“I wish we never stole lands from the Indians;
I wish we never made the black man slaves;
Yes, as much as I love America, our freedom’s got a few stains …”
–Lazer Lloyd from the song “America”
After he wrote the song “America,” Lazer Lloyd was advised to tone it down. “They wanted me to change the words to make it a little more rosy,” Lloyd told Tahoe Onstage in a telephone interview from his home in Israel.
The Americana singer-songwriter, though, did not change the lyrics to the single he released on Martin Luther King’s birthday, and last summer, after the violence in Charlottesville, it went viral on the Internet. More than 30,000 people commented on the love song to a nation mired in inequality and racial strife.
“My goal is to unite people and I tell it like it is,” said Lazer Lloyd, who was born in New York City in 1966. “I don’t want to make any fantasy story about what America is and I don’t want to exaggerate what it isn’t.
“I really love the country, but there’s a dialogue going on. We have to address problems and at the same time realize it’s a great place and not lose the enthusiasm and not forget how good we have it. But we’ve also got to fix things.”
Lazer Lloyd is a combination of his two names. Lloyd Paul Bluman’s Hebrew name is Eliezer Pinchas Blumen, and Lazer is short for Eliezer. Lloyd grew up in Connecticut and began to perform in nightclubs with his rock-and-roll cover band, Legacy, when he was 15. He studied music at Skidmore College from, under tutelage of, among others, Milt Hinton, who played bass with Louis Armstrong.
Atlantic Records arranged a showcase for Lazer Lloyd in New York and had planned to move him to Nashville to work with Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band producer Garry Tallent. However, Lazer Lloyd states in press materials, “Man makes plans and God laughs. From a strange twist of meeting a homeless man in New York City’s Central Park, I played a concert with a hippie rabbi (Shlomo Carlebach), who convinced me to play with him in Israel to check it out and I fell in love, so I’m there more than 20 years.”
Staying in hotels during tours in the United States, he can’t resist watching the news on TV.
“I am tired of Fox News and CNN is trying to pull us apart from different ends,” he said. “(The networks) create division and hatred and nothing productive comes from it. … Ninety percent of people are in the middle.”
Lazer Lloyd uses his music to try to bring people together. He was shaken from an atrocity by ISIS terrorists.
“I feel people are hurting and people are looking for some perspective,” he said. “It was a few years ago when I saw one of those horrible videos of the ISIS guys cutting off a reporter’s head. (I decided that) I was either going to break down and not deal with the world or I could try to save myself from something so evil by going full speed on the gas going the total opposite direction. That’s the only way I could survive this crazy thing.”
Lazer Lloyd’s music has been called both blues and Americana and his deep singing voice has been compared to that of Eddie Vedder. He plays guitar but also is intrigued by the oud, one of civilization’s first stringed instruments. “I learned the tuning, so I kind of started tuning my guitar like half Led Zeppelin, old Jimmy Page, and half Middle Eastern.”
While some of his songs have gone viral, this is the first time one has done so at the same time he’s released an album. “Freedom’s Child” was released Sept. 29. The songs on the album were inspired, he said, by “tens of thousands” of personal messages on social media.
- Lazer Lloyd
Release: Sept. 29, 2017