Getting into the Purim spirit got me thinking about another Mordechai. MBD and I have been working together for years, finding ourselves in all sorts of venues. Looking back, some of those situations were pretty funny, others bittersweet. But traveling with the king of Jewish music, one thing’s for sure — there was never a dull moment.
We landed at O’Hare Airport to do a concert that night. The band that evening was run by a talented musician named Shmuel Moshiach, who offered to pick us up at the airport to bring us to the venue. We waited outside in the arrivals section, in the freezing cold weather, when a frum Jew approached us in his vehicle. “Do you guys need a ride into town?” he asked us. Mordechai responded, “No, it’s okay; we’re waiting for Moshiach,” to which the puzzled driver replied, “Ain’t we all. But I can give you a lift anyway….”
As Mordechai and I checked into the Hilton, the hotel manager, Jewish but not religious, was starstruck by MBD. He said he couldn’t wait to tell his son he met Mordechai Ben David. He added, “In fact, every Saturday morning, when my son wakes up and isn’t in the mood of attending Temple, he turns on your Just One Shabbos album, and that gets him in the mood!” That was the saddest compliment he ever got.
MBD had just finished performing at a concert in Los Angeles, when a wealthy businessman who lived in San Diego asked if he could do a concert the next night. Mordechai replied that it was a bit late to arrange, but agreed anyway. The businessman said, “Great! I’ll take you in my private plane to San Diego. It’s a short 25-minute ride.” Mordechai agreed and said, “My manager Ding and I will be waiting at four o’clock in front of our hotel.” The businessman said there was one problem — the plane was a two-seater. Where would his manager (me) sit? Well, the next day I flew from L.A. to San Diego in the trunk of the plane. I couldn’t see anything other than out the back slat of window. And you thought producers travel first class.
New York City
For those who remember the very first Hasc Concert, the theme of the evening was “Around the Year.” Each song was based on a section of the Jewish calendar, and I had this great idea for MBD and Avraham Fried to sing a Rosh Chodesh medley together. They both tried to talk me out of it, but my stubbornness prevailed. On the night of the show, just before the two of them were ready to step on stage with the medley, I looked at my watch and noticed that we were running behind schedule. While emcee Zale Newman was at the podium giving out an award, I went over to MBD and Fried backstage and said, “I hope you don’t mind, but what do you think about the idea of skipping the Rosh Chodesh medley?” Mordechai looked at me and said with obvious disappointment, “I don’t know. I was just getting used to it.” Avremel said, “Oy, me too!” I was a little incredulous that they’d finally come around to see the brilliance of my idea, but they couldn’t keep a straight face any longer. Together, they grabbed my hands and started dancing. At least I knew what the real answer was.
I had just finished producing a concert with MBD at the Beverly Hills bungalow colony in Monticello. The concert was a huge success, and afterward I drove to Woodbourne to grab a bite to eat. For those who remember, Woodbourne at 3 a.m. on Saturday night was packed to the gills. I was standing in line with a few friends in Mehlman’s, when the people in front of me began talking about the concert. I asked them if they enjoyed the show. Not knowing who I was, they replied, ‘The show was great! The best part of it was that we all snuck in for free, because one of the boards around the pool area was missing.”
We were doing a concert Motzaei Shabbos in the Fontainbleu Hotel, and were spending Shabbos at the Crown Hotel in Miami Beach. As we sat down to the Friday night seudah, Mordechai pulled out a few bottles of Asti Spumante, which had just hit the market with a good hechsher. After we’d had a few too many glasses, Mordechai banged on the table, turned to me and said, “Nu, Ding, start ‘Mah Yedidus’ ” I looked up at him, and said with a stern face, “Why my Yedidus? Why don’t you start yours? It’s much more famous.” Mordechai doesn’t give me wine anymore…. Happy Purim!
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 751)
Oops! We could not locate your form.