Celebrity jews

Grammys, Vol. III

Bob Dylan scored two Grammy nominations this year: best pop collaboration with vocals (for “Gonna Change My Way of Thinking,” with Mavis Staples) and best male rock performance, for “Down in the Flood.”

Also in the latter category is Lenny Kravitz, the son of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish African American mother. While Kravitz was raised without religion, he decided in 1996 to follow his mother’s faith.

Likewise, the late Warren Zevon is noted here for the “record” — and because I liked him. Zevon, one of the most intelligent songwriters of the last 30 years, died in September, after a well-publicized battle with cancer. Zevon was the son of a Jewish father but was raised in his mother’s Mormon faith. He was non-religious as an adult. Zevon’s final album, “The Wind,” was a moving, artistic tour de force. Zevon is nominated for four Grammys, including song of the year, for the lovely “Keep Me in Your Heart.”

We should also mention that popular punkish singer Pink, aka Alecia Moore, scored two Grammy nominations. Pink has described her mother as Jewish. Another source says that her mother is half-Jewish. Meanwhile, Pink says that she doesn’t adhere to any organized faith.

Kenny G, aka Kenny Gorelick, is up for another Grammy. This year the easy-listening saxophone player is nominated for best pop instrumental album (“Wishes”). He competes with Jim Brickman, a classically trained pianist who prefers to play his own romantic, New Agey compositions. Brickman is Jewish on his mother’s side and was raised Jewish. He’s up for a Grammy for his CD “Peace.”

If you turn-up the volume, you’ll find five Jews nominated in the best hard rock performance category: Brad Wilk, Perry Farrell, Stephen Perkins, Brad Delson and Rob Burdon.

Wilk is the drummer for the supergroup Audioslave, which is made up of most of the former members of Rage Against the Machine, plus one guy from Soundgarden. Audioslave is nominated for “Like A Stone,” from its CD “Audioslave” (which is also nominated for best rock album). Wilk recited the Hebrew blessing for the Sabbath before a concert crowd when Rage played Israel in 2000.

Farrell, the lead singer/songwriter, for the band Jane’s Addiction, has long been one of the most electrifying Jews in rock, and he has appeared at a number of Jewish events in the Bay Area. In the mid-1990s, he managed to overcome his drug problems with a well-publicized return to Jewish religious observance. Perkins, the band’s drummer, is also a practicing Jew who has played a lot of klezmer music. In 2003, Jane’s Addiction put out its first album of all new material (“Strays”) since 1990. “Just Because,” from this CD, is up for a Grammy.

Linkin Park, a Southern California band, has been a huge seller since its 2002 debut CD. Few Jewish details have come out about Linkin drummer Bourdon or guitarist Delson, other than they are Jewish. We did see a published report that Delson married last summer in a private Jewish ceremony. The six-man band has been nominated for its song “Session,” from the CD “Metora.”

In less ear-shattering categories, you’ll find Brian Chase and Adam Schlesinger. Chase drums for the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, a hip dance band that broke big in the last year. The band is nominated for best alternative music album for its debut CD, “Fever to Tell.” Chase told the London Jewish News that he is very proud of being Jewish. Tongue-in-cheek, he added that he got his drumming style “from the Jewish religion.”

Schlesinger is the co-frontman/songwriter for the power pop band Fountains of Wayne. The band is nominated for best pop performance (“Stacey’s Mom”) and for best new artist. The latter nomination is odd since the group’s 2003 hit CD was its third CD. But it was the breakthrough album. Schlesinger was raised in a secular Jewish home, the son of amateur musicians.

Last, but not least, is comedic actor/musician Jack Black, whom we previously profiled in this column. Black’s nominated as one of the producers of the compilation musical CD from his hit film “School of Rock.”

Late arrivals

In Latin music, add Andres Levin and Dave Samuels. Finally, in children’s music there’s Cathy Fink and her partner, Marcy Marxer. We just confirmed these artists and, due to space limitations, we’ll have say more about them next week as we also touch on a few of the winners.

Nate Bloom is the Oakland-based editor of www.Jewhoo.com.

Nate Bloom

Nate Bloom writes the "Celebrity Jews" column for J.