Since its inception rock n’ roll has always been about rebellion. But when you come from a culture that shuns music entirely as the members of The Amish Outlaws have, that concept takes on even more significance. The Amish tradition of Rumspringa allows 16-year-old kids to get the opportunity to go out into the world without the strict rules and make the decision for themselves whether they want to be baptized into the Amish church, or live a life outside of it. Singer Brother Hezekiah X who had been fantasizing about performing music since he was young, took that big chance leaving family, friends and a way of life behind and he couldn’t be happier about it.
“There is very little music involved in Amish culture and where I lived we were relatively close to Reading, Pennsylvania and sometimes I would sneak out and I would hear music and my voice could sort of mimic the stuff naturally,” says Hezekiah. “If there is anything about being Amish that I’m still holding onto it’s that we all have a calling and strangely enough mine is to be in this ridiculous band.”
The band that Hezekiah jokingly refers to as “ridiculous,” formed in 2002 and consists of six members, four of whom were born and raised as Amish. They perform Sunday, January 10 at the Gypsy Bar at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. With their hats and suspenders they may resemble folks you’d encounter in a horse and buggy or selling jams at a market, but onstage they are one of the most energetic, dynamic, and tirelessly enthusiastic cover bands you’re ever likely to come across.
“I really see it as my highest priority to get everybody moving and grooving,” Hezekiah explains. “If you’re sitting down, we’re trying to get you up. We’re trying to get you dancing. If you can get people out of their comfort zone and get people on the dance floor a little bit quicker than they’d like, usually that means they’ll have a real good time.”
The Amish Outlaws have been incredibly successful over their 13-year run, performing at venues up and down the east coast, getting grandmothers up and dancing and turning any occasion into the ultimate good-time party.
“We’ve had a really wide spectrum of gigs from club dates to festivals, several different types of parties to weddings. I mean we’ve done Christenings,” says Hezekiah. “At the end of the day we’re sort of like ‘have band, will travel.”
As far as the music is concerned, The Amish Outlaws perform just about everything including, pop, rock, R&B, rap, reggae, dance, country and heavy metal. It helps that each of the band members like a very wide variety of music. Over the years the band has developed a great relationship with Borgata and always looks forward to coming back to Atlantic City to perform.
“It’s wonderful. I love that place. The Gypsy Bar isn’t the biggest bar in the world, but it’s such a cool place. They have a couple hundred types of tequila there and over the last 13 years I have made it sort of my business to try as many of those as possible,” confessed Hezekiah.
When looking back on the life-changing decision Brother Hezekiah X made at a young age and how things have turned out for him as a successful musician, it’s obvious that he takes nothing for granted and appreciates all the good that’s come his way.
“It’s fun. I’ve got a really great job. I’m such a lucky guy. When I moved out and the jobs I had as a guy who was no longer Amish — I was salesman for a while. I sold everything from steaks to copiers to cars and I can tell you the job I have right now, it’s a lot of work, behind the scenes work and a lot of effort put into the show, but still I’m going to play tonight and people are going to be offering to buy me drinks. Most people do not have the really, really nice job that I have. I’m very lucky.”
WHO ARE THEY: Brother Hezekiah X: lead vocals, Brother Amos Def: keyboards guitar, banjo, vocals, Brother Big Daddy Abel: lead vocals, guitar, Brother Easy Ezekiel: bass, vocals, Brother Wyclef Jonathan: guitar, Brother Jakob the Pipe Layer: drums
COMING UP: 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10, Borgata’s Gypsy Bar, Atlantic City
MORE INFO: AmishOutlaws.com