The LeeVees (ft. Adam from Guster and Dave from Zambonis)
Name four great Hanukkah songs. OK, then how about two good Chanukkah songs? Not easy, huh? “Dreidel, Spin, Spin, Spin” is a fun little ditty but let’s face it, it doesn’t exactly rock and/or roll. Even the great Jewish songwriters, from Irving Berlin to Lieber and Stoller, only wrote Christmas songs. The Festival of Lights could really use some tunes!
Two nice Jewish guys took up the important task of writing a bunch of great, rockin’ Hanukah songs. Adam Gardner (Guster) and Dave Schneider (the Zambonis) joined forces and started a band called the LeeVees in 2005, and they released 1 classic album of sweet and rockin’ indie-pop songs solely about Channuka on Warner Brothers/Reprise Records called “Hanukkah Rocks.”
A little background on the guys: Rita and Robert Schneider’s son Dave founded the Zambonis 23 years ago. The Zambonis only write songs about hockey. That’s right, hockey. Barbara and Allan Gardner’s son Adam co-founded Guster 21 years ago. Guster does not write songs about hockey and yet they somehow manage to write really good songs anyway.
The amazing thing is, these weren't just songs about Hanukkah. They’re also just good songs. While making a rock Hanukkah record could easily rely on the novelty and kitsch factor of the concept, the album manages to stay on the right side of the line, offering up truly musical arrangements underneath witty and humorous lyrics.
Gardner and Schneider have a knack for asking the tough questions, like “How Do You Spell Channukkahh?” and setting it to catchy, fun music. The classic punk crunch of “Gelt Melts” provides plenty of fist-pumping sing-along action while the propulsive “Goyim Friends” overflows with playful pride and joy; “Jewish Girls (at the Matzoh Ball)” and “At the Timeshare” get downright wistful, even poignant.
Their producer friend and Dave’s co-creator of The Zambonis, Peter Katis (The National, Interpol, Frightened Rabbit) added his uncanny ability to make these rock songs sound like orchestral bombasts.
Bob Boilen of NPR's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED called the record “The best holiday record of the decade without question”.
Like Christmas, The LeeVees live experience only happens once a year, if you miss this show, The LeeVees will do what a jewish band knows best, get your cell phone number and make you feel guilty for not attending. Be there!