Happy Birthday to Steve Lieberman – born June 21, 1958 | Steve Lieberman

Steve Lieberman also known as the Gangsta Rabbi (Hebrew name ליב פרץ בין אליאזר ה־בדלן ה־נזדי or Lev Ava’ran bar-Eli’ezar ha-Bad’lan ha-Naz’ari) is a Jewish-American punk rock /metal singer, multi-instrumental musician, composer, producer and government comptroller residing in Freeport, New York.

Considered an outsider musician, “walking the line between insanity and genius [sic]”, partially attributed to his lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder, which first struck him in 1970 at the age of 11 and his six-year fight with leukemia in his later years, which has recently turned terminal. , He commercially released 30 CDs as well as 38 cassette albums in the underground using the Bop Bop Bigger Bab’eL moniker and later reissued as “Bop Bop Bigger Bab-‘eL featuring Steve Lieberman”. On all his releases, Lieberman sang and played all instruments. In addition to guitar, bass and beats, he added flutes, various brass instruments and a variety of Eastern instruments. In his later years, he added and arranged trombones in an effort to fuse punk-rock with marching band music and elemental jazz, by combining these elements creating a more powerful sound, which he did beginning with his 24th CD, 2015’s Blast-O-Rama. As his condition worstened,he produced each subsequent album to be heavier by adding more instrumentation and distortion to symbolize his on-going fight with the cancer and strength gained from the music and his faith.
He has shared the stage with Weezer, Andrew WK, Glassjaw, Ryan Dunn and the Misfits before retiring from performing in December 2011 to battle accelerated phase myeloprolifirative leukemia.[6] He briefly returned to the stage in the spring of 2016 to perform Gangsta Rabbi’s Quadrophenia performed in its entirety on a three-stop farewell tour as a solo act, accompanying himself on his trademark distorted bass, a 3-string Fender Stratocaster and alto trombone,as he remained prolific in the studio, producing nine full-length CD’s since 2012.

In 2009, Lieberman signed a multi-album deal with Jewish indie label JDub Records, taking the place of Matisyahu on their artist roster. As of the spring of 2011, Lieberman, a town comptroller by trade, was “the world’s only orthodox Jewish heavy metal musician with a record deal”, according to Newsday.

His 2010 song “No Festival of Lights (On This Hanukkah)” has received honorable mention placement in the Song of the Year Award.

Although Lieberman’s music seemingly had little commercial success,sales of his first 26 records topped 110,000 in 13 years and he received airplay on Rich Russo’s free-form Anything Anything with Rich Russo radio show on New York City WRXP 101.9 and WDHA-FM 105.5 commercial rock radio stations. Throughout the shows Lieberman’s music was featured on, Russo described him as “Jethro Tull meets the Beastie Boys, a one-man Jethro Tull” as well as “an inspiration to all suffering from serious illness” Additionally, Lieberman enjoyed some success on college radio, where The Rabbi Is Dead peaked at #3 on KZSU Stanford University in 2012 and “Jewish Pirate” had a one-week appearance at #8 on WUSB (FM)Stony Brook University two years after release in 2008 .
Steve Lieberman was the subject of three three-hour-long radio specials on Stony Brook University Radio WUSB (FM), one in 2009,celebrating the release of the “Diaspora” album and one in 2008 after the release of his Psych Ward album. At the end of 2014, simultaneously with the release of his 22nd cd Cancer Ward Lieberman was invited back to WUSB to speak candidly about his career, future and fight with cancer as well as to perform live songs from Cancer Ward. The event was promoted by the station as “The Return of the Gangsta Rabbi” as few believed Lieberman will ever produce music again as his leukemia worsened. At the end of the show, Lieberman said that if his strength holds up, during 2015, he will release a third charitable covers album to be titled “Return of The Jewish Pirate”. Between January and April 2015, he recorded 77 tracks, which will be released as a 4-cd set in the spring of 2015 and all gross proceeds will be donated to animal rescue and leukemia research causes.

Additionally, two of his recent songs, “I’m Not a White Boy” and “Obama-Rama, Yeah!”, both held the #1 spot on the SoundClick Global Alternative genre chart.

