Dave Grohl took a break from his long-running feud with child prodigy and all-around badass kid musician Nandi Bushell to unite with record producer Greg Kurstin. The cause? They’re running a special video series posted to YouTube for the holidays. “This year, instead of doing a Christmas song, Greg and I decided to celebrate Hanukkah by recording eight songs by eight famous Jewish artists and releasing one song on each night of Hanukkah,” Grohl explained in a video introducing the project, a “festival of tasty LICKS!!!” as opposed to a festival of lights, according to the caption.
Hanukkah started on Thursday, December 10, which means we’re halfway through the holiday and series, aptly titled “Kurstin x Grohl: The Hanukkah Sessions.” The videos themselves feature the duo in the studio, with Grohl on drums and vocals and Kurstin on keys.
So far, the duo has covered four songs. They kicked things off with “Sabotage” by The Beastie Boys, “the only Rock and Roll Hall Of Famers with a lyric about kugel,” because it would be a shanda not to. On night two, they stayed on the hip-hop theme with Drake’s “Hotline Bling.”
“You might be surprised to learn that this superstar is… Canadian, the caption reads. “He’s never hidden the fact that he was M.O.T. … so a generation of Jewish parents could tell their kids ‘if Drake took the time to study for HIS Bar Mitzvah, you can too.’ Ladies and gentlemen…challah at your boy….DRAKE!”
On the third night of Hanukkah, Grohl and Kurstin veered into more familiar rock ‘n roll territory with Mountain’s classic “Mississippi Queen,” a song originally sung by Leslie West née Leslie Weinstein. The fourth song was maybe the most unexpected of all: “Fuck the Pain Away” by Peaches, “a Canadian rock G-Dess…who coincidentally grew up around the corner from a Canadian Jewish rock G-D (G-ddy Lee).”
Grohl always seems to have a good time, so this project would be fun no matter which songs the duo chose. But the diverse array of artists chosen so far serves as both musically interesting and, let’s face it, a nice illustration of Jewish contributions to popular music.
So who’s next? Bob Dylan? Paula Abdul? NOFX? Jenny Lewis? Jerry Lewis? The only way to find out is to keep an eye on the YouTube playlist for the project, which will be updated four more times over the next four days.—