I am not Adam Schatz

Adam Shatz

I understand why some people, including friends of mine, are confused; even I'm confused sometimes. (In some ways life must have been simpler when everyone was called John or Mary.) We have the same name, apart from that silent 'c', and we both like jazz. Not just jazz: the same kind of jazz. Adam Schatz is an avant-garde jazz promoter and concert organiser in New York. I used to cover that scene as a DJ at Columbia University and as a freelancer for the New York Times. Every so often I get emails praising my latest event; they make me wish I’d been there. Whether he also has an interest in Middle Eastern politics, or cooking, I'm too afraid to find out. Though I suppose I could: he's asked to be my friend on Facebook.

A few years ago, a friend of mine called him looking for me, and was wearily directed to 'the other Adam Shatz' (or should that be 'Schatz'?) in Brooklyn. More recently, he called my friend the pianist Vijay Iyer, whom I wrote about a decade ago in the New York Times, to arrange an interview. My friend's wife picked up the phone, and was 'very weirded out' when 'Adam Shatz', whom she'd seen only a month earlier, seemed to have no idea who she was. My namesake's interview will only add to the confusion, though it's a nice piece of work. I'd recommend Vijay’s album too, but Adam has beaten me to it.


  • 15 October 2010 at 12:26pm
    Imperialist says:
    Well, I hope you accept Mr Schatz's friend request.
    Does the cat add any special resonance to your piano playing?

  • 15 October 2010 at 12:37pm
    Phil Edwards says:
    I am quite definitely not Phil Edwards.

  • 15 October 2010 at 12:38pm
    A.J.P. Crown says:
    Schatz is treasure in German; it's a cognate of skatt in Norwegian, which is treasure, but also income tax.

  • 15 October 2010 at 7:09pm
    Geoff Roberts says:
    As long as nobody calls you Schatzy I'd say you're quite safe.

  • 15 October 2010 at 9:20pm
    alex says:
    how can you tell it's the c that's silent in Schatz, and not the s? or, for that matter the 'h'?

  • 16 October 2010 at 2:17am
    AdamSchatz says:
    Adam, it is with great pride that I read this. When I first started throwing shows at the Knitting Factory in 2007, I got an email from Rudresh Mahanthappa greeting me as an old friend and congratulating me on my new series. Rudresh and I had never met, and it was quite clear that he thought I was you. Then this past June I moved to a new place in Bed Stuy, and my upstairs neighbors are a young couple who revealed upon meeting me that one of them worked for you in DC. Small small world.

    I'm going to have to debunk one bit of your post. I definitely don't have a German ex-wife and daughter. Unless you can see into the future......

  • 16 October 2010 at 8:30pm
    jon s says:
    The origin of the family name Schatz: it's an abbreviation (the Hebrew letters Shin and Tsadi) of the term "Shli'ah Tsibur", which means the person who leads the Jewish congregation in prayer.

  • 18 October 2010 at 8:45am
    David Rose says:
    Not long after the release of my first book, in 2006, I took a call from David Rose. David Rose, you may know him, writes for many newspapers and magazines and has many very serious political titles under his belt. He was concerned because a few online book stores – notably Powell’s – had merged our catalogues together under a single author entity.

    Keen to find a solution to separate our reputations, he asked if I might adopt my middle initial. My middle name is Alan, after my dad who I haven’t spoken to in 25 years and whom I once killed off in a magazine article about ten years ago. He’d spent a lot of time in jail, my children had never met him and I did not receive an invite to his wedding that autumn. It really wouldn’t be possible for me to adopt his initial. Nor, I explained as the conversation progressed, could I simply not use a first name at all – like E.S. Turner, or A.S. Byatt – or else change my name completely to Vinnie Rose (which did appeal, but it’s possibly too gangster) or adopt my mother’s maiden name (McCaffrey – not at all Jewish). Besides, I said, there were many other David Roses out there, like the one who wrote The Stripper, and theme tune to Bonanza:

    On this land we put our brand, Cartwright is the name,
    Fortune smiled, the day we filed the Ponderosa claim

    He asked who my editor was, and, naturally, he knew of her. ‘Perhaps,’ he said, his voice rising in a fluster, ‘she signed you because she thought you were me!’

    I met my editor and her assistant in New York that Fall and told her this story. We all laughed. Some months later she signed David Rose.

    • 18 October 2010 at 9:25am
      A.J.P. Crown says: @ David Rose
      No respectable American could be published under the initials D.A.R. I'd never heard of this other David Rose.

    • 18 October 2010 at 11:06am
      Martin says: @ David Rose
      And, anyway, there is already a David A. Rose who is a freelance writer - I am not a fan, just someone with a bit of time to kill and Google at hand.

    • 20 October 2010 at 8:15pm
      requiemapache says: @ A.J.P. Crown
      Could we have conflated editions of the Shatz, Rose and Mitchell examples?

      - Ramallah Oop Bop Sh'Bam
      - They call me Naughty Guantanamo
      - That Mitchell and Webb Swan Green

  • 18 October 2010 at 10:15pm
    Terry Castle says:
    Adam, at least your near-namesake is a person of the same sex as yourself and has respectably hipsterish, if not LRB-ish, tastes. He sounds like someone in fact--who if you HAD to be mistaken for anyone else--would be preferable to many other Internet denizens.

    One of the most prominent 'Terry Castle's" in the world is apparently the founder and head designer of 'CaryOn Gamebags'--a company devoted to selling large cotton/polyester bags you can use for carrying home your dead and mangled prey after a day's successful huntin' in the wild. See the other Terry C's charmingly rustic and bloodthirsty website-- --for descriptions of the Loose Meat Bag, Heart & Liver Bag, Quarter Elk Bag, Full Mule or White Tail Deer Bag, etc., plus a lot of gory pix of various elk heads and deer carcasses.

    All of which is to say I'm thinking of using the following for my next LRB Constributor's Note (I also want to find this 'Grandma Grace'):

    "No one recalls the exact date that "Grandpa Terry" Castle first expressed despair at ever finding a suitable deer or elk bag. But, we do know that it's now been at least twenty-five years since he and Grandma Grace embarked on a marathon shopping spree in search of the perfect material for "the bag."

    "Field tested and hunter approved is putting it mildly! The prototype and subsequent bags, based on Grandpa's design and recommendations, have been used by family members and friends to pack deer and elk out of the Pacific Northwest's forests every hunting season since that fateful day."

    "Tag 'Em & Bag 'Em with CaryOn Gamebags!"

    • 19 October 2010 at 9:33am
      A.J.P. Crown says: @ Terry Castle
      now been at least twenty-five years since he and Grandma Grace embarked on a marathon shopping spree in search of the perfect material for “the bag.”

      Bonnie & Clyde?

  • 19 October 2010 at 9:22am
    Imperialist says:
    I like that either David Mitchell could easily accommodate the presence of an alternate David Mitchell in their work.

  • 19 October 2010 at 10:23am
    a-ram says:
    Surely now's the right time for everyone to pick up Nicholas Royle's The Uncanny: an Introduction - he describes meeting another writer called Nicholas Royle. It's...well...uncanny...

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