abp: xmas

Here’s the Spotify link to the playlist. You’re welcome to recreate it on any platform you choose. Just press play and read along, acting like the voice in your head is the DJ. The times listed are that of the song playing, not the full episode length. I play this with a 5-second cross-fade enabled. Have fun!

Intro

FMF#TrackArtistAlbumYear
1“Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal”Black FlamingosMerry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal2020

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 Hello and welcome to abp’s holiday episode! Today we get festive with the holiday cheer, scrooge-y with holiday grumps, and green with holiday envy. Holly and envy, what a Christmas combination! You can find a holiday playlist just about anywhere these days, with many of them featuring the classics we’ve all grown to love. Today on abp, we are venturing into unknown territory. Sure, you’ll hear a classic or two, or maybe a cover of one, but most of these songs are a bit more rare for this time of year, even though this time of year is the entire reason they were recorded!

01:10 There’s an unsurprisingly large amount of holiday punk and garage rock songs out there, and it was quite the challenge to limit this set to 30. Some topics are just more prevalent in rock and roll. A quick search on Spotify or Apple Music returns countless compilations of Christmas cookery, some of them legit releases and many of them fake playlists disguised as a formal release.

01:40 I suppose the reason for so many weird playlists or mixes is because many, many artists record and put out a Christmas song as a single or B-side only to stow it away for the rest of their years. Some recorded them as jokes or gags, some did it to fulfil contractual obligations, some just wanted to party by the punchbowl. Today, we get to dig into some of those obscure ones.

02:10 Many of you might recognize the song playing in the background. That’s the Black Flamingos covering John Williams’ brilliant Home Alone score track “The House”. The introduction song to the movie, Home Alone. Coming up and starting off our fun today, is one of the punk rock Christmas classics you hope to hear this time of year. Gwen Stefani and No Doubt covered this for the popular A Very Special Christmas series in 1997; just over a year after bringing The Vandals on tour with them as an opener. Yes, The Vandals opened for No Doubt. Here’s the story of Haji and Trevor, a turban-wearing punker and a skinhead, respectively, duking it out with a scimitar and num-chuks only to have Haji stop Trevor’s bleeding with his turban and for them both to have whiskey in the pub below. “Oi to the punks, oi to the skins, oi to the world and everyone wins…”

Set 1: He Goes By The Name Jesus And Steals Hubcaps From Cars…

2“Oi To The World”The VandalsOi To The World1996
3“Jingle Bells”The Blues MagoosJingle Bells – 7″ Single1967
4”Christmas”Chuck BerryBack Home1970
5“Run, Run Rudolph”The HumpersHappy Birthday, Baby Jesus – Compilation1993
6“Silent Night”The DickiesSilent Night – 7″ Single1978

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 What a classic! One of the oldest punk covers in existence also happens to be a Christmas song. Sounds about right. The Dickies share The Vandals’ knack for comedy and rock and roll with their jokey lyrics and superbly designed band logo. while also hailing from Southern California. I’d say The Dickies basically started the trend of the “punk cover”. Their debut featured covers of Black Sabbath and Barry McGuire songs along with their first few singles all being covers, including the one we just heard; “Silent Night”.

00:40 The Humpers jumped in to cover Chuck Berry’s smash hit “Run, Rudolph, Run”. They and many others stylize it as “Run, Run Rudolph”, though. Chuck put out the single in 1958 and it peaked at number 69 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2019, 62 years later, it hit number 45 on the same chart, setting a record for the largest gap between charting instances. The Humpers’ version came from the 1993 10″ Christmas punk rock compilation Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus.

01:10 Before that, we heard another Chuck Berry Christmas song. Chuck’s “Christmas” is a slower jam than its menacing holiday predecessor “Run, Run Rudolph”, but that song doesn’t reference spinning records with cocaine and cake! “Christmas” comes from Chuck’s 1970 blues rock album Back Home. a reference to his return to Chess Records after a few albums on Mercury.

01:40 One of the earliest psychedelic groups to form, The Blues Magoos started in NYC in 1964 as The Trenchcoats. After a couple years of lineup changes and name shifts, the band put out their debut album Psychedelic Lollipop in 1967. The album featured their lone hit “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet”, which in my opinion is basically Ricky Nelson’s “Summertime” cover dripping in brown acid. The following year, the Magoos put out a Christmas single “Jingle Bells” with the B-side “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”.

