KARAOKE in Minnesota

12/08/05
Dave and Shank Bone LeeVee here.

Dave: Six months ago I was in Minnesota with my other band Zambonis on tour with Guster. Three months prior all of Guster spoke of/raved about the greatest bar in the world called U Otter Stop Inn. This place is Fellini meets Minnesota, with a dollop of Brooklyn.

Shank: Being from Brooklyn I had my doubts, but sho’ nuff this place had something special. All the ingredients that make karaoke all it can be. That’s right KARAOKE.

Dave: Before we begin our story, let it be known we left a paper plate with the name of the bar and “Guaranteed Fun” written in big letters in Barenaked Ladies’ dressing room. We started like any good karaoke crew would. Two pitchers of beer and some hard liquor. We were ready.

Shank: At first it was just us LeeVees each pouring through the karaoke “menu” for songs that fit our individual needs and purposes. I broke the ice with The Manhattans’ “Kiss and Say Goodbye”.

Dave: Shank can’t tell you so I will, he not only started the evening he almost clearly finished it with such an awesome performance.

Shank: Shucks. After the locals, like T-Bone and older guy who sings from belly did stellar versions of classics like Folsom Prison Blues and Plush, and of course the guys that did If I Had a Million Dollars by BNL, it was our turn to bring the noise once more.

Dave: Much to our delight, BNL walks in the door with a look that kind of questioned our “Guaranteed Fun” guarantee.

Shank: So we drank. And so did they.

Dave: The party lords sprinkled their guaranteed fun dust upon our keppes. The night took off.

Shank: Dave and I were called up to what we thought would be Rock This Town but turned out to be Stray Cat Strut. Refusing to be caught off guard we freestyle scatted over Setzer’s Stray Cat backbeat. Issues covered included: sounds my hat makes, suggestions to the locals that the walleye is a fine fish and rhymes with knish. BNL was in stitches and the locals cried out for more.

Dave: Next up was Adam and his friend Courtney J with a straight up rockin version of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ duet Stop Draggin My Heart Around. It Burned. Then Shawn LeeVee stepped up to the plate with Pump It Up by
Elvis Costello and the Attractions, and hit it out of the park.

Shank: And now the funniest performance of the night, Tyler of BNL did a remarkable, ground breaking rendition of BTO’s You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet. He took many liberties with the lyrics, more often than not opting for neng neng nennen nengneng nennenenne neng nengs than regular people words. Dave and I agree it was among the funniest things we’ve witnessed. See pic for a taste.

Dave: Kevin, BNL’s keyboardist did Take a Walk on the Wild Side. The moment he started I looked at Shank and Shawn and said he needs some girls for the backup parts. We jumped in with some nice doop doo doops. Next,
Ed of BNL did a tear jerking Hello by Lionel Richie. We wept.

Shank: Steven did Wham’s Everything She Wants. After which he Dave and I decided we need to scat more often, perhaps a side project is in the works…The three of us proceeded to scat through STP’s Plush and more.

Dave: Such a fine night could only be properly concluded by singing a heartfelt End of the Road by Boyz II Men. Tyler called The LeeVees and his fellow BNLers to the mic to sing it out together. We gave it all we had. And were spent.

Shank: Damn good times Dave.

Dave: Damn good times.

Portland, Maine

12.01 – Portland, ME
There are certain phrases one would only hear when touring in a van with an all Jewish rock band. The one that has stuck out in my mind would have to be “Oh shit, there’s matzah everywhere!” Most rock bands would never encounter a situation where the van floor gets covered with matzah crumbs, but the LeeVees can handle any situation that arises!

We’ve played 3 great shows so far: our warm up show in Bridgeport, CT, and 2 shows with Barenaked Ladies in Baltimore, MD and Verona, NY. This morning we taped a performance of “Latke Clan” for the MSNBC show “The Hot List”, which will air on Sunday, December 11th. The host, Sharon Tay, asked the hard hitting questions all Hanukkah themed bands must face, like “how did the band form?” and “how did you write the songs?” Adam and Dave handled the interview like pros and then we played for the cameras, schvitzing like chazas under the
hot lights.

After the taping we drove up to Portland, ME and enjoyed our first night off since the tour started. We’ve only been on tour for three days, but it feels like two weeks! We’ve got 3 more shows in the LeeVees van, then we trade it in
for a tour bus on our first full day off after Sewell, NJ. We all look forward to making our way from East to West coast in style and comfort, but we will miss the LeeVees van dearly. The way that six nice Jewish boys and all their gear fit so snugly, the soothing sounds of 6 people talking on their cell phones at the same time all within a few feet of each other, and of course, the occasional matzah spill.