In the spring of 2013, as his cancer progressed to myelofibrosis leukemia, Lieberman took the now obscure biblical Nazarite vow for life. In the fall of that year, he had announced plans for a final album to be called Cancer Ward which was released on 30 December 2014. It is a concept album, dealing with Lieberman’s six-month-long chemotherapy treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, the third consecutive course of treatment which failed to suppress his disease’s progression. The repeating theme of Cancer Ward is Steve Lieberman, living on borrowed time with a resistant uncurable cancer, while always contemplating his imminent, early demise. Lieberman took a full year to finish “Cancer Ward” because of frequent hospitalization as the leukemia progressed to mid-stage 3 with high risk myelofibrosis.

Life and career

1958–1991 the early years

Steve Lieberman was born on June 21, 1958 in Brooklyn, NY to a working-class Jewish family. At the time of his bar-mitzvah in 1971, Lieberman, already an observant Jew, acquired a bass guitar to fill a vacancy in his junior high school jazz band. He picked up the instrument and started playing it upside-down and backwards. After passing the jazz band audition, he had developed a crude system of chords for the bass; when properly distorted, they mimicked the major chords of the 6 string guitar. Forgoing this method for more conventional bass playing, Lieberman became the bassist for hard rock as well as jazz-rock fusion bands throughout high school. During this time, he suffered from major depressive disorder and committed parasuicide at age 17. Amidst episodes of depression and mania, Lieberman graduated from college in 1980 with a BBA in accounting, where he worked his way up to become town comptroller by 1998, a position he held until his retirement in September,2014.

He was on hiatus from music through much of the 1980s except for recording a vinyl single “Nuclear Blitz (Edits 96 and 85)” in 1984, playing all the chords and leads on the bass guitar. Lieberman was married four times and divorced three times by his 33rd birthday.

1991–1994 the underground cassette trade

He planned to return to music briefly in the spring of 1991, to commemorate his 20th year of playing the bass, this time accompanying himself with a used Yamaha DD-6 drum machine. By year’s end he recorded a 13 track cassette called Bang The Bass Bopmania.[20] Overdubbing tracks by using two portable cassette players, Lieberman started writing and recording bass-only crude punk/hardcore music. There was a free paper in the New York area at the time called The Musician’s Exchange that would review Lieberman’s cassettes and those of like-minded musicians in a column called “Independents’ Day.” This resulted in trading tapes amongst the musicians and circulating them throughout the underground.

Lieberman recorded under the “Bop Bop Bigger Bab’el” moniker from 1991 to 2001.

1994–2001 enter The Gangsta Rabbi-stage left

Steve Lieberman with curve-headed flute 21 October 2007

In 1994, Steve Lieberman began to study the Bible continually, as he did in the years following his bar-mitzvah. This time, he realized discrepancies between the Word in the Bible and the way modern Judaism is practiced. An example of this is that the modern Jewish calendar, besides having its months named after Babylonian gods violates a commandment given in Exodus 12:1, where the new year must be celebrated on the new moon directly preceding Passover, so why do 10 million Jews disobey God by celebrating “Rosh Hashannah” in the seventh month?

After confronting a rabbi with this question after he performed a grave unveiling ceremony, and the rabbi was unable to answer, Lieberman recorded his 20th tape entitled Gangsta Rabbi, the title track becoming his theme song and stage name – because “he likes to pick theological fights with actual rabbis”.

His biblical studies caused Lieberman to break off from existing Jewish sects to found the Badlan’im (Heb:”isolationists”) sect in 1995 where precepts include fasting, continual prayer, vegetarianism, and belief in only the Bible as the law, so that God’s word is not superseded by that of the Talmud and other rabbinical writings. Additionally, he replaced the calendar from the current system, in the 58th century, to a more appropriate system, being in the 35th century, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt.

Packaging a live cassette from a First Night festival on New Year’s Eve 1994 as Mission of Tolerance 5755-Live, the Musician’s Exchange’s head writer Paul Incinitti said of Lieberman’s show, “based on the sound of the screaming crowd, Lieberman should tour and call (the tour) “No Sleep To Gaza”. He is every skinhead’s nightmare”.

