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'Dreydl' gets spins for Another Man Down

If for no other reason than it happens to fall in December, the minor Jewish holiday of Hanukkah was long ago swept up in the seasonal tidal wave of gift buying, truly earning its dubious distinction as the "Jewish Christmas." Among many other signs of Judeo-Christian solidarity at this time of year, it's not unusual for Christmas albums to slap on a token Hanukkah song.

Case in point: Local rock station 99X's 99Xmas Soundtrack, Volume II, which features an uncharacteristically diverse collection of local acts, including Aerial, Speech and pH Balance, as well as more typical 99X fare such as Shawn Mullins, Collective Soul, Left Front Tire and Injected. And of course, the 19-track disc — on sale this week for a meager $3 at Best Buy stores — offers a Hanukkah selection: Another Man Down's rendition of the spinning-top ode, "The Dreydl Song."

What wasn't expected, however, is that "The Dreydl Song" would emerge as the disc's standout track, full of freewheeling energy, "Hava Nagilah" guitar solo and a hilarious interpolation of Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69" ("I got my first real dreydl/Bought it at the five and dime/Spun it till my fingers bled/Hanukkah 1979"). "We really didn't take it very seriously," says AMD vocalist/guitarist Alan Schaefer, "which is probably why it's starting to do something."

What it's doing is getting airplay from Michigan to Texas to New York — on NYC's powerful K-Rock station. Schaefer and his bandmates — twin brother Rob Schaefer (bass) and Dan Fishman (drums) — originally recorded the song as part of a Columbus-based holiday compilation, but got so much positive response they took it to 99X. Taking 99X's advice, the band also pitched the song elsewhere, and it landed on two sampler CDs sent to radio stations nationwide.

"We know this is going to put us on the industry radar, even if it's for a short time," Schaefer says. "And then the next question becomes, 'Do you have anything else that radio's going to embrace?' Maybe we do and maybe we don't. I'd hate to get pigeonholed, but for a band that's been pounding it out for six-and-a-half years, I'm willing to take that chance of being the 'dreydl band.'"??