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INTERVIEW: Joe Fleisch

Hi Joe, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Great. Since Donald is around, I know my future is gone, so I started to live my life as though every day is the last one.

From all the songs out there, what made you want to cover “Everything Has An End, Only The Sausage Has Two” (watch here)?

It is German humor at its worst, which turns it paradoxically around into its best. Stefan Remmler, the creator of this song, gained international fame with DADADA, so why did “Everything Has An End, Only The Sausage Has Two” only become a national hit? Making it world-wide famous by converting it into a Yiddish Electro-hit appeared to me as a thrilling and challenging challenge, a noble task. Besides, Sausage means Wurst in German, in Yiddish you say WURSHT, an extremely juicy word, don’t you think? It deserves an iconic song. Come on, sing along with me for moment, “every relationship has an end, only the WURSHT has two.” Now, in the moment you say WURSHT, roll the R like in a Slavic or Balkan language or – if you are in a weirder mood, roll the R the hard and thundering way Hitler practised in his speeches or Charlie Chaplin in the “Big Dictator”. Do it. It’s hilarious. Say it, roll it: WURRRSHT.

How the idea for the whole video esthetic came about?

Ask the director, Maestro Guy Bolandi, he is the genius, I am only a little Jewish German sleazy wanna-be-popstar, without too much of an understanding about these things. But you can ask me everything about politics and world-wide exploitation, music is only my hobby, in my main profession I am the publisher of www.fairplanet.org. Check it out.

Besides the fact the original song is from the 80s, what else made you want to focus on this particular decade?

Since the 90ies I am suffering from a more or less incurable erectile dysfunction. It started on my marriage day, a very traumatic event. With the help of my wife, God and Viagra I made my three daughters, but it was hard and frustrating work. That’s why the sex I had in the 80s, was undoubtedly the best I ever had, which makes me very nostalgic about this era.

What aspect of the decade did you get to explore on this record?

Sorry, but now it’s getting a bit complicated. The original cover-“Wursht” was done with the JewRhythmics, a formation by Moscow’s whiz kid Alien Delon, Tel-Aviv based producer Vladimir Lomberg and this Jewish Palestinian Electro-Drummer Oshry Karpel. The aim was to recreate the Italo-Disco-synthesizer-sound, who came up between the late 70s and vanished in the beginning of the 90s, and to use this cheesy, kitschy, cheap and easy to reproduce, but on the other hand rather symphonic and ecstatic Italo-Disco genre for the revival or more precisely: for the resurrection of a number of melancholic and joyous traditional Yiddish folk-tunes from the exterminated world of Jewish Eastern Europe. On top of this we added some Yiddish cover-versions of German New Wave (not only the Wursht also Dadada and another song Icebear, in Yiddish Waysser Ber, a remake of Eisbär by the Suisse-German combo Grauzone. I did it with Petite, a French shooting-star, whose album was released last year at Island Records. We made an amazing song and an unbelievable clip, you have to watch it, the best thing I ever did throughout my whole life, except for my three daughters, and maybe the WURSHT? History will tell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_5rRstn2Hc).

But let me tell you this: To transform this cold, monotonous, cynical, unemotional Teutonic German New Wave stuff, the acting out of the German second generation in the beginning of the 80s, 30 years after the Nazis were gone; to transform it another 30 years later into this highly emotional hysteric warm-hearted Yiddish Italo Disco shit, thus to put the singing mentality of those who became killers in the Nazi-era next to the one of their victims, to render such an exciting comparison was a real culture-historical enterprise. No label wanted to release it and in 2013 we toured twice through Germany, mostly in front of empty ball-rooms, bars and clubs. It was depressing, sad and totally inspiring, Tel-Aviv filmmaker Itay Lev filmed all our concerts – the audience who showed up of course loved it – and he is going to use it for a soon-to-be completed documentary on me and other Jewish peers from my community, who got mentally confused by growing up in Post-Nazi-Germany. It will be a hilarious movie and people will love it and it will be finally followed by the release of our album. But of course, consequently Bolandi after having finished the after-production of his clip, came to the conclusion that we need a more commercial and contemporary version, so he brought music producer Ori Toledano in. But since Bolandi has not only big balls, but also a big heart, he gracefully and liberally allows me to re-release this video-clip later on with the original Italian Disco cover-Wursht. I warned, you it’s a bit complicated, but in the end, just another story of decay and creation.

How much did James Bond influence this track?

A hell of a lot. James Bond as the omnipotent ideal of virility in our childhood, killing mad men and sleeping with bad, super-looking women, was a huge inspiration to the crème de la crème of the video-graphic designers of his time. They put the stories around his myth into the adequate unforgettable picture language. A genius like Bolandi simply continues to preserve this specific immortality of the 60s and 70s and I think he absolutely succeeded with this in his video-clip, don’t you think?

How was the film experience?

It was a terrible night shift in a sad forlorn Mediterranean mini-forest out of town. The crew was underpaid and unmotivated and could not help to wonder how pointless and futile it actually is, to do a clip for a strange Disco track, sung by a middle-aged man in a language, which is only spoken by backward religious Jews and by the victims of the Holocaust. Bolandi who like me is a very skinny slender and delicate man, had the wrong food on the day before and suffered from an unbearable stomach-ache and I was absolutely frustrated. Being awake all night, I so much wanted to start with one of these God damn erotic fashion-models and female dancers Bolandi brought to the set, but besides the few scenes, I had to dance and to mimic lip-sing, I was non-stop at the phone, absolutely preoccupied by closing a deal in New-York. Did I tell you that I am descending from a real-estate family, otherwise I could not afford this strange musical hobbies of mine?

How was the recording and writing process?