2001 ashes of Bad’lania

After the release of his 36th cassette, Diaspora Blaster 36 in the spring of 2001, Steve Lieberman’s house and studio were completely destroyed by an electrical fire. Acquiring a used flute and a book on how to play it, he wanted to start a genre that would fuse the flute with punk rock, as Jethro Tull did for blues-rock three decades prior.


By the spring of 2002, the studio and house were rebuilt and Lieberman purchased a Korg D1600 16 track digital recorder. Deciding that the user’s manual was too thick and a bit boring, he just plugged in and winged it and three months later, out comes his first CD Bad’lania Rising, a “greatest hits” collection of the first 38 tapes. The title was the sequel of his last tape Ashes of Bad’lania where “Bad’lania” is the homeland of his Badlan’im sect.

Bad’lania Rising

By its 27 August 2002 release songs from Bad’lania Rising were known through the use of on-line music distributors; the largest at the time was mp3.com. His song “Puppy” debuted at 719 in the Garage Chart and “Gangsta Rabbi” at 1229 on the Jewish/Israeli list on mp3.com on 6/24/2002, the first day after release. Looking for a genre that would best tolerate his new style, the progressive rock community showed least objection. In a review in their site progressiveworld.net which yielded Bad’lania 2 out of 5 stars said the record was “awful”, but praised his newly learned flutework which was played over the racket of everything else and closed by saying “we are fascinated by the eccentric … but… I just can’t say I enjoy listening to it.”.

Jewish Lightning

Re-recording many of the post-1996 heavily Jewish-themed tunes with the exception of the new Astroland Spring-Green ‘415, Lieberman’s second CD Jewish Lightning was released on 16 September 2003. This record, as Bad’lania, received some poor grades for listenability because of Lieberman’s overuse of ethnic instruments and non-conforming methods in the studio, but for the content, “identifying with Biblical ancestry and anger towards the Holocaust” he was dubbed “a proud Israelite poet” by Binyamin Bresky at Cleveland Jewish Radio.

Additionally, in a tribute to Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal after his 2005 death, Jewish music journalist Baron Dave Romm said of Lieberman in a review of Lightning, “his energy and attitude are infectious. He has something to say and by damn he’s going to say it … he’s as fearless as Simon Wiesenthal and just as smolderingly angry.”

Desert Fever Brigade

The Desert Fever Brigade sessions during the spring and summer of 2003 yielded 35 songs of which 21 of the most “commercial” were included on the CD. The album was released on 29 December 2003. Reviewers showed the work little respect, as Adam Mico of the Daily Vault said in his review of DFB—Mr Lieberman has no control center in the brain, hence this CD sounds the way it does. After Desert Fever Brigade’s release, Steve Lieberman held the #1 artist spot on mp3.com.au, the largest on-line distributor in Australia, for 6 weeks spanning December 2003 – January 2004.

2004–2005 skinheads in my yard oy vey


For the release of his 4th album Liquidatia-455, he was invited to promote the album by Jill Morrison at WUSB (FM) on 9 June 2004.[36] “Liquidatia” charted on some college radio Top 30 charts at Harvard (#28), Montclair State (#6), Duke University (#30) and Stanford (#27).

Jewish Riot Oy! Oy! Oy!

Steve Lieberman plays bass solo-Cup-A-Cino’s Detroit, MI 9/18/2004

In September 2004, Lieberman traveled to Detroit, where he played, recorded and filmed a show and released the results as what would be his 6th CD and first live record called Jewish Riot Oy! Oy! Oy!, released 5 January 2005, The small audience was evident by the limited applause on the recording. Journalist James McQuistion said that “Lieberman should seriously consider trying to create a more live-feeling studio experience, as this is the essence of eir music, free of all the unnecessary chaos that Lieberman likes to thread throughout eir music.” Bill Cuevas, music director at KZSU Stanford University summed up Lieberman’s attitude as a live performer in his review of Jewish Riot which peaked at #41 on the station’s chart:”I just love how its obvious theres like 5 people in the audience while this guy gives the performance of his life.”

After returning home from Detroit, Buttons, his beloved lab mix who had been the subject of quite a few of Lieberman’s songs, had passed at 14 1/2 on 22 September 2004. He played some shows in New York City including CBGB’s and the Acme Underground. Author/promoter Steven Blush was promoting a Thanksgiving Eve jam on 24 November 2004 at Don Hills and was the first to book Lieberman as “Gangsta Rabbi”.

