Music, at this particular moment in time

Last year, we played a show in Boston that was pretty awesome. It was sold out, jam-packed. Sing-alongs to songs. An appearance by our old violinist/singer Eva. Skeletons hanging off the ceiling. Even my kids were there, wondering why it was so loud. We played a few new tunes and many old tunes, and they sounded great. It was a grand night.

That show was on October 6. The day after, the world – for many, and for me – changed. Yeah, my parents are Palestinian, so there’s that connection to the Middle East. But maybe more significantly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a big part of the work I do during my days, as I’m trying to get people – sometimes Israelis and Palestinians themselves, sometimes Jews and Arabs, sometimes people who just disagree – to fight better.* Since October 7, that’s been quite a task.

And it’s been hard to just be around it. Of course, I have the luxury of distance; I don’t live there and worry about whether I’ll survive the night. But, I’m close to it, and the steady stream of miserable news has been hard. Particularly in the context of every other crappy thing out there: the earth is clearly warming, our political system is a mess, and we’re facing an election where it’s not hyperbolic to say democracy is at stake.

Then there’s music. This is the part of this note where you might think I’ll pivot, and say something like “that’s why we should forget all that and RAWK OUT with us at our upcoming shows!” and then I’ll pitch you to come to shows in DC and Boston. But that annoying pitch makes a big assumption: that music is a distraction, or an escape. Something you can run to and forget about all the world’s troubles. Where you can just sing about red solo cups and Margaritaville and only worry about how hard we’re partying Saturday night.**

in the studio

Music plays a vital role in my life, not as an escape but as a release. As a way to not avoid the crap, but to embrace it head on. And in the process, maybe we can take that energy from all the crap in the world, and steer it towards something better. There’s still nothing more therapeutic than getting on a stage and screaming something into a microphone. And it’s only therapeutic when the thing you’re screaming about has meaning.

I don’t mean to say that screaming about solo cups and margaritas isn’t fun – obvi it is. I mean to say that, for me, it just isn’t that helpful. When the cup is empty and the hangover sets in, there’s still crap out there, and I have no good way to deal with it (Advil alone won’t cut it).

So, yes, we do have shows in the Fall, and we’ll be debuting some new songs (photo is from the studio, and here is a teaser of the new tunes). And yes, we would like to see you there. And yes, I know we are going to have a good time. But also, in addition to the pure joy we’ll all get from being in the same space together – singing and yelling and making bad decisions – I also know that there will be a bit of therapy happening. That singing these songs – sometimes with heavy lyrics about dictators and income inequality and untied shoes*** – is actually, dare I say, helpful. I’m so excited to hit that crap head on. So that I’ll feel better, and so that we can all be a little better prepared for whatever happens the day after.






* I don’t mean physically. I’d be very bad at that.


** This is why we’ll never have the success of a mainstream country band.


*** See how many times you can spot ‘shoes’ in our songs. It’s a problem I’ve got, I know.