Reality Shock | There's a Voice

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Rock: Classic Rock World: Yiddish Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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There's a Voice

by Reality Shock

A potent mishmosh of rock'n'roll and middle eastern music, with a twist of Jewish humor
Genre: Rock: Classic Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. There's a Voice
4:09 $0.99
2. Bad Influence
2:43 $0.99
3. Understand Me
3:36 $0.99
4. I Don't Mind
3:51 $0.99
5. Diane
4:46 $0.99
6. Beginning of the End
6:04 $0.99
7. The September Cloud
6:22 $0.99
8. The Riff
4:13 $0.99
9. Hey Frumie (Reggae)
5:03 $0.99
10. If You Don't Like It, Leave!
2:59 $0.99
11. Somewhere Out in Tiza Nabi
3:27 $0.99
12. Everybody's in the Money (But Us)
4:11 $0.99
13. I Can't Get Protection
6:00 $0.99
14. Hey Frumie (Funk)
3:48 $0.99
15. There's a Voice (Slow)
5:19 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
“This music is a wonderful fusion of what Jewish souls remember from way back, in a garment of current musical sensibility—inspiring!” ~Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z"l

“Their songs are catchy, unique, and have the ability to stir up different emotions. They write about true life experiences, a very redeeming quality.” ~East Coast Rocker


Who are these guys anyway?

Izzy was born in Skokie, Illinois in 1965. His father, Shlomo Kieffer, from the well-known extended Kieffer family of St. Paul, Minnesota, was the proprietor of Kieffer's Bookstore, one of the first Jewish book stores in Chicago. Izzy's paternal grandfather and namesake was a "baal koreh" (one who reads the Torah portions in the synagogue) and the only Orthodox brother in a very Conservative family. Izzy's mother, Dvorah Schachter-Kieffer, a Holocaust survivor coming from a Chassidic background (her father was very close to the "alte" Belzer Rebbe), is one of the top Special Ed instructors in Israel. Izzy's family made Aliyah (moved to Israel) in 1970, around the same time as many of their friends from the "Moshava" in Chicago. The Kieffer residence in Jerusalem, an apartment on Hapisgah Street in Bayit Vegan, has been visited by many over the years, especially for Shabbat. That is where Izzy's mother first discovered his talent for rhythm while he was banging on the table accompanying the Shabbat songs.

Heshy was born the same year as Izzy, but in New York City. Heshy's father, also a Holocaust survivor, was born and raised in a Chassidic home in Transylvania (insert vampire joke of choice here) fifty miles from, and very much under the influence of, the town of Satmar and its renowned Rebbe. Heshy's mother grew up in a musical family in Wilmington, Delaware; her father was a cantor, and she and her brothers all played various instruments. With the Chassidic penchant for singing and storytelling from one side of the family and the musical talent from the other side, Heshy's becoming a singer-songwriter was preordained. Heshy's family made Aliyah in 1979.

The original version of Reality Shock began when Izzy and Heshy met while attending an American yeshiva high school in Jerusalem in 11th grade. They became friends after discovering a mutual love for the Blues Brothers movie and music, and decided to form a band together. Life imitated art as Izzy and Heshy embarked upon a Blues Brothers-like quest to find musicians; after a number of false starts, they met Emil Leuchter, an ex-hippie twenty years their senior. Emil was a veteran of the Greenwich Village rock club scene of the late 1960s who had rediscovered his Jewish roots, became Orthodox, and moved to Israel. Emil had enough musical equipment to outfit an entire band in his apartment (located right next to the yeshiva campus) and enough patience and expertise to deal with two high school kids just beginning to express their musical passions. Emil had a student, Yaron Ohrbach, who originally played guitar but switched to bass as the band began to take shape. Not long afterward, Heshy met Gedaliah Ben-Israel on a Saturday night at Jerusalem's original rock club, JBR; Gedaliah played the alto and C saxophones and was looking to join a band. Right around the same time, Izzy managed to convince Mark Rosovsky, who was studying in the yeshiva's college-level program, to join the band as tenor saxophonist. With this lineup, the band rehearsed everywhere from Emil's living room to the yeshiva dining room. By April 1982, the band was ready for its first gig, which took place at JBR.