Arbeiter At The Gate

After his attempt in New York City, Lieberman hooked up with the now defunct Long Island Music Coalition (LIMC) headed up by WUSB DJ Rich Hughes, who provided him with some work in clubs. When interviewed about Lieberman by Newsday in the fall of 2004, he said he “first heard Lieberman on a local radio show in his car. ‘I nearly drove into a tree,’ he recalls. But something about the music stuck with him. I like the way he follows his own muse”.

Lieberman released his 5th album, Arbeiter at the Gate, on 18 October 2004. When the Allmusic guide received its copy, because Lieberman dedicated a song “The A.M.G.” to them, critic Gregory McIntosh reviewed the CD, giving it a surprising 3 1/2 stars citing “Mostly, the appeal of Arbeiter at the Gate, and indeed all of Lieberman’s work, is the sheer and impressive fearlessness of it”.

Arbeiter peaked at #42 on WXDU-Duke University and on 22 May 2005 hit #87 at KZSU, and two weeks later, “Jewish Riot” re-entered at #360 one notch lower than “Arbeiter” holding #359.

Jew in the Underground

During the early part of 2005, Steve Lieberman frequented open mic night at a club called Munchaba in Levittown, NY. It was hosted by comedian/musician Evan Wecksell who referred to Lieberman as an “anti-musician”. Lieberman and Wecksell did a few shows together called the “Jews Who Rock” tour.

At the same time, Rafer Guzman, the local music reporter at Newsday, came to one of Lieberman’s shows and interviewed him for the paper. The cover of the article, published on 27 February 2005, featured a full-page picture of Lieberman playing the bass and singing at the show.

In the article, subtitled “A Crowd of Seven” referring to the generally consistent poor attendance at the show, Guzman, in detail, describes the dynamics of Lieberman’s stage show: “Then he laid down a barrage of thunderous bass notes and snarled unintelligibly in a gravelly, slurred voice. Each song also featured a wild, high-pitched flute solo, with Lieberman occasionally slapping the bass to sustain the rumbling feedback.” Concluding, Guzman states that Lieberman’s music is all about his emotions and his message, not his talent.

Shortly after, on 7 June 2005, Lieberman released his 7th CD, Jew in the Underground.


On Tuesday 2 August 2005, the host signing in the artists for the open mic at The Downtown recognized Lieberman from the Newsday article six months prior. Opening with “Dogpark” from Liquidatia-455 and closing with “Punkifier 76-FX” from his forthcoming album, the emcee booked Lieberman to open for the Viva La Bam rock show featuring Ryan Dunn and Don Vito the next month.

Viva the Gangsta Rabbi

 Steve Lieberman and his fans at the Downtown 3 September 2005

At the “Viva La Bam” show at the Downtown, Lieberman had stationed a portable cassette stationed at the end of the stage. He had the results mastered onto a CD which was released as Lieberman’s 9th CD (2nd Live), called Viva the Gangsta Rabbireleased 6 January 2006. A new local rock magazine was released by editor Tiffany Rizzano called Perpetual Toxins. She stated in the review that “Lieberman is a true rocker through and through … borrowing a bit from experimental rockers Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, British punk rock, such as the Sex Pistols and even ’80s hair metal … He opened up the tune ‘Bonkey on the Donkey’ playing the flute, giving the song a bit of a Jethro Tull sound” and said his voice was more punk styled than Billie Joe when doing his songs in the “Green Day Medley”.

2006–2007 Melancholia Between the Pirates

Within two weeks of the “Viva La Bam” show, The Downtown closed down, destroying Lieberman’s hope to do another show there. The Munchaba, where he was a regular, closed down the week before. These events as well as the poor reception to his 8th CD Punkifer (released 25 October 2005) caused Lieberman to sink into depression. Punkifer has songs such as “4-Hour Stiffy”, “Fall Out Boy Oy Oy Oy” and the title song, a tribute to the vintage DOD distortion petal Lieberman used to create the bass sound of the CD, “so poorly distorted that every single smack of a bass chord is heard.”

