The Big Jewcy: Jesse Palter And The Alter Ego

Their bouillabaisse of complex rhyming flavors is a delicious one unlimited by one genre or locale. Read More

By / June 8, 2011

Starting in the Midwest and taking to both coasts and beyond, Jesse Palter and the Alter Ego (Jesse Palter on vocals, Sam Barsh on keys) are definitely something to watch out for as their collaboration continues in Los Angeles this year. Sweeping up this year’s Track-Off Contest at Chicago’s RedEye with their hot tune Lose My Number proves that their bouillabaisse of complex rhyming flavors is a delicious one unlimited by one genre or locale. They hit us up with some updates for the occasion of their Big Jewcy feature.

Describe Jesse Palter and the Alterego in 5 words

2 funky Jews with soul.

What have the eclectic influences of a variety of genres and cities done to the band?

We’re both fortunate to have lived in major metropolitan areas, and being involved in the local music scenes there have had a lot to do with our development.

Jesse: I’m from Michigan, and grew up performing all around Detroit (at one point I was doing over 200 gigs a year with my quartet.). The musical history of Motown and the Detroit jazz scene deeply influenced my style. Throw into the mix that I started writing/recording with pop producers when I was a teenager, and you get the story.

Sam: I’m from Chicago, and my folks were into culture, so as a kid I was exposed to a lot of different music and art. When I moved to New York, I worked in the jazz, R&B, and ethnic music scenes, which really helped shape my playing and writing concept. Years of touring the world as a sideman also exposed me to local music and energy that definitely creeps up when we write.

Where do you see the project going now that you are reuniting in Los Angeles?

After almost 5 years of long distance collaboration, we’re ready to kick things into high gear; it’s Alter Ego in hyper focus. Our M.O. is to live and breathe our art; write and produce more music, more live performances, and tours. Bigger and better and all up in your face.

Any tour dates planned? Big news?

This summer the plan is to get Sam settled in Los Angeles. We also have a new team that we’re working with, can’t say too much about it but it promises to yield exciting fruits.

In August, we’re performing as one of the main acts at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat.

We also have 4 new songs about to be released, and recently our music has been featured in commercials for a couple well-known companies.

What do you attribute your widespread popularity to?

Sam’s racy photo posts have a lot to do with it. There’s one involving him naked holding a lit menorah that your readers might really enjoy (haha)

All kidding aside, our growing fan base seems to dig our songwriting, which we describe as upbeat pop with a tinge of jazz and soul, and our performance style, which is betzim (balls) to the wall (Sam’s dad is Israeli so we had to drop some Hebrew on you).

Do your moms like your music?

Our moms are our biggest fans. Jesse’s mom is like a pseudo-manager and Sam’s mom is our resident graphic designer.

Done anything philanthropic with the band?

Yes, plenty. We’ve performed at multiple fundraising events for the Anti-Defamation League, played in hospitals with non-profit the Art of Elysium, and done benefit shows for and the Pradagi Foundation. Jesse is also running the San Diego Marathon this month to raise money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. Basically we’re mitzvah addicts (haha)

Anything else you guys want to say?

Well, we wrote a little rhyme for you that sums things up:

We’re Jesse and Sam, and we’re partners in crime

Partners in song and partners in rhyme

We’re like fraternal twins from different wombs

And someday we hope to sweep the Grammys like brooms

We love music more than Desi loved Lucy

More than Israeli’s love Uzis

More than trouble loves Gary Busey

And just as much as we love Jewcy!

You’ll be hearing more from them in the near future if you haven’t already in the Real World (season finale).

PHOTOS: Cybelle Codish (Top Image,ccw: 1,5), Diana Ming Jeong (4)