While most high school seniors spend their weekends playing video games, Jacob Zweigbaum is busy managing, songwriting and playing for his band, The Broken Beaks. Learn about how this 17-year-old broke into the Minneapolis music scene in this week’s Who The Folk?!
How old are you?
I am 17.
What high school do you go to?
St. Louis Park High School.
I hear you’re in a band called the Broken Beaks.
How is that?
Wonderful. We recently released music on iTunes and Spotify and Apple Music and all of the major streaming platforms and we just have a ton of shows coming up.
How long have you been in the band?
I’ve been in this band since March of last year. But I’ve been playing in bands since my sophomore year.
So you started playing in bands two years ago. When did you first become interested in music though?
My freshman year, I was just struggling to find a scene for myself, and I just started to listen to Beatles music and I just really fell in love with the versatility of their music. So because of that, I listen to tons of other kinds of music, and that’s really how I started getting very passionate about music.
Where was the last place you guys performed?
We’re actually playing at the Pourhouse tonight (Editor’s note: this was last night. Sorry you missed it.)
Cool. I don’t know a ton about local music but that seems like kind of a big deal.
We played our first show at the Depot as a duo. And then after that, we got asked to open for Jefferson Starship in Hopkins. That was very exciting. And since that, I just would email venues daily. I’m the band’s manager, and I would almost do guerrilla marketing, like constantly contact different venues trying to find gigs. Now we just have a ton of gigs because of that.
Oh wow. So you’re performing in the band, but you’re also your whole marketing team?
That seems like a lot.
Yeah. But it’s a lot of fun. Especially because it’s something that I’m very passionate about.
You’re doing all of this, though, on top of being a senior in high school.
It is a ton of work, but it’s my favorite way to unwind. I’d rather be doing that than sitting for hours playing video games. It’s the best way to unwind, playing shows or booking shows, for me. I’m just very passionate about the music I write and perform, so any opportunity is amazing.
Do you like performing? Do you ever get nervous?
There’s definitely an element of it where before the show I feel sick to my stomach and very nervous about going on, but as soon as I’m on stage I know that that’s my favorite place in the entire world and it’s the best.
That’s good, though. You’re in it for the right reasons.
I’m told that you are completely deaf in one ear. Was that ever a factor in all of this?
It’s interesting because being deaf in one ear, I don’t necessarily lose volume, I just loose depth, in the sense of like, I can only hear on one half of my body. And it just means that I’ve always listened to music differently. Things blend more naturally for me then if you have two [working] ears. But, it’s definitely been a struggle with learning instruments and stuff, but I’ve always just tried to power through it. It’s not really like — I don’t look at it as a burden, I just look at it as another challenge that I have to get past to do music. But I’m not gonna let it stand in the way of anything.
Are you completely self-taught in music?
Yes, I am completely self-taught on guitar and bass.
What is your favorite part about performing live?
I would say that it’s just getting to share music that I spend hours a day just practicing and creating and playing. It’s just that amazing feeling to know that people are hearing the music that you’re playing in your basement — it’s not being unheard.
Do you think this is something you’ll want to continue after you graduate?
I definitely think that I intend to — at the very least, my dream job would be booking and managing bands, just because it’s one of my favorite things to do. And there’s a natural high you get from getting that email back from the cool, Minneapolis venue that you can play a show there. I would love to do that for a living.
Speaking of cool Minneapolis venues, a little birdy told me the band is playing at 7th Street Entry?
Yes. We are playing there December 10. That’s what I would look at as my biggest accomplishment as the manager of the band. It’s so unreal that we get to play at that venue.
How did you book that gig?
Many, many e-mails sent to them over a lot of months. Yeah, just lots of emails, getting turned down a lot by them, and then finally, them being like, “Oh, we really liked your new singles,” asking if we could set up a show there. But we had to find big bands. So that was the way that we got it.
Favorite Jewish holiday?
Probably Purim, because you get to dress up, and I’m a big fan of seeing all the wacky costumes.
Favorite Jewish food?
Matzah ball soup, hands down. My grandma makes the best matzah ball soup in all of Minneapolis.Click here to nominate your favorite TC Jew to be featured on our weekly Who the Folk?! series!