Jewish Pirate

By the fall of 2005, Lieberman began to spiral downward to his worst major depressive episode in over a decade. From this, he then suffered from writer’s block, being totally unable to come up with a new song. He decided to record a CD of cover tunes and donate the gross proceeds to the North Shore Animal League, where he adopted his dogs, Buttons (1989–2004) in 1991 and Midnite Buttons (2004–2010) in 2004. Recorded December 2005, Jewish Pirate included songs originally done by Bruce Springsteen, Green Day, Jethro Tull, The Butthole Surfers, the Dead Milkmen, and the Grateful Dead amongst others, and was released on 30 May 2006 as his 10th CD. It became his first record to chart on WUSB FM where it hit #8 on 27 October 2006.

James McQuiston at NeuFutur Magazine said of Pirate, “The results are strong for that of a cover CD, and hopes Lieberman’s future recordings will continue in such a direction.”

In February 2006, Lieberman was featured on a 7-minute clip on Cablevision News 12. However it was only played between 11 am and 4 pm on a Wednesday, to a sparse audience.

Melancholia Falling

Coming out from a 5-month major depressive episode in the spring of 2006, Lieberman documents it in his first “concept” CD Melancholia Falling, his 11th CD released 31 October 2006. Syd Nathan of the Good Times Magazine said of Melancholia: “Perhaps the most bizarre recording ever to come across my desk… being an old fashioned concept album as it deals with the Rabbi’s recent bout of depression and coming with an actual warning against suicide on the cd itself, as the main character takes his life, this is totally convoluted”.

Last of the Jewish Pirates

The follow-up to 2006’s Jewish Pirate, another covers CD for charity, his 12th, was released 7 August 2007.

Shake the Missile Base

On Shake The Missile Base, his 13th CD released 6 November 2007, the opening track “Public Suicide” exhibits Lieberman’s failing mental health. As described by the chief editor of Smother.net Magazine, “A heavily distorted album as is the usual Lieberman fare, he distances himself from sunshine-laden lyrics for angry words of rage, heartache, suicide and depression”. Jimmy Alvarado of razorcake.org – Punk Reviews said of Missile Base: “… some will undoubtedly see it as much ballyhooin’ and little talent, others will find a uniquely genius quality in the unpolished delivery of songs like ‘Skinheads in My Yard Oy Vey,’ ‘Love @ Defcon 5,’ and ‘Rubbin’ One Out for My Baby.’”


In early 2008, complications from bipolar disorder got Steve Lieberman committed to the psychiatric ward in a local hospital. Being released in less than a week, in two months’ time after that, he had returned to the stage, playing Farmingdale, New York’s Crazy Donkey, where he cut himself on stage with a broken fiddle bow.

Psych Ward

After the experience of his confinement, Lieberman recorded his second concept album, his 14th CD Psych Ward, released 8 June 2008. Senior editor C.W. Ross at Indie Music Stop said “The songs’ lyrics are a little tough to hear with talk of self-mutilation, cutting, death and suicide, but to get the point across, it’s all necessary…Lieberman seems to exist to break the rules of writing, production and instrumentalization, playing a Jethro Tull-style flute and lead and rhythm bass with a vengeance”.

Overthrow the Government

When completing work on his 15th CD, Overthrow the Government, released 15 October 2008, a commercial rock radio station was having a contest for players of miscellaneous instruments; the prize was to appear on stage at Madison Square Garden with Weezer. Lieberman submitted the flute intro to I’m Jethro Tull and took 60.4 percent of the vote and got to play the Garden on 24 September 2008.

“Lieberman has really started to fall into a groove with these last few recordings … The music that Lieberman creates may be a little hard to get into, but the honesty of this work here is something that should be lauded and commended”, said NeuFutur Magazine when reviewing the album.

[61] Three months after the Weezer show, Lieberman was asked to return to the Crazy Donkey, this time to open for Andrew WK.

2009–2011 JDub Records’ Gangsta Rabbi

Diaspora-A Folk-Punk History of the Hebrew Nation

Setting out in the fall of 2008 to do a second concept CD, Steve Lieberman took on the history of the Jewish people. Starting with the call of Abraham, going through the Old Testament to the Holocaust and finishing with “4th Diaspora-The End Time”, the underlying message is that so much misfortune befell the people because of their disobedience to God’s Law.

