Peter Himmelman is a singer/songwriter whose musical writing has grown much darker since the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. Just as a background into Himmelman’s evolving worldview, here’s a bit from his bio that’s posted on his website.
Himmelman was in a serious funk. Between albums, dulled by the strain and monotony of TV work, and unsure as to where to go next, he found himself reading and thinking about Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter executed by Arab extremists for no other reason than being Jewish. He regretted that he had never met Pearl, or become friends with him, or performed for him. Then a friend sent him an article in which it was revealed that Pearl had been a fan of his – that, in fact, Himmelman was his favorite artist. Himmelman also was stunned to learn from the author of the article, a longtime friend of Pearl, that he and Danny had bonded over Himmelman’s songs and had come backstage to meet him following a 1995 show in at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Himmelman, he said, gave each of them a broken string as a souvenir.
The revelations proved life-changing. “The knowledge that my songs have had reach beyond what I could ever begin to imagine has made me less concerned about the difficult choices I’ve made and focused me with a greater sense of mission,” said Himmelman, who has become close with Pearl’s parents, Judea and Ruth Pearl. “Sometimes when I write, I feel like I’m connecting with my Dad, who died many years ago, or my sister, who died six years ago in a car crash in Wisconsin, or Danny Pearl, with whom I’m strangely forging some kind of Earthly/heavenly relationship.”
Flash forward to the war currently underway between Israel and Hamas. Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder was captured on video performing the band’s song, Daughter, and in the bridge, Vedder went on a profanity-laced tirade against Israel before hijacking Edwin Starr’s classic, War. It’s easy to be anti-Israel these days if you’re a lefty. Himmelman’s not having any of it, and has recorded a great new song called Maximum Restraint. It’s worth your time to watch the video. In a sane world, one that’s not full of mindless stupidity and rampant anti-Semitism, this song would be going viral. I hope you’ll help make it so anyway.