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9:37 p.m. - 2005-06-15
Yid Vicious Plays Klezmer
A Series

Summer, 1998: Soon after the release of the first Yid Vicious cd, “Klez, Kez, Goy mit Fez”, sources close to the band are told that YV has been contacted by a subsidiary of an international record company. The subsidiary expresses interest in possibly distributing the band’s music. YV responds, expressing interest in the subsidiary’s interest.
The subsidiary is never heard from again.

Winter, 2002: a Small But Respected East Coast Label offers to distribute the band's second CD, "Forverts", on its Jewish Alternative Movement label. The CD has been previously released by a small local indie label. After much hand-wringing and debate about the matter, the band signs with the SBRECL, and is promptly contacted by numerous "interns" who have been assigned to 1. Market said CD in Japan and other exotic locations, 2. arrange a 10-day East Coast tour, and 3. assist with getting the band booked at international festivals. The label also plans to option a subsequent, third CD from the band. Immediately after the ink dries on the contract, the label's board ousts its CEO and the label falls into disarray. Rumors surface of warehouses of CDs going to waste along the East Coast. After 2 years, the band begins to finally receive semi-annual statements from the label's new "reorganization" parent company.

Summer, 2003: The band is booked to play a ritzy wedding in Milwaukee at the Fine Arts Center. In the weeks leading up to the event, it is learned by some members of the band that the Best Man is named Ethan Coen, and that the marrying couple are from Minneapolis. Putting two and two together, the band concludes that the Best Man is Ethan Coen the renowned filmmaker, and that this function will be packed with Hollywood insiders who no doubt will insist upon YV moving to LA to perform in their movies, lending them soul and gravitas. The day of the Milwaukee wedding arrives.
The Best Man turns out not to be Ethan Coen the filmmaker.

April 1, 2004: The Wisconsin Film Festival books a new klezmer documentary by an East Coast musician/writer/filmmaker of some reknown. One band member hits upon the idea to book a free Yid Vicious show following the screening, and invites the filmmaker to sit in. Plans to lure the filmgoers to the post-screening dance party fall short of the desired results, and the folks who do show up to dance studiously avoid the conspicuously placed donation buckets. Said filmmaker performs a few tunes with the band, but said band seems to fail some sort of Jew-dar test, and fails to achieve fame and fortune via this endeavor.

Fall, 2004: The band is contacted by a young man who works for Al Franken’s daily radio show, The O’Franken Factor. The show is broadcasting before an audience from Madison for one day and YV is asked if it would be interested in playing for a few seconds on the show to help introduce the “Oy, Oy, Oy” segment. Being conscientious liberals hoping to break into the big time, YV agrees to appear on the show.
As the day of the show draws near, communications between the band and the Franken crew become increasingly sporadic. This is because1) the show is on tour and 2) the young man who works for the Franken show doesn’t really have final say as to who goes on the show. There turns out to be a producer lady who DOES have final say and who seems none-too-enthused about communicating in any way with the greenhorn, hicktown klezmer band she’s never heard of. She grudgingly sends the band an email enumerating the many difficulties of touring with a national syndicated radio show and appears bent on discouraging the band from appearing on the show. However, she doesn’t tell the band that she won’t have them on the show. On the day before the show’s broadcast, the band sends an email saying that as far as they know, they’re slated to play on the next day’s show, and will show up unless told otherwise. They hear nothing from the young man or the producer lady.
Next day at nine AM, the six available members of the band trudge into Memorial Union’s Great Hall, where the broadcast is taking place. Members of the band locate the producer lady, a pinched, dour specimen of a burnt-out shell of irritation and spite. The members of YV introduce themselves. After staring at them for a few seconds, the producer lady tells the band that they’re not on the show, that it was logistically too complicated, that the crew got up at two in the morning. She delivers her brief explanantion with all the warmth of a hungover DMV employee, her voice a perfect balance of whininess and arrogance. Members of the band respond that it would have been considerate of her to email them the day before, saving them this fruitless morning excursion.
The producer lady says she’s sorry, but YV can tell she doesn’t mean it.

Winter, 2005: YV submits its third cd, “The Seventh Schlemiel”, to various record companies. Only one responds, and their rejection letter reads:
"Thank you for submitting the material by Yid Vicious. While it is well-played, we don't feel we can be successful marketing this material. We wish you the best of luck in placing it elsewhere.”
Yid Vicious has no subsequent luck placing it elsewhere.


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