Finishing the record in January 2009, at the same time the Israel-Gaza crisis erupted, Lieberman closed the album with the controversial “For the Children of the Gaza”.

In a June 2009 review in RadioIndy, Lieberman received another comparison to fellow outsider musician Wesley Willis but “relying on shock and awe bursts of scorching bass licks and howls of reverent fury to trace the tormented Judaic arc from pre-biblical times to the 21st century”.

Diaspora was Lieberman’s 16th CD, released 31 March 2009.

DiKtatoR 17

After numerous attempts to contact JDub Records, including sending a copy of Psych Ward in 2008 as well as inviting them to every big show he booked, in November 2009, Lieberman was contacted by the label, who invited him to sign a multi-album five-year deal. Lieberman always wanted to be on the label, as they had discovered Matisyahu and worked primarily with openly Jewish acts.

JDub hosted a Punk Purim party called “Hamanbashin” in February 2010, emceed by Sarah Lewitinn which Steve Lieberman opened for.[66] Seven weeks later on 20 April 2010, JDub Records released the digital version of DiKtatoR 17, being the 27th of only 35 albums released in the label’s history.

Lieberman visited the JDub offices in March 2011, when they planned to release Lieberman’s CD’s Jewish Engineer 18 and The Rabbi Is Dead during the summer of 2011 as well as a four-part documentary of his life called “A Punk Life: The Gangsta Rabbi Story”. The video was released in 4 weekly segments starting on Lieberman’s 53rd birthday 21 June 2011.

On July 12, 2011, the night after the last installment, “The Gangsta Rabbi’s Studio” was released. JDub artists received a personal email from the Chief Operating Officer stating that after the label’s nine-year existence, JDub Records was forced to close down citing financial reasons alone. The news went public the next day.

When interviewed by Punk Torah, Lieberman was asked about his plans following JDub’s closing. Lieberman quipped, “I released the first sixteen [albums] on my own and will do the same for numbers nineteen through one hundred plus. As for a new label, I’ll be 104 when that happens…”

Jewish Engineer 18

Following the formula of DiKtatoR 17, Steve Lieberman produced and physically released his 18th CD Jewish Engineer 18 (a reference to the accounting profession) on 6 July 2010. When presenting the 20-song CD to JDub for digital release, he was told the release must wait because DiKtatoR was released less than three months before.

The song “I’m Not A White Boy” hit #1 on SoundClick.com alternative chart in July 2010, and received an International Association of Independent Recording Artists IAIRA International Top 10 Award.

At this time, a stay in the hospital revealed that Lieberman was suffering from a rare chronic bone marrow cancer called polycythemia vera, which progressed to the accelerated stage in the fall of 2011 and then to myelofibrosis leukemia, a condition where the bone marrow transforms to fiber and slowly stops producing blood cells.

2011-2012 My Magic Last Days

The Rabbi Is Dead

Steve Lieberman plays his 2-headed 50 fret OktoBass

Presenting his most commercial effort to JDub Records in March 2011 and the first where Lieberman plays the 6-string guitar, he was advised to trim down the 22-song CD to 12 or 13 tracks which he did. He released the 13 track CD independently on 19 July 2011 because of the demise of JDub Records.

My Last Rock Show

After the release of The Rabbi Is Dead, Lieberman was diagnosed with myeloproliferative bone marrow cancer and knew he would soon be unable to perform on stage or in the studio. He put together a final tour which was documented in his 20th CD My Last Rock Show, released 7 February 2012. Although poorly produced from cassette masters,My Last Rock Show included tracks of Lieberman as he was backed by a full punk band and a performance of The Dreidel Song at a government-sponsored Hanukkah show.

My Magic Last Days

Production and release of the next album, his 21st,originally to be called My Magic Tragic Last Days, but later shortened to My Magic Last Days was delayed because Lieberman was unable to work on it due to the quick progression of the disease. It was finally released on 17 July 2012. Although most reviewers shied away from it, it was one of Lieberman’s best received albums.

