Genre: irreverent homophobic offensipop
Era: 2000s - present
Country of origin: UK
In November 2001, with My Vegan Holiday riding high after a year of touring and the release of their album The Mung Bean Sessions, lead singer Nathan Fretch decided that he needed a change. He promptly parked a caravan behind a derelict Little Chef on a dual carriageway just outside Nantwich with a Bontempi organ, a crate of Tennent’s Super and a dozen copies of Vegetarian Wives and, just six weeks later, Fretch’s alter-ego Gay Rabbi was born.
Gay Rabbi is a piquant, simmering bouillabaisse of pop. With two albums under his hempen belt – the 2002 debut Hot Fudge Mystery and 2007’s Chutney Farm, both hotly condemned by the relevant authorities – Fretch has boldly taken the crumpled melodies and effervescent, rogery guitars that we have come to expect from My Vegan Holiday and paired them with an alarmingly hyperactive brass section to provide a delightful harmonic soufflé over which he drapes his zeitgeist-defying brand of insouciant anti-semitic homophobia.
Whilst it is true that Gay Rabbi has barely troubled the UK charts – the best selling of his singles, Homo Bar Mitzvah, peaked at a flaccid #126 – this lack of domestic pop success has been no bar to notoriety: Uli Falmstein of Jew Pop Weekly described Gay Rabbi as "an abomination to both God and my ears", and Kerrity Gradge of Music Casserole said of it that "even Hitler would not have done this". Indeed, only Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, writing in the Sharia Music Express, has spoken positively of Fretch’s side project, provocatively naming Chutney Farm as his "album of the year".
Fretch is unrepentant, however, and says that he intends to continue to use Gay Rabbi as a way of unwinding from the pressures of leading My Vegan Holiday in their joylessly sincere musical crusade to convince people to eat less meat. "Of course the vegan issue is of utmost importance to me," he says, "I just like to make jokes about Jews and queers now and then."