I know what you’re asking yourself: “There are only 5 LeeVees, who is this 6th nice Jewish boy?” The answer is Seth LeeVee, our tour manager, spiritual leader, and future author of the best book of wisdom one will ever hope to get
their hands on. Seth has toured with many, many bands including Polyphonic Spree, Guster, and now, The LeeVees. At some point in the van, Seth got a call to be Michael Bolton’s personal assistant for a week long Asian tour, and he turned it down to stay with us, his band of Hebrew brethren.

The Portland show was great. Being Adam’s current home town, the crowd was as warm as a fresh baked knish. Shank Bone and I found a cute little Hanukkah picture book at a local thrift shop, which we had all the band members sign. Then we attempted to “pass around” the book to the 3000+ crowd at the Cumberland County Civic Center. The highlight of our stay in Portland, was a late night song-session in our 8th floor room at the Eastland Park Hotel. If you were looking for an inside look at the secret behind how LeeVees songs are written, see this picture below:

Latkes,

Shawn LeeVee

Verona

Hey all,

Dave LeeVee here. We had our 3rd show ever last night in Verona, NY. It was awesome! I can’t think of a better band for The LeeVees to be on the road with than The Barenaked Ladies. Their fans are like a BIG, warm, fuzzy blanket. We are a band that most of them have never heard of but they just embrace/accept us from the get go. They also love to laugh, as do we.

The other thing that I am quickly learning from the few shows we have done is that Jewish people at the shows are simply ecstatic that they actually have some good modern music to rock out to Hanukkah with but, the non Jews are loving it also. It makes them curious about some of the subjects we are singing about in the songs. After the show several non-Jews were asking me detailed questions about “what is a goy” and also asking me to explain “Kugel.” That is what we were trying to do with this CD. We wanted it to be about Hanukkah yet, appeal to everybody.

Speak to you soon,
Dave LeeVee

Ps Tell a friend about us LeeVees.

First Show Ever

Last night, The LeeVees played our world debut. After 48 hours of intense rehearsal at Dave’s house, we packed our stuff into the old guster van and drove 200 yards down the street to perform at Bridgeport’s Acoustic Cafe. This was by far the smallest club I’ve played in 10 years. The five of us just barely fit onto the stage for this intimate sold-out show to 150 people. Even though the crowd consisted mostly of Dave’s friends and hardcore guster fans that already knew and liked the record, I was the most nervous I’d been in a long time. It was only 2 days ago when we couldn’t even get through a song without a major screw-up.

Despite our lack of preparation, we pulled off the show and had a blast. It was a great night of music–Dave’s other band, The Zambonis, played in addition to the triumphant return of Philistines Jr. featuring The LeeVees producer, Peter Katis. Bridgeport’s favorite surf band, The Defenders, opened up. We even got our first fan gift– LeeVees cookies!

Thanks Dawn!
Of course, we also had the requisite drunk/grumpy heckler. Before we started he yells at me, “Play something good!” At first I thought he was encouraging us, but by the 4th time he said it during our set, I realized he was still waiting for something he deemed “good.” During “Gelt Melts” I caught myself wondering why someone would stay (in the front row, no less) for a show they obviously weren’t enjoying before realizing that I needed to
concentrate on the task at hand before screwing it up. I found out later that Dave actually knew the guy! Nice friends, Dave!

Another highlight was when Dave’s mom called in the middle of the show wondering why she hasn’t received her LeeVees cds yet. She called one of Dave’s buddies who yelled out in between songs, “Dave, it’s your mom–she
wants to talk to you.” “Right now?” a shocked Dave asks. He stopped the show in its tracks and put the phone up to the mic for all to hear her kvetch about how she ordered 5 cds from our website 2 weeks ago to no avail. It was damn funny and hard to do justice to after the fact. To get a sense of what I’m talking about, listen to Dave’s mom’s cameo in “At the Timeshare.”

Overall a successful show/dress rehearsal. Now all we have to do is try to win over 3000 Barenaked Ladies fans at the Symphony Hall tomorrow…yikes.

Adam LeeVee

When does Hanukkah “season” begin?

It’s not like Christmas–the season’s beginning is clearly marked at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade when Santa is wheeled out on his styrofoam sleigh promising every gentile child they will get the presents of their dreams if they’re good girls and boys. It’s official–everyone go and buy stuff now!

But what about Hanukkah? When do Jews start feeling in the mood for this holiday? When do those green and orange boxes of Manishewitz products start to look appealing? I want to open a forum for discussion, but we don’t have our message board up yet. This buys you all time to think about it…

Adam LeeVee

Happy New Year!!

Just wishing everyone a sweet and happy year to come…

The LeeVees

The LeeVees On Tour w/Barenaked Ladies!!

We are so psyched to announce that The LeeVees will be opening up for Barenaked Ladies on their winter Holiday Tour! We join together November 28th and tour across the U.S. until December 14th. See the tour dates posted on our myspace site for more details.

Hope to see you on the road!

Adam LeeVee