The Future: Dr. Who (3)

Perhaps you’ve noticed some of the scifi color in the Dr. Who TV series. Well, the aliens/monsters sometimes have bigger fan clubs than the Dr. gets. And they get their own carols.

Strax, the Sontaran Commander, is bellicose and stentorian about it. In a cast extra, he bellows out his “Songtaran Christmas Carols” and it might make you laugh.

Daleks, by far, outdo the other villains of the show. Although within their trashcan shells they are withered abortions, they often come across as nothing more than spoiled, megalomaniacal kittens, don’t they now… yes they do!
For a quick pic of how Daleks celebrate Xmas check out John Smith’s (not a song) ‘tube “A Very Dalek Christmas.” Half a funny.

Miles Quartermaas uses the altered voice for a brief chuckle with his “Dalek Christmas Carol.” Moving on…

Basil the Dear Old Dalek” by WeTheSciencey is a wee bit o fun on Rudolph’s tune.

The Time War that destroyed the Time Lords and the Daleks is lovingly echo-echo-echoed by Connie and Connie to ‘Silver Bells’ in “Gallifrey Song.”

Trying even more hard is Zuzana Stolinska with “Trenzalore” (to the tune of ‘Let it Snow’). This Moebius mess requires a couple Dr. Who reference guides to follow.

Mike Horner’s Timey Wimey Puppet Show satisfies more with “Carol of the Daleks.”

But, in order to rock, witness The Go Gos back in the mid-’60s, who had a minor hit with “I’m Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek.” Extremely exterminable. [The Modest has a killer video for their cover.]

Rock Parodies Made Merry: “Oddity”

1970’s “Space Oddity” was David Bowie’s first chart hit. A subsequent US album got named for it. It’s as much about drugs as it is about Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (which is as much about drugs–mind expansion–as about space travel). Some will argue Mr. Jones’s music is not technically ‘rock.’ But i argue those who listened to the branchings of rock (be it progressive, psychedelia, metal…) listened to this.

Joel Kopischke makes some dang funny yule parodies. He’s done voice over for commercials and jingles as well. Since 2005 his comedy albums jingle my bells. Back then was “I Got Yule, Babe.” Now it’s “Ground Control to Santa Claus.”

Rock Parodies Made Merry: “Believer”

Confession time. I watched ‘The Monkees’ TV show every week. I was 10. It appealed to the iconoclast rebel in me. It barely fazed me to learn later that they were a corporate formula, a formulaic band designed by committee with songs bought from legitimately contracted musicians. They rocked. “I’m a Believer” was Micky Dolenz’s 1966 anthem about gettin’ some. He was the dumb drummer and rarely got paired romantically during the sitcom’s hijinx. Go Mickey D! I’m in your corner! (The Neil Diamond penned danceable–he’d already recorded it–became, for The Monkees, the biggest selling record of 1967. And it came out right around Christmas.)

And, yeah–this is pop. Not really rock. Go take out your tree or something, ok?

The Mistletones is a who’s-that a cappella group from the ’90s who suddenly went parodical in 2012 with their witty album Naughty and Nice. Sadly their attempt to orchestrate their funny takes on pop songs included only hand-bells. Musically these are a bit off. But a big Jingle for Effort, guys. “I’m a Believer.”

Rock Parodies Made Merry: “Vibrations”

Disturbed genius Brian Wilson released “Good Vibrations” with his Beach Boys in late 1966 as a single. It explored extra sensory connections with girls (or was written on/about drugs) and rocked a theremin. It’s an overplayed classic/cliche that broke ground back in the day. It was difficult to dance to, so later we called it progressive rock.

Bob Rivers was a kooky DJ in New England who masterminded stunts like staying on air for 11 days to protest an Orioles’ losing streak. (He got fired for his parody song ‘Hyundai, Hyundai’ [cf. The Mamas and Papas ‘Monday, Monday’] because of the protests of a sponsor.) Once in Seattle he began his career of funny Christmas song parodies over several albums. He’s not the only DJ to do this, folks! But he’s good at it.

So check out his ‘paro-deus’ “Decorations.” I know you’re getting tired of them and dreading the take down….