[74] The album peaked at #33 after a lack-luster journey through the bottom of the chart on KZSU on 21 April 2013

2013-2014 They Got Me Confined to the Cancer Ward

Cancer Ward

In May 2012, after the production of My Magic Last Days was completed, for the first time since 1985, Lieberman retired from making music altogether due to his progressing cancer. In October of that year, damage from Hurricane Sandy destroyed many of his instruments and equipment but spared his Korg D1600 recording board. In the spring of 2013, after a year of suspending cancer treatment, his case was taken on by Memorial Sloan-Kettering. A bone-marrow biopsy determined he suffered from myelofibrosis, a condition where a once prolific marrow turns to fiber and slowly stops producing blood cells. In September 2013, Lieberman began undergoing experimental chemotherapy with a drug known only as AUY-922 lasting six months in an effort to reverse progression and to bring back an earlier stage of the disease, perhaps stage 2 polycythemia vera. Instead of having any sort of beneficial effect, the treatment actually progressed the disease, causing Lieberman to be hospitalized frequently, receiving forty-five transfusions between February and December 2014. However, in November 2013, Lieberman rose from his sick-bed to do a quick cover of “My Kingdom” by Echo And The Bunnymen, his first new output since the My Magic Last Days sessions in May 2012. The disease’s progression eventually caused Lieberman’s retirement from his 29-year stint as Comptroller for the Village of Freeport.

Return of the Jewish Pirate (3rd to 6th Pirate)

At the end of his radio interview on 30 December 2014, Lieberman promised to try and release a follow-up to 2007’s Last of the Jewish Pirates to be entitled Return of the Jewish Pirate. At project’s end, he had released a 76 song, 4 volume set on 19 May 2015, the 70th birthday of one of his greatest heroes Pete Townshend. Due to the overall length of the last “Pirate” series, Lieberman was not able to get press on the collection after its release.

The Jethro Tull / Gangsta Rabbi Connection

 Steve Lieberman plays one-handed flute solo at a punk rock show 24 April 2010

Being a long-haired male rock flutist, playing in a similar style to Ian Anderson, the connection between Steve Lieberman and British rock band Jethro Tull was established as soon as the 2002 release of Bad’lania Rising. It has songs entitled “Ian Anderson” (1999), “Punk Rock Jethro Tull Song” (2001), “Jethro Tull FantasyKamp” (2004) and “I’m Jethro Tull” (2008), with the A.M.G. placing Jethro Tull as a similar artist on the page of Steve Lieberman the Gangsta Rabbi. This connection brought reaction to both sides of the Jethro Tull community, those who hate Lieberman and those who love him.

The former is evident on one Jethro Tull covers site. A critic says this of Lieberman’s covers of Tull’s “War Child”, “Up To Me” and “One Brown Mouse”: “I have no idea what drives Lieberman to release this unapproachable stuff and why he chose Jethro Tull as a target.”

On a site called the Jethro Tull Board which is actually endorsed by Ian Anderson, there is a thread called “Gangsta Rabbinian” saying “I love your innovative and original Jethro Tull-related songs, and your non-Tull songs are great too” and posted the lyrics to two of Lieberman’s lyrics which express hope to find a peaceful end to the Arab-Israeli conflict, “Unholy War In The Holy Land” (2004) and “For The Children of the Gaza” (2009).


Studio albums

  • Bad’lania Rising (2002)
  • Jewish Lightning (2003)
  • Desert Fever Brigade (2003)
  • Liquidatia-455 (2004)
  • Arbeiter at the Gate (2004)
  • Jew in the Underground (2005)
  • Punkifier (2005)
  • Jewish Pirate (2006)
  • Melancholia Falling (2006)
  • Last of the Jewish Pirates (2007)
  • Shake the Missile Base (2007)
  • Psych Ward (2008)
  • Overthrow the Government (2008)
  • Diaspora (2009)
  • Diktator 17 (2009, 2010)
  • Jewish Engineer 18 (2010)
  • The Rabbi Is Dead (2011)
  • My Magic Last Days (2012)
  • Cancer Ward (2014)
  • Return Of the Jewish Pirate (2015)
  • …..Volume 1-3rd Pirate-Obscurities And Near-Misses
  • ….. Volume 2-4th Pirate-Hits And Near-Hits
  • ….. Volume 3-5th Pirate-Epics And Not-So-Epics
  • ….. Volume 4-6th Pirate-Plunder And Miscellaneous Booty
  • Blast-O-Rama(2015)
  • Terminator V617-F (2016)
  • The Gangsta Rabbi’s Quadrophenia (2016)
  • The Gangsta Rabbi’s Tommy (2016)
  • The Gangsta Rabbi’s Aqualung (2016)
  • Down With A Bang #29 (2016)
  • The King Of Jewish Punk (#30/68)(2017)