Rock'n'roll music was still considered subversive by many people then (this was in the last days of rock before MTV and the wholesale co-opting of the music by mainstream culture), especially in the Orthodox world, and so the band had to be kept secret from the rabbis and other yeshiva authorities. Izzy and Heshy often had to sneak off-campus to rehearse and play gigs in town, and on more than one occasion they were "caught." Izzy and Heshy never set out to rebel against Orthodoxy; they just wanted to play the music they loved and even use it to express their take on Judaism and spirituality, but the establishment insisted that this type of music was antithetical to the "special type of Torah atmosphere that the yeshiva [was] trying very hard to create" (to quote from a notice sent to Heshy's parents by the principal). But although it wasn't their intention, the very nature of the rabbis' antipathy to the music and its perceived lifestyle made Izzy and Heshy "outlaws."

Despite the occasional run-in with the ecclesiastical authorities, Reality Shock kept on gigging, playing at such places as the Tel-Or Theater in downtown Jerusalem, the Gush Etzion military base, the Yeroham community center in the middle of the Negev desert, and the Pargod Theater in Jerusalem's Nahlaot neighborhood. They also recorded at Avi Yaffe's Jerusalem Studios; in 1982 they recorded a 12-song demo including compositions by Emil, Gedaliah, and Mark, and the following year they recorded a single, "I Don't Mind," one of Heshy's first songs.

Reality Shock version one ended in the summer of 1983 when Izzy and Yaron were drafted into the Israel Defense Forces. Izzy became part of the Army Rabbinical Choir band, where such talents as the Re'im Duo and Dudu Fisher emerged under the tutelage of famous Chassidic-music arranger and conductor Mona Rosenblum. Yaron wound up in the air force where he was part of the entertainment troupe. Heshy was drafted a year or so later and landed in the artillery where, although he had no outlet for practicing or playing music, he sharpened his skills as a songwriter and observer of the world at large.

After his army service ended, Izzy came back to the US to study at Boston's Berklee College of Music. Heshy also moved to Boston for a short while and the two of them teamed up to continue what they started in high school. Eventually they moved to the New York metropolitan area, playing in a number of bands both together and apart in New York and New Jersey. The projects they worked on together went by various names, most notably Freedom Is Priceless (after a song Heshy wrote while in the army) and The Unorthodox (which described their religious outlook). But eventually Izzy and Heshy decided to return to their roots and re-establish the name Reality Shock as a name for the ages.

Reality Shock version two was made up of Izzy and Heshy, joined by Steve Lopresto on bass and Avner Levy on guitar. The band released its debut CD, "There's A Voice," in May 2002. Special guest musicians include Marty Laskin on saxophone and clarinet, Ruby Harris on violins and blues harp, and Frank Marotta on guitar. The album consists of songs that Izzy and Heshy wrote and played together in the years since they started together, as well as recent collaborations. The band played a number of gigs in New York during 2002-2003; Heshy departed for Los Angeles in June 2003, playing his last gig with the band several weeks before hitting the road.

While Heshy was in LA, Reality Shock continued to play with Izzy taking over on lead vocals and keyboards, Steve on bass and guitar, Avner on occasional guitar, and Don Slovin on drums and percussion. Don is an old acquaintance of Izzy and Heshy's, dating back to their days at JBR in Jerusalem. Heshy visited the New York/New Jersey area for several times during his West Coast sojourn, resuming his position behind the keys and microphone for gigs at the 2005 Yidstock festival in upstate NY and several gigs on the Jersey Shore. During this time, the band did some work on a number of projects, chief among them the beginnings of Izzy's "solo" project, which he describes as "a soulful Jewish-Chassidic-Israeli album."

Heshy returned from LA in January 2006. In the ensuing year or so, he released his second "solo" CD, "Soul In Exile 2: Jersey Shore Baby," on Asbury Park-based indie label AERIA Records. Meanwhile, Izzy was cooking up his own "solo" project, titled "Yehi Shalom (Let There Be Peace)," released in April 2009 on MRM Music. Both endeavors - Heshy's and Izzy's - prominently featured the other's musical and production contributions, as well as impressive lineups of musicians from their respective scenes - Heshy's from the Jersey Shore rock scene, Izzy's from the New York Jewish music scene. From 2006 until early 2010, Reality Shock played various gigs around the New York City area, in Brooklyn and Long Island, as a duo and as a full band. Heshy ultimately moved back to LA in February 2010 and since then, Reality Shock has been a bicoastal effort.

As of this writing, Reality Shock is working on a new album, with a more "organic" approach - less on the big production, more in tune with what the band sounds like in a live setting. Recording is taking place under Izzy's supervision at GL Studios in Brooklyn, NY.



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