02:10 Up next is a song that celebrates the holiday many of us choose to observe this season for an excuse to air our grievances at one another. “I gotta lotta problems with you people, and now, you’re gonna hear about it!”. Its hard to find information on Pondicherry Bomb other than a little on their Bandcamp and some random Youtube videos. What I do know, though, is that they hail from Paris, France, play some cool surf/garage rock sounds, and put out an EP in 2015 called The Ginger. This one’s from a standalone single though in 2017, Festivus.

Intermission

7“Tidings Of Comfort And Joy”The VolcanicsChristmas Wassailing2020

Set 2: …For The Rest Of Us

8“Festivus”Pondichery BombFestivus2018
9“Deck The Halls”The SoaksDeck The Halls – Single2015
10“White Christmas”Bad ReligionChristmas Songs2013
11“Christmas Time”Dead GhostsLight Organ Records…With Bells On!2011
12“Xmas Time Again”Pointed SticksPower Pop Santa – 7″ Single2012

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 Pointed Sticks hail from the land of Nardwuar; Vancouver, BC. They were originally active in the late 70s/early 80s, but reformed in the 21st century to continue the magic. They released their debut self-titled in 1980 along with a handful of singles around that time before splitting and reuniting in 2006. In 2012, they put out a Christmas single which included the power pop tune “Xmas Time Again”.

00:40 Vancouver is also home to the garage rock band Dead Ghosts. In 2011, Light Organ Records released a holiday sampler with some exclusive recordings on it from their then-lineup, including the lofi jangle “Christmas Time” from the Canadian foursome.

01:10 The original Irving Berlin-penned, Bing Crosby tune “White Christmas” is the highest selling single of all time with an estimated 50 million copies exchanged for dough. If you look up the most covered songs of all time, “White Christmas” lands at number 11 with 200+ covers. I wonder if they counted this version by Bad Religion?

01:40 The Soaks hail from SoCal, just like Bad Religion, although a bit further south down the coast. The San Diego trio channels their band’s region and fits in well amongst the waves. Their version of “Deck The Halls” alters the vocal melody while holding to the chords and it makes for a delightful holiday delicacy.

02:10 In our next set, we talk about the man…or creature…in red. The US basically bastardized what is now known as Santa Claus, with that exact term first being printed in the Rivington’s Gazette out of NYC, December of 1773. Of course, the legend and mythology behind Santa goes back many hundreds of years, to either Saint Nicholas of the 4th century Greeks bringing dowries to poor Christians, or even more recent to the merging of Father Christmas, Sinterklaas, and other European versions of the frequent flyer. Let’s start off with giving him the rock and roll treatment, though. Here’s “Rock And Roll Santa” from The 5.6.7.8’s.

Intermission

13“Christmas In Las Vegas”Los Straightjackets‘Tis The Season For…2002

Set 3: Not A Creature Was Stirring, Not Even A..

14“Rock And Roll Santa”The 5.6.7.8’sRock And Roll Santa – 7″ Single2003
15”Santa’s Coming (Ho, Ho, Ho)”The WogglesSanta’s Coming – Single2014
16”Father Christmas”The KinksFather Christmas – 7″ Single1977
17”Santa Mouse”Bob MorrisonSanta Mouse / It’s Christmas – 7″ Single1966
18“Surfin’ Santa”Lord Douglas ByronSurfin’ Santa – 7″ Single1964

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15  Lord Douglas Byron was the frontman for The Continentals (out of LA) in 1962. There are only two known singles recorded by him and the group, with Byron dropping the band’s name from the second release – “Surfin’ Santa”. The end of the tune sounds very similar to “Alley Oop” by the Hollywood Argyles, produced by Gary Paxton. Paxton is credited with producing this one too. I think he was on to something.

00:40  Much like Gary, Bob Morrison was a songwriter based our of LA in the late 60s who eventually moved on to country music in the ’70s. His most famous pen might be “Lookin’ For Love” by Johnny Lee from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack. Back in 1965, he recorded a few singles for Columbia Records, including the novelty tune “Santa Mouse”.