Rock Parodies Made Merry: “19th”

The 1966 #1 hit from the ‘Stones (not Fred and Barney), “19th Nervous Breakdown” is perhaps best known from The Minions Movie of 2015. This ‘joke song’ written by Jagger and tuned up by Keith Rickards explains their mental state after touring the USA. Ha, millions of ha.

Our version today is by The ’60s Invasion, entitled “Here Comes Rudolph.” If you haven’t heard of these guys, you haven’t been to too many Long Island boomers’ parties. They are a big deal old timey rock cover band. And their sense of Xmas humor deserves your consideration.

Rock Parodies Made Merry: “Nowhere”

It’s Kwanzaa!

It’s Boxing Day!

It’s beginning to look less like Christmas.

So, to cool down from yule town, please peruse with me some classic Rock ‘n’ Roll hits sung with a holiday theme. Some of this stuff is pretty fun, and it certainly clears the head of the tune from ‘Jingle Bells.’

First up, The Beatles’ well seemed to run dry during the rock renaissance that was 1965. In order to fill an album, John Lennon wrote “Nowhere Man” in honor of not having any ideas. (Although Paul hinted it was about John’s crappy marriage.) (Hey, we used to say it was about Nixon.)

The Ineffective Subdefectives have come and gone from my internet, so let’s mine their old fun with “Big Fat Man.” Man, that’s some merry meatball!

Chanukah: Round One

First off: Chanukah, what is it, who does it, how do you spell it?
Not my job, people. (If you want to learn if it’s Jesus’ Christmas, view the Puppet Tutorial.)
But i will celebrate the music. The LeeVees is the merger of two NY rock bands (one reportedly only wrote songs about hockey) in order to fill in the gap of cool Chanukah songs. Their ’05 album Hanukkah Rocks does that and more. You should also laugh to “Applesauce vs. Sour Cream” and “Goyim Friends.”

Happy Last Important Holiday Before Christmas!

Thanksgiving is not JUST about food. Neither is Christmas. But without that excessive feast neither would be complete.
The process of creating the Christmas dindin sounds so familiar when The Wiggles sing “The Turkey Jumps Right Out of the Pie.” I’m not sure if they are mistaking this guinea fowl for a blackbird, but what’s this about having underdone pot pie for the holidays?
A few carols mention the turkey for the season. Many are misdirects (like Elton John’s “Ho Ho Ho Who’d be a Turkey at Christmas?” which is some loud 1973 party song welcoming Santa).
A curiosity of consideration is “The Man that Slits the Turkeys’ Throats (at Christmas)” by Robin Laing. This catchy Brit folk song gets you to singalong and throw up at the same time.
My favorite big bird roast for 12/25 would have to be “Sidemeat’s Christmas Goose” by Riders in the Sky. These high-pitched cow-posers really tell a story with their funny accents and grunts and groans and pitch perfect harmony.
But let’s get American Urban: The Arrogant Worms’ “Christmas Turkey Blues” mixes hot jazz, Memphis blues, and just a touch of hip hop to bring that poor turkey’s troubles home. Let his wattle wail, brother.

