As Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day of the omer, approaches and as this season’s mourning period is interrupted with joy, The Jewish Star speaks with the hit music group, 8th Day. Bentzi and Shmuel Marcus are brothers, living on the West Coast, whose original sound, videos and live performances continue to rock Jewish communities with their music and message.
David F. Nesenoff: Aside from the fact that you are the hottest music group around, who are you guys?
Bentzi: My brother Shmuel is a writer and I’m a guitar player. We wrote a couple of songs and our family heard the songs, and then our friends heard the songs and the next thing you know we’re doing shows and recording an album. Growing up our family was very musical and there was a lot of music in the house. So we were having fun with it and now we have all these fans.
DFN: What are your backgrounds?
Bentzi: Shmuel is a Chabad rabbi. I was always into music and was a professional musician.
Shmuel: I have a shul. We did a fundraiser a few years ago and we hired some local band. At the time Bentzi and I had been writing songs and having fun with it and we said at the fundraiser “the rabbi will do one song.” And the place went crazy and they said that we were better than the other band. And then we got another gig and got busier and busier. It’s been a fun ride.
DFN: Where does the name 8th Day come from?
Shmuel: 8th Day is actually Shmini Atseret. On Succos for the first seven days karbonos [sacrifices] are brought for all the nations of the world and on the 8th day, Shmini Atseret, the medrash says that it’s like a king who has a feast and he sends home all the guests and it’s just going to be me and you. That is the idea of 8th Day, it’s just me and you. It also has to do with seven days of creation and the eighth day is beyond nature. And also…my birthday is Shmini Atseret.
DFN: What is about your music that is so attractive to so many people?