01:10 “Father Christmas” is not only a bigger hit in England, but there are still many, many Americans who have no idea who Father Christmas is. The Kinks’ Ray Davies wrote the tune about a Mall Santa getting accosted after putting on such a joyful face for all the little girls and boys. The song has punk elements to it, which is probably why its been covered by numerous punk bands, such as Bad Religion.

01:40 The Woggles released a benefit album in 2019 for Jeff Walls, aka The Flesh Hammer, one of their founding members. Jeff died of a rare pulmonary disease in May of that year. The band features The Mighty Manfred, a regular DJ on Little Steven’s Underground Garage. The benefit is a compilation of earlier recordings, including one from their 2014 Christmas single Santa’s Coming, which we just heard.

02:10 Alright, continuing on with the surf theme, let’s kick of the next set with one of the pioneering surf groups, The Surfaris. Perhaps thrown in the the hat with other surf rock legends like the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean, The Surfaris reign supreme due to their early play in the game, and also due to one of the most iconic drum solos in music from “Wipe Out”. This track, though, comes from a single released a few months after “Wipe Out”, their Christmas single “A Surfer’s Christmas List”. Santa, can you please just bring him some baggies and a customized woody?

Intermission

19”Sleigh Ride” The Vara-TonesHave Yourself A “Vara”
Merry Christmas!
2011

Set 4: Surfin’ Santa’s Got Hockey Hair

20”A Surfer’s Christmas List”The SurfarisA Surfer’s Christmas List – 7″ Single1963
21”Santa And The Sidewalk Surfer”The TurtlesHappy Together Again!1974
22”Little Saint Nick”Best CoastIndie For The Holidays – Amazon Exclusive2019
23”Santa Has A Mullet”Nerf HerderHi-Voltage Christmas Rock2000
24”Santa Claus”Thee HeadcoateesSanta Claus – 7″ Single1992

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 Thee Wild Billy Childish is heard at the beginning of that last track, a cover of The Sonics’ “Santa Claus” done by Billy’s all-women protégé band Thee Headcoatees. Originally performing as The Delmonas, once Holly Golightly joined them for a cameo, Billy renamed them and they began their own storied career. More from Holly later.

00:40 Can we even really be sure that Santa doesn’t have a mullet? I think Nerf Herder makes a strong point here. Comes from the land of ice (hockey), always wears a hat with long flowing white locks out the back, has friends named Rudy, Don, Blitz, etc. What a great tune from their ultra rare holiday EP Hi-Voltage Christmas Rock from 2002.

01:10 More SoCal rock played before that with California coastal advocates Best Coast. Named as such to match Bethany Constantino’s initials, but also to plug the west coast as the best. They channeled their surf-rock ancestors the Beach Boys with a cover of “Little Saint Nick”, taken from an Amazon exclusive holiday playlist in 2019.

01:40 Before Best Coast, we played more surfin’ Santa satire from, you guessed it, Southern California. I heard they like to surf there. The Turtles were out of LA and hit it big with “Happy Together” but not before recording a few LPs and singles for White Whale. One of those singles, “Santa And The Sidewalk Surfer” wasn’t released officially until their 1974 compilation LP Happy Together Again.

02:10 While many of us who celebrate this time of year want nothing but a perfect, snowy white day with everything going our way, that almost never happens. In our next set, we hear about some holiday mishaps and non-ideal conditions to celebrate. Perhaps one of the most famous holiday mishaps, is the story of Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer. You know, the reindeer whose nose glowed red and lighted the way for Santa’s sleigh? Totally logical. Here’s the Galaxies out of the Pacific Northwest USA from the Merry Christmas garage rock compilation in 1965 singing about that magical flying hooved creature.

Intermission

25”Skating”Vince Guaraldi TrioA Charlie Brown Christmas1965

Set 5: Christ-mishaps

26“Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”The GalaxiesMerry Christmas – Compilation1965
27“Christmas Tree On Fire”Holly GolightlyChristmas Tree On Fire – 7″ Single2006
28“Rain, Sleet, Snow”Paul Revere & The RaidersA Christmas Present…And Past1967
29“Gingerbread Man”Tommy James & The ShondellsMony Mony1968
30“Christmas In Baghdad”Black LipsMerry Christmas – 7″2007

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 There’s spending Christmas alone, and then there’s spending Christmas alone on a cot in a tent in a warzone. The Black Lips’ “Christmas In Baghdad” is one of the most depressing holiday songs around with lyrics pining over wanting to go home and not end up dead, face-down in the sand. Too real, man. To all those soldiers stuck somewhere during the holidays, even if you want to be there, this ones for you.

