The most yeshivish concert non-Jewish concert I have ever been to was Liquid Tension Experiment at the Nokia Theater in Times Square, everywhere I looked I saw little black velvet yarmulkes atop guys who were headbanging and air guitaring to the side project of one of the most yeshivish bands of all time Dream Theater.
I was introduced to Dream Theater while sitting in the back seat of a compact car driving down a freeway in Detroit to Pine Knob to see Queensryche, we never made it to the show, but Images and Words blew my mind and I began a lifelong devotion to Progressive Rock, little did I know that some time in the near future, progressive rock would become quite a yeshivish thing to listen to.
Metalica was and will always be the yeshivish band of choice, I have no idea how it happened, but if you went off the derech, were a kid at risk or hung out with off the derech yeshiva kids in the last 15 years you probably heard a lot of Metalica. never found the words to be especially yeshivish – although Creeping Death is about the Exodus from Egypt.
Throughout the history of yeshivish music, two bands were talked about a lot because of their Jewish band members, Disturbed and the Beastie Boys. For years I had heard that the Beastie Boys had gone to MTA, this was finally confirmed by my brother who had Rabbi Dulitz (the famed glass eye rebbe) and by one of the first issues of HEEB magazine where the interview for the Beastie Boys revealed such facts. I have never been able to confirm if the rumor that they were thrown out for going to White Castle is true – though they love talking about White Castle in their songs. It’s hard to believe that License to Ill is from 1986 – although Check your Head is my favorite BB album.
Disturbed has the great honor of having a frontman who actually grew up somewhat yeshivish, I think us Chofetz Chaim kids really felt honored that he had gone to WITS (Wisconsin Institute of Torah) which was the bottom level of the Chofetz Chaim food chain right before you got shipped to Rochester (the end of the line before you went to Priority One) Not only did David Draimen attend WITS, people from Chicago actually knew the guy, my buddy Moshe Waltzer’s dad was his bar miztvah photographer and others remember him from their youths. It also helped that his music was loud, had a hearty metal sound and some of the words sounded like hebrew (Miphached being the most famous)
I mentioned above that Liquid Tension Experiment was packed with yeshiva guys, this is mostly because the music is super cool, but also because it is solely instrumental and that kind of allows the yeshivish crowd who may have been weened on Metallica and GnR to frum out and move to instrumental metal. Joe Satriani is another big yeshivish band because of his crazy sound combined with no words.
Another wildly yeshivish show I went to was Hammerfall and Ed Guy when they came to NY, both bands are what we may call Power Metal, but what I myself call dungeons, dragons and sorcerer metal. Loud, proud and full of references to Medieval wars – kind of like that scene from Braveheart. I think there’s just something cool about air guitar and yeshiva guys. There are loads of other yeshivish bands, but for some reason some reign king and span generations.
Some yeshivish air guitar for you