Live albums

  • Jewish Riot Oy! Oy! Oy! (2005)
  • Viva the Gangsta Rabbi (2006)
  • My Last Rock Show (2012)

Studio cassettes

  • Bang the BassBopmania (1991)
  • Bop The Referendum (1992)
  • Tails From The BopSide (1992)
  • BopZone Distributor (1992)
  • Resurgence In The FaKtory #5 (1993)
  • Labourer #6 (1993)
  • Velociraptor Factor #7 (1993)
  • Planet Bab-‘eL #8 (1993)
  • Poverty #9 (1994)
  • Recession #10 (1994)
  • Liquidation #11 (1994)
  • Yom Ha-Sho’ah Bab-‘eL #12 (1994)
  • Zionist #13 (1994)
  • Tolerance #14 (1994)
  • YeruBab-‘eL/The Underground Resistance #15 (1995)
  • Desolation #16 (1995)
  • Mishneh ha-Redaktor #17 (1995)
  • Diaspora #18 (1995)
  • Tblisi #19 (1995)
  • Gangsta Rabbi #20 (1996)
  • Delivering The Reprimand #21 (1996)
  • 57-Bad’lan-7 #22 (1996)
  • Gomorrah 5750 #23 (1996)
  • Powderkeg M’Shar’et #24 (1996)
  • Slamming The Mercenary #25 (1997)
  • Terror Mis-ab’ib #26 (1997)
  • Bondsman #27 (1998)
  • Upper Desert Discourse #28 (1998)
  • Bad’lanian Public Works #29 (1998)
  • My Magic Last Days #30 (1999)
  • Y3.451K-No Problem #31 (1999)
  • Laboured All These Years #32 (1999)
  • Servitorship #33 (2000)
  • Bop Gun ‘451 #34 (2000)
  • The Noisy Minority #35 (2000)
  • Diaspora Blaster #36 (2001)
  • Fire Sale Box Set #37 (2001)
  • Ashes of Bad’lania #38 (2001)
  • Public Kennel Wagging #39 (CD-2002)

Live cassettes

  • Mission of Tolerance 5755 (1995)
  • Ministering The Badlan’im (1996)
  • Berlin 3451 (2000)


  • “The DiKtatoR” Live 20 March 2010
  • “Wish You Were Here” (2007)
  • “Dogpark” (Live) 14 April 2008
  • “Star-Spangled Banner on 4-String Bass” (2009)
  • “Gangsta Rabbi” (song) Live in Detroit (2004)
  • “Punk Rock Memorial Day on Oktobass” 30 May 2011


Live stage gear

  • Custom 2-Headed Oktobass
  • 2006 Dean Nuclear Green Zone Bass
  • Marshall MG30 Guitar Amp y-connected with
  • Gallien-Kruger Backline 112 Bass amp
  • Armstrong Model 1042H Curve Headed Flute
  • Yamaha DD9 Drum Machine
  • Various Recorders and Whistles

Studio gear

  • 2001 Generic Precision Bass
  • 2002 Korg D1600 Multi-Track Recorder
  • 2010 Grizzly 6-String Electric Guitar
  • 2004 Shure SM-58 Microphone
  • Yamaha DD9 and DD6 Drum Machines
  • 1911 Conn Trombone
  • Recorders-Tenor, Alto and Soprano
  • Hohner 32F Melodica
  • 1995 DOD Punkifier Pedal FX76
  • 2011 Delta Lab Metal Distortion Petal
  • 2003 DD50 DOD Effects Processor
  • 2004 DOD Bass Overdrive FX92
  • Various Concert Flutes

His official website

About the author


See my profile at www.jfmooreart.com.

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