause it’s Gimmel Tamuz
Farbrengen! Cause tonights the night In crown heights
Lets get drunk for breakfast And Farbreng all day Well keep on drinking Don’t need AA.
Yanover: Four guys in the band?
Staiman: There’s four of us in the band. Same lineup as the Beatles.
Yanover: It’s very sophisticated in terms of the amount of thinking that somebody who plays multi-user video games and has an open tab at Domino’s has to employ to get your ideas. Are you a thinking man’s rock band?
Staiman: I would like to think so, although there are songs that are considered to be very sophisticated and that I wrote in about ten minutes. And then I had to discover their depth after the fact myself. I’d write the song, then I’d read the lyrics and realize that what I was saying had multiple layers and levels.
“So some of the songs I wrote very specifically and strategically to sound sophisticated and there are songs that sort of happened to end up that way organically.
“In terms of being for deep thinkers and stuff – I try to have something in there for everybody. Even if you’re playing a video game and play us in the background – there’s something in there for you also.”
Yanover: You embed the song in kind of a scene before you start singing.
Staiman: Exactly. It very dramatic.
Yanover: It’s entertaining. There has to be some crossover for you because I see your upcoming date (March 13, 2012) is at the Gramercy Theater… What’s your appeal to, never mind non-religious Jews – what do you have to say to the altogether non-Jewish audience?