By COLlive reporter
Music and Chassidus are in their blood – and on the cover of Mishpacha Magazine.
The Lubavitcher brothers, Shmuel Marcus and Bentzi Marcus, adorn the cover the frum weekly in a cover story about their 8th Day band and producing the mega hits “Ya’alili” and “Hooleh.”
Contributing Editor Yisroel Besser called them “modern-day musical Shluchim from sunny California (that) didn’t originally aim to carve out a contemporary niche within the heimish music world.”
“True to their Chabad upbringing, their English-language rock style with its soul-speak lyrics was meant to target secular Jewish teenagers,” he writes.
“The fact that their music has made such inroads and captured a mainstream following might tell us something about ourselves – how we all want to connect with their message, their depth, and their indomitable spirit.”
Growing up in the sleepy Los Alamitos, their father Rabbi Yitzchak Marcus would drive them into Los Angeles each morning for school, and then back home at night — an hour each way, Besser writes.
Music was as necessary as gasoline, maybe more.
Which music? “Everything,” Bentzi remembers. “Lots of Marvelous Middos Machine, and later, Mordechai Ben David and Megama. Oh, and Avremel, of course.”
Avremel is their uncle, their mother’s brother — Avraham Fried.
The love for music permeated the house as well. “We were a family of ten children, bli ayin hara, so there was always singing and playing and harmonizing.”
Both brothers married into prominent Crown Heights families living on Eastern Parkway — Shmuli to the daughter of R’ Chaim Meir and Sarah Lieberman, Bentzi to the daughter of R’ Simon and Shaindy Jacobson.
Neither mentioned musical ambitions to their new wives. Shmuli opened a Chabad house in the Southern California town of Cypress; Bentzi settled in Los Angeles. They were still playing for fun, accepting gigs here and there.
Avremy Werner of KMR Luxury Vacations remembers inviting the California duo to perform for KMR guests. “I thought, hey, they have nice voices, they’re Avremel’s nephews, let’s hear them sing some of his hits.”
The program opened with their cousin, Benny Friedman, and then they joined him on stage. The brothers started to sing, Werner recalls. “And we thought, ‘Wow, these guys are good. They’ve got more than just a family connection going for them’.”
The rest, as they say, is history – or the cover story in Mishpacha available in major Jewish stores.