00:40 Tommy James & The Shondells were riding high in 1968 after their titular single “Mony Mony” hit the airwaves. Their album of the same name reached #193 on the Billboard 200, and when the next LP was due to be released, the first single, “Do Something To Me” featured the B-side “Gingerbread Man”, which was actually taken from Mony Mony.

01:10 Another sixties garage staple played prior to that with Paul Revere And The Raiders doing “Rain, Sleet, Snow”. The group was waning in popularity by 1967 with the tide changing toward a more psychedelic sound than the standard pop rock. So, naturally, the band turned up the fuzz and wah and made a Christmas album. It works though!

01:40 Holly Golightly covered a lesser-known songwriter’s ode to a burning evergreen. Tom Heinl, the Eugene, Oregon based musician wrote “Christmas Tree On Fire” for his 2003 album With Or Without Me. The album also featured a second round of every song after the final track, with the vocals removed. Tom called the “Stereoke” tracks and was hoping you’d sing along. Holly released her cover as a standalone single in 2006.

02:10 Alright, Christmas night is fast approaching and we’ve got one more set to go. Up next are some real classic holiday songs out of the punk world. blink-182 took their sound in a new direction after reforming and adding Tom Delonge-replacement Matt Skiba to the lineup. Their early records still stand with the best 90s skate punk, though. In 1997, just after releasing Dude Ranch, the band recorded “I Won’t Be Home For Christmas” for KROQ’s annual holiday concert/party. This was one of the last recordings to feature their original drummer Scott Raynor. Scott, this one’s for you, sir. Here’s Mark, Tom, and Scott doing their holiday jam.

Intermission

31”Plump Righteous”King Khan & The BBQ ShowMerry Christmas – 7″2007

Set 6: New Year’s Christmas

32”I Won’t Be Home For Christmas”blink-182I Won’t Be Home For Christmas – Single1997
33“Every Day Is Christmas”Sass DragonsSnacking Is For Sissies – Digital EP2007
34”Sweet Christmas”Shonen KnifeSweet Christmas – Single2011
35”Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)”The RamonesBrain Drain1989
36”I Wish It Was Christmas Today”Julian CasablancasI Wish It Was Christmas Today – Single2009

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 That song was destined for greatness the moment it hit the airwaves on December 9th, 2000. Saturday Night Live premiered their Season’s Greeting bit with an original tune performed by Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan. The song was catchy. So catchy, that fellow NYC native Julian Casablancas of The Strokes recorded this version for a standalone single to his solo album 9 years later.

00:40 More NYC holiday rock before that with The Ramones doing their famous holiday tune “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)”. The song’s been covered by Bowling For Soup, Mattiel, Asobi Seksu, and even Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul. Yep, that Little Steven! It also proclaims a great message. Maybe just for one night, we don’t have to fight.

01:10 Though inspired by The Ramones, Shonen Knife totally outlasted them as a punk band. The Japanese all-women trio formed in 1981 and found notoriety in America due to Kurt Cobain putting their debut tape on his “Top 50 by Nirvana” list found in his autobiography. Well, that came later, they actually opened for Nirvana on their 1991 Nevermind tour and thought the Seattle trio looked scary and very grunge. Ha! We heard “Sweet Christmas”, a single from 2007.

01:40 From the Big Apple over to the Windy City, Sass Dragons hail from the Midwest’s largest metropolis, Chicago. The punk trio contributed their 2007 song “Every Day Is Christmas” from their Snacking For Sissies split to the Chicago-based band comp Half-Assed Chicago on Johann’s Face Records.

02:10 Well that brings us to the end of the episode. I hope you enjoyed some of these tracks and facts and welcome you to join abp again next time! Now go open that “Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis” and learn about how she got pregnant…or didn’t.

02:15 (music plays and fades out)

Outro

37”The House”John WilliamsHome Alone
(Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
1982

Check out my List for all of the releases featured!

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