Steve Lieberman (also known as the Gangsta Rabbi) has been on a creative run for a few years now. His urgent surge forward, in recording, producing and releasing material has been relentless, almost obsessively so, some may think. The man has an incessant work ethic, as if there is no tomorrow. However, as life’s unfortunate ventures may have it, for Steve, the ‘no-tomorrow-factor’, is more than just a passing comment of circumstance. It’s his harsh reality, due to an incurable disease which we’ve discussed many times on these pages and which you can read about at Steve’s website. Steve Lieberman’s Wikipedia page is also rich with interesting information on the artist, his works, and his disease, so I urge you to visit that too.
In his plight to reveal and divulge all the creative works he has been involved in through the years, Steve Liebeman recently uncovered, polished and repackaged “Bop Bop Bigger Bab-‘eL (feat. Steve Lieberman) 1991-1998 Underground Sessions”. This is a collection of very rough songs released initially on 38 cassettes, between 1991 and 1998, and recorded under the group name, ‘Bop Bop Bigger Bab-eL’, which was basically Steve on bass, vocals and drum programming.
The album is cataloged as metal, but I personally think that this album has potent punk overtones. This is what punk was during its birth, and what it should still be today, not the Green Day or Blink-182 induced stuff. This is real, hard – sometimes dissonant, and always affecting punk-metal.
After nearly 20 years this album is still as relevant to its blended genre as anything I can think of. Today this would probably be called Death or Thrash Metal, but back then it should have been called Punk-Metal – it has the grinding over-driven guitar sound of metal ( which is actually a bass guitar here!), but the speed and unbridled energy, as well as the wild abandon, of punk.
At times, on ‘Bop Bop Bigger Bab-eL’, Steve sounds like a raw and even ‘dirtier’ version of bands like Suicidal Tendencies, D.R.I., SOD and The Accused.
Punk and metal have always had a weird, sometimes difficult relationship. In a way this is strange, as the two styles share many influences and are both loud, extreme forms of rock music. However, though both styles cater specifically to outsiders. Metal’s theatrics and direct ties to classic and progressive rock represent more of a withdrawal from the world into a realm of fantasy and darkness.
Punk on the other hand, was always more grounded in everyday hatred of popular culture, the emptiness of corporate rock and the meaninglessness of modern life. Where metal looks at the fickle, superficial world and tries to escape from it, punk looks to lampoon and destroy it. And that second category, in my own personal opinion, is where Steve Lieberman’s music seems to be a better fit.
This should give you a partial insight into what to expect from Steve and the 17 tracks that make up “Bop Bop Bigger Bab-‘eL (feat. Steve Lieberman) 1991-1998 Underground Sessions”. Another clue to quench your thirsty anticipation can be found in the song titles themselves: “I Got The Clap From A Whore”, “The Coin Boy Is Horny”, “What If The King Was Ugly”, “Spitting For Ugly” and “Hey Marlon Brando, Racist Pig” doesn’t leave much space for speculative interpretations.
Steve Lieberman screams, he shouts, he sings, and kicks up one helluva racket while going straight for the jugular, both lyrically and musically. The sense of urgency in his music, which was once a stylistic approach has now become an integral part of his everyday life. Steve Lieberman once played like there was no tomorrow, today he is obliged, and gallantly lives by that very same motto.