State Forty-One: Nevada

I lived in the Silver State for a bit. Never regretted it, ’cause i was in my twenties. Never again though.
Meet Me in Nevada” by Gary Oleyar comes from that pretty great album Christmas Across America. This musician violinist (currently on tour with Loggins and Messina) treats us to travelogue with sleeze. The bubblegummy retro ragtime flounce its way through the state at Christmas time, but leaves me a bit lost.
The Willard Grant Conspirancy’s alt country “Christmas in Nevada” tells it like it isn’t the holidays. Christmastime is a mark on the calendar while traveling through the blasted alt-countryside. (Nice electric keyboarding–puts me in a Dire Straits kinda mood.)
Hey–guess what’s funny? The sincerity and purity of the Christmas spirit contrasted with the excess and depravity of Las Vegas! Get it? Ho ho, ho? –okay, not that funny.
Some songs are just about that irony: no Jesu Christo, no St. Nicholas, no hall-decking. Just–damn, stuck in The Gambling Capitol of the World at this joyous time: isn’t this ridickio!
Odd Limey Marc Almond complains about needing love and time fleeting and ‘The City of Steel’ in his “Christmas in Vegas.” But I don’t get anything seasonal or Nevadan here. Synth when are we expected to get this music?
Heavy metal guitarist Paul Gilbert bangs annoyingly on a piano and wails about the pointless glam of Vegas during a time of love in “Las Vegas Christmas.” He comes across as having something to say here, almost Elvis Costello-ish. I give it a thumbs mostly up.
Since Vegas is an international play land, you might also consider the Persian version, “Xmas in Las Vegas” by Tara. Apart from a couple of Strip backgrounds, i’m not sure why this is Vegasibly Holly Jolly.
On the other hand, LV XMas is all inappropriately contradictorally comic, so the chuckling choisters just gotta give it the old double down do-it-to-it standup sing-a-wrong.
King of the Fa la la lounge singers would have to be Richard Cheese (& The Lounge Against the Machine). His “Christmas in Las Vegas” deals out all the double entendres you’d expect, and a couple more. His whole album Silent Nightclub is worth the trip.
Rick Poppe and others celeb impersonate the Rat Pack (& der Bingle) doing Nancy Hawthorne’s “Christmas Strip.” It’s four the hard way.
Also talented, but barely Vegas; nearly Christmas, is “A Vegas Lounge Christmas” by the Five Card Studs. I likes me some parody, and this take on ‘My Favorite Things’ (how is that a Xmas song?!) a la “My Favorite Drinks” swings hard. (Don’t stay for the morning show chitchat after the song.)
More modern carols redone: Hope Spin rewarms ‘Christmas in Hollis’ as “Christmas in Las Vegas.” It’s not as clever, and her repetitive dance move makes me a little sea sick.
Rocky Zharp’s “Christmas in Las Vegas” is appropriately full of yearning bluesy harmonica and screechy violins and wheezing vocals. He’s a funny guy more than a musical guy.
You can’t win if you don’t play. And Daniel Po-in-yea does play–or at least bust(le) a rhyme–his way through a strange, addled (tambourine afflicted) soul song: “Merry Christmas to You, Las Vegas.” Jesus saves… so he can gamble on your soul, sinners!
An actual plea to outoftowners (who own Lost Wages) going for it would be Sin City Sinners staging a UK Invasion-style rock anthem to Merry Vegas: “Christmas in Vegas.” It’s awful fun and makes me miss the (naive part of the) ’70s. Starting out as tentatively as a tourist, this earnest euphony rocks the spirit in which Vegas is given… just don’t forget the sarcastic Scrooge sermon, son!

Scary Christmas

It’s Halloween week and–wait, are you sure you don’t want a Xmas song??
All other holidays bow down to The Big Holy Day, sure. Take All Hallowed Evening, the night before Michaelmas (first day of Winter on the Old Calendar). Here kids learn to earn their gifties. Yeah i know, you gotta be good for Kris Kringle to present you with the goods. But on 10/31, you’ve worked on your etiquette at least: asking before receiving. (Threatening some may say; but i maintain it’s social custom to follow these rules, ergo: policy/politeness.)
So let’s scare up some Halloween/Christmas hybrids.
First off, there’s that Time Burton movie which has already done that. Granted. No need to sing those as carolers; as a parent i’ve heard ’em to death. (Although big props to Cas van de Pol for the delightful parody “Who’s This?” to the tune of Game of Thrones. Ho Boo Ho.)
Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett made a splash with “The Monster Mash” back in 1962. It received so much airplay, he produced a Christmas sequel “Monsters’ Holiday” within a few months. (Not to be confused with the very Halloween Hoedown “Monster’s Holiday” by Buck Owens which mixes werewolves and hillbillies and bluegrass.) Lon Chaney has recorded the Pickett piece as well. But don’t follow up on Pickett… his “Monster Swim” and “Werewolf Watusi” did not reach the zeitgeist. (I am partial to his Much Later “Star Drek,” but overall let him rest. He passed ’07.)