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February 07, 2003 - Image 100

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-02-07

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eserrations J\otr

Arts & Ente tain e t

Lucky Number

Nashville-based band "Eighteen" blends modern
rock and Judaism and celebrates its success with
teenage audiences across the country.

33

DON COHEN

Special to the Jewish News

ighteen is where rock 'n'
roll meets the Jewish soul.
And that is just the way
Dan Nichols wants it.
"I want to take something ancient
and beautiful, and make it impor-
tant, relevant and completely cool to
a young person," Nichols says. "I
want to reinforce our past with new
sounds and songs and attitudes to
live Jewishly."
Nichols, the 33-year-
old co-founder of the
rock band Eighteen,
tours constantly —
more than 200 concerts
a year — bringing his
Jewish rock to teenagers
across the nation. And
the teens are buying it.
"Frankly, we have
been unprepared for the
degree of success and
popularity we have
had," Nichols says sin-
cerely, almost embar-
rassed by the band's
accomplishments.
"We have the three
most popular Jewish
songs among Jewish
teenagers," he says, rat-
tling off "B'tselem
Dan Nichols: "We're promoting Jewish identity
Elohim" ("In the Image
and the pride of being a human being, and
of God"), "Chazak"
trying to make Judaism cool."
("Strength") and
"L'takein" ("To Repair"), fondly
Mason Cooper, he formed Eighteen.
known as "the Na Na song."
The band came out with its first
Nichols will perform acoustic
album, Life, in 1995, and have issued
music 7:30 p.m. Friday, at a special
two additional albums, Be Strong and
Shabbat service at Temple Shir
Kol HaShabbat ("The Voice of
Shalom in West Bloomfield. The
Shabbat"), whose treatments of
next evening, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday,
Sabbath liturgy now are used by con-
Feb. 8, he will take the stage with
gregations across the nation. A
Eighteen at a Havdalah rock concert,
fourth album is in the works.
also at the temple. Both are open to
Today, the Nashville-based band
the entire community at no charge.
has become the No. 1 musical attrac-
tion at Reform and other Jewish
No I. Musical Attraction
camps across the nation as well as
campus Hillels and conventions of
Reached at his home in Nashville,
the North American Federation of
where he moved to learn the music
Temple Youth (NFTY).
business and hone his songwriting,
Eighteen performs as a trio, which
the 33-year-old Nichols, an

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Indianapolis native, is passionate
about his music and his mission.
Nichols has a classical music back-
ground, including a bachelor's degree
in music from the University of
North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Like
others of his generation, he cut his
musical teeth on rock 'n' roll.
When Nichols found himself
teaching religious school and
fronting the rock band Olskies, he
believed he could combine rock and
Judaism together for Jewish teens.
So, together with co-founder

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