I am good in Yiddish singing, but bad in reading and writing, I am a rather illiterate and uneducated person in this aspect. I bribed Assaf Galay, nowadays one of the young up-coming directors of the Jewish Museum in New-York. He and I, we did an amazing job, nobody is as good in translating German song-lyrics into Yiddish as us.

What was it like to work with Ori Toledano and how did that relationship develop?

Ori Toledano is a marvelous producer and a terrific good looking Israeli citizen, but I never met him before and simply had to work with him, because – as I already mentioned – Bolandi dictated it to me. I was stunned by his youth, his beauty, being one head taller than me and his luxurious apartment, and I understood that he would never work with a fool like me, if it wasn’t for Bolandi. I did whatever he commanded me to do, and he was delighted by my talent and my ability to learn new things, even though I did not fully comprehend them. In the following weeks he called me a few times, willing to sell me the rights for this song, but I denied and explained him that this specific WURSHT will always be our common WURSHT.

How much did he influence the song?

He changed it completely and made a new oriental experimental Tel-Aviv club version out of it. It is a very special and interesting piece and most professionals around me love it a lot, but let me be honest with you, I compromised with Bolandi, because his genius clip is the real thing, while my song is only a means to the end, but me personally? I can hardly wait for the announced re-release of the clip with our original Italo Disco version of the WURSHT.

What role does Tel Aviv play in your music?

It is a melting pot, bursting with crazy intelligence, much more inspiring to me than Frankfurt, the home of the founder of the Rothschild-dynasty, the Euro and other bad things. 20 years ago, after having my daughters, with other words after having lost my juvenile innocence, my virginity, suddenly forced to become an adult, a father, I had to leave. Tel-Aviv gave me the power to develop myself further on, to be not only an unsuccessful writer and a lousy entrepreneur, but also to realize my talent as second-class singer and a dazzling anti-performer. Under my artist-name Joe Fleisch I am playing more of an avant-garde game with myself and the pitiful people I convince to collaborate with me; and where do I find them, for example Bolandi, a man with such a filigreed and delicately intertwined soul, heart and brain? Only in Tel-Aviv. Under my real name, Jossi Reich, I am less of a loser, more of a winner. I am the proud founder of the Jewish Monkeys, a satirical, kind of Klezmer-Balkan-Gogol-Bordello-like punk-rock band from Tel-Aviv. We are touring a lot, mostly through Germany, already for three years in a row, all the important serious German magazines and newspapers wrote enthusiastically about us.  This band definitely emerged from my vision, but only in a creative music-hub like Tel-Aviv with people who share my history and my culture, this vision received its chance to get realized, check it out on www.jewishmonkeys.com. It is the band of Jossi Reich, who in this context has nothing to do with Joe Fleisch and his art; a kind of mutual personality split, like Dr. Jekyll and this other guy.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new album – how’s that coming along?

Well as I said, I should come out ASAP with the original cover-Wursht and the JewRhtymics album, along with this documentary-movie, I mentioned above. But – if the Ori Toledano version will became a fucking chart-breaker, I will let him invite me into his studio and then…you know! Finally I will be willing to pay for his hard work with me and everything will be mine. MINE! Ahhhhh… sorry.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

My 93 years old, highly demented mother – after my Dad left her and the planet forever – an extremely bad habit by lots of aging husbands – her very healthy heart lingered on until this very day, but only a couple of years after he was gone her brain refused to function – well, whatsoever; from my Mom I inherited this cumbersome, disdainful, disgusting, stubborn, persistent and tenacious – disorganized personality trait. It is incurable. I got stuck in this desperate life-long situation, an urgent obvious need for an outside manager, but in spite continuing to be one’s own manager, which is – as every psycho knows too well – the core of the disorganized personality syndrome.  It is so terrible, so sad. Even Donald the idiot, is better as president of the USA than me as manager of myself.
In other words, I don’t have the slightest idea, what’s going to happen in the future.

Would you be still diving into the 80s on this new material or would you be exploring other decades as well?

In case of indefinite success, as I mentioned above, we might do new material, and yes, I would stick with my Yiddish singing to Italo Disco, e.g. the 80s, the psychosexually most fertile and exciting stage of my life.

Any plans to hit the road?

The real bourgeois me, named in my travel-document Jossi Reich, hits the road a few times a year, and honestly? It is terrible. You are sitting with a bunch of barbarian male monsters in a van, getting molested by their low intellectual nothingness, their aggregated masculine rotten laughter and their brainless jokes, waiting for the night, when you compensate all your frustration of the tough travel day on stage, mimicking a kind of wanna-be-Bowie or Jagger, and then you are happy for some lousy short ecstatic moments, looking into some faces, you enchanted, feeling a bit Godly, go to your lonely hotel-room and masturbate yourself peacefully and exhausted into a dreamless sleep, absolutely senseless. And my alter ego Joe Fleisch, will he go on tour again on one of those never returning days? In the most unlikely event of a big commercial success of the JewRhythmics-release, everything else could be possible.

What else is happening next in Joe Fleisch’s world?

Those who take us seriously, kill us, and those who do not take us seriously, ignore us. Means, we never have a real audience? And who the hell are we? I am dreaming of the @realJoeFleisch attacking on Twitter the @realDonaldTrump, but for the moment I hardly get likes for my tweets, which could change, couldn’t it? Actually everything, that happens in this moment, starts to become history in the next moment, correct? As it is typical for lots of artists, my alter ego Joe Fleisch is a pessimistic; cynical, melancholic and suffering. Not so Jossi Reich, my real ego, he believes that we will prevail over the forces of evil in the Kremlin, the White House and elsewhere. We will end exploitation and prevent Global Warming from crashing humanity and civilization.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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