The inspiration presented itself when Jeremy Herzer learned that the SCL Health was looking for parody songs about COVID-19 to lighten the mood. “It just stuck in my mind that I should be able to come up with SOMETHING,” Jeremy said. “My only expectation was that the video might bring a smile to SCL Health during their long days.
After about 20 minutes of writing (which Jeremy claims is highly unusual), he was ready to record “Hey You (Go Wash Your Hands),” a bright three minutes of good reminders - like don’t panic-buy toilet paper and that COVID-19 is not the end - to the tune of “Hey Jude” by The Beatles.
“I have always loved performing… and have always been a bit of a ham,” Jeremy said. “Performance - music performance, specifically - gave me an avenue to express myself and to connect with people in a unique way.”
He started his musical foray with the drums and started singing and drumming in church ensembles at 16 years old. He picked up the guitar in 2000 while working at a church in Vancouver and has been performing and writing music ever since. Jeremy also plays bass, a bit of piano, harmonica, mandolin and the accordian. “Growing up in Oklahoma, I was around a lot of old country and blues, and I think that often comes through in the songs I typically write and gravitate towards,” he said.
Jeremy has played in the same church band for 12 years now, and plays the occasional live show with friends or at an open mic night. Inspired by his favorite band, Pearl Jam, and honoring singer-songwriters like Gregory Alan Isakov and Ray Lamontagne, rewriting the lyrics to songs comes naturally for him. In addition to updating arrangements for hymns and gospel songs, he and his wife repurpose songs around their home all the time. “It’s usually something about our two cats,” Jeremy said.
And now, in the wake of COVID-19, Jeremy has a lot of time indoors to sing to and about his cats. “I am a raging extrovert, so more than anything, I miss people,” he said, reflecting on how his life has changed since the pandemic hit. “I miss going out to dinner with my friends after church. I miss going to lunch on Saturdays with my mom and my 81-year-old grandmother. I really miss playing ultimate frisbee on Saturday mornings. But otherwise, I think this time has been a good reminder of all that I do have, and all that is going right in my life. It has quieted me in many ways and allowed me to reflect and refocus on becoming the person I want to be.”
Jeremy is using songwriting and his servant leadership to guide him through this time. He also keeps a batch of chocolate-chip cookie dough in the refrigerator and bakes three cookies for him and his wife every evening. (It pairs nicely with the fitness routine he has started.)