Five Firsts: Sean Altman of Jewmongous

December 22nd, 2011, 1:00 pm by Greg
Sean Altman

NAME: Sean Altman (Jewish name is either Moshe David or Israel Moshe; my parents can’t remember. wtf).
BAND: Short answer: JEWMONGOUS. Long answer: For 11 years I led the acapella group Rockapella of “Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?” mid-level TV fame and, as such, I am considered the “Father Of Modern Acapella.” Behold my glory. I gave up the wealth and prestige of the acapella world to become an acclaimed, mid-level Jewish novelty song musician. JEWMONGOUS is the current vehicle in which I attempt to reconnect with my long-ignored Semitic roots. Since my bar mitzvah, I’ve only been observant in that I like to observe other Jews practicing the religion. JEWMONGOUS allows me to ease my guilt, honor my forbears and do what I do best — sing and write songs — all at a safe distance from the synagogue. My set list includes the fractured Passover story song “They Tried To Kill Us (We Survived, Let’s Eat)” (featured on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross); the rollicking tarantella “Blame The Jews,” which purports to expose the ancient papal roots of antisemitism (it all started with a pop song penned by Pope Antisemiticus); the Irish drinking song ode to the infamous Blood Libel “Christian Baby Blood”; the venomous anti-Jews-For-Jesus punk anthem “Jews For Jesus”; the ska-inflected “What The Hell Is Simchas Torah?”; and the swingin’ “Blow, Murray, Blow!,” about a Yom Kippur shofar (ram’s horn) blower so virtuosic that his playing purges listeners of all their sins, no matter how despicable. The concert’s only cover song is a semiticized version of the Ramones’ classic “I Wanna Be Sedated,” as I believe that Joey Ramone (born Jeffrey Hyman) would have wanted it sung that way.
INSTRUMENT: guitar, voice, shofar

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