During our "Christmas In July" celebration last year at the yuleblog, I decided to give something back to the creative Christmas community for all its given me.
I posted a yuleblog entry of an Air Force Christmas 45 that I found on eBay that I had owned for several years without using it on any of my Christmas comps.
I offered it once again last December during the hectic Christmas rush last year in the hopes someone would put it to good use on their Christmas comp.
132 people downloaded the 45 during the final month of the year (no numbers available for July). One such person was 3,000 miles away on the campus of the University of La Verne in La Verne, California.
Eric The Disco Boy - mild mannered reporter for the Campus Times newspaper - read my final line of my July entry and sent me this comp and the following letter:
"Captain - you requested comps using the Air Force PSAs, so here ya go... I hope you're appropriately shocked and awed by these fierce holiday... um... "classics". All the best! Eric The Disco Boy".
Here are the Disco Boy's answers to the standard set of questions that I will be asking everyone whose comp will be reviewed here:
1.) When did you begin creating your Christmas compilations?
Although I've been creating various mix tapes and mix CDs for years, I haven't really specialized specifically in Christmas music. Instead, it has been a wide variety of music for a wide variety of people.
2.) Explain the process on creating your Christmas comp.
"A Shock and Awe Christmas" was created on whim after reading the post with your share of an Air Force Christmas PSA album with a link back to a previous post containing a "challenge" to use some of them on a Christmas mix.
I'd had a bunch of punk Christmas MP3s laying around that I was thinking of organizing into a mix for myself anyway, so combining the two with a "shock and awe" theme seemed like a natural to me. (I think different, what can I say?)
The final comp was put together and sent off to you within only an hour or two of reading your posts. Honestly, I probably spent more time on creating the artwork than on sequencing the songs and burning the disc. Looking back on it, I'm happy with the music, but I would have spent more time on the art, since the front cover came out looking kind of shoddy (to me, at least).
3.) Who do you share these compilations with? How many do you send out?
As I said, this particular comp was shared only with you (unless you count my wife and kids, who get tortured with my personal mixes on a regular basis). In general, though, my mixes have just been shared with friends whenever the spirit moved me. For the past couple years, I've been involved with an online mix-trading ring, but that has recently petered out.
4.) What is it about Christmas music that appeals to you?
Music in general has a special ability to evoke powerful memories of time and place. And this is even more true of Christmas music, mostly because of its seasonal nature. Everyone seems to have a few favorite Christmas songs or performances that take them back to childhood, or some other happier and "uncomplicated" time. It manages to be "warm and fuzzy" in a way most other genres cannot.
Of course, being the contrarian-by-nature that I am, I had to make a comp with music that was anything but "warm and fuzzy." But I think this angry young punk view on the holiday is something that needs to be heard alongside the more traditional interpretations -- whether it's in the form of amped-up versions of old holiday favorites, protests against crass commercialism, stabs at low-brow musical humor, or simply attempts to, well, "shock and awe" the audience.
5.) What kind of feedback do you get from the comp?
Well, seeing as how it was made just for you, I'll have to wait and read your review, won't I?
6.) What other projects/websites do you work on other than Christmas?
I maintain a movie review blog called Desuko Movie Spot that I update at least a couple times a week. I also have a personal blog called Eric's House that has fallen into such disuse that your monitor will probably be covered in cobwebs if you even try to look at it. But everyone is welcome to visit and comment if they'd like!
7.) Anything you would like to share with people reading this review?
Rock over London, rock on Chicago!
1.) The first of five PSAs Eric used on this comp... It's gratifying to hear something I offered used on another Christmas project!
2.) Sorry to correct you... but this isn't the Sex Pistols - it's the Ravers and it's quite the opener! Easily found on the Rhino compilation "Punk Rock Xmas".
3.) My favorite version of the great Milton DeLugg Christmas song! Also found on the "Punk Rock Xmas" album!
4.) About as pure Christmas punk as you can get! Australia's Celibate Rifles were still playing as of 2001 according to their website. Anyone know if they're still active?
5.) This song is a testament to Irving Berlin - no matter how "White Christmas" is performed (punk, metal, bluegrass, pop, flatulence, etc), the song always sounds good. Where did this cover by Coca-Cola come from?
6.) Haven't heard this one before... "and OY to the world!" Find this one on their "Singles Going Straight" CD.
7.) Back-to-back Crucial Youth... Loud, obnoxious, and with just a hint of Christmas... solid core punk.
8.) Gritty, rockin' cover of James Brown's infamous Christmas plea! Off of the Double Crown Records' "Seasonal Favorites" comp!
9.) "A Magical Time" was the only PSA that skipped... it took me awhile to get the whole thing recorded!
10.) This doesn't have the punk sound - more metal really. It's on the "Punk Rock Xmas" CD (see #2 above) if you want to judge for yourself.
11.) Now this is punk! My brother bought this classic 45 from Sears and tortured all of us throughout the 1978 Christmas season - good times!
12.) Here's a punk Christmas song that's very accessible for all ages. Easy on the punk edge but still carries the sound.
13.) You hear geeky carolers knocking on Gob's door and getting their ass kicked (a very punk thing to do). The carolers return the favor and then a 45 second punk rendition of "We Wish You A S----y Christmas" - right!
14.) Sure, there's feedback all over the place... but it doesn't make it punk. More bar band than anything, it's still a good cover.
15.) Modern day punk. MxPx takes the punk sound and modernizes it - no punk attitude, no punk edge, no punk danger. First time I heard it I was impressed... the 34,068th time I heard it ... ho hum.
16.) Okay, back-to-back MxPx is a 10 yard penalty - automatic fourth down. Drop back and punt...
17.) "... help us work for peace on Earth in the Air Force." A good definition of irony if I ever saw it!
18.) WOW! Live... loud... angry... can't make out the lyrics! Punk served up on a bloody platter!
19.) GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! 47 seconds of the funniest, angriest Christmas punk you'll ever hear! Who are The Clap and from what CD, single, or site did this come from?
20.) Boston punkers named after the spinning wheel from "The Price Is Right". Sorta punkish. If you wanna hear this one, head over to their MySpace site where you'll hear all the carnal knowledge!
21.) The really good punk bands are all from the UK - case in point. This was a single by Peter & The Test Tube Babies... in 1999 - a full 20 years after punk's heyday! Sounds as good as anything from that period!
22.) Short song (1:08) about Santa's new ride! Good sound to this! Self-produced in 1983, this is available (along with some angry 80s punk tunes) at this sharity site. Take a listen!
23.) German punkers' version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town". Sounds more ska / new wave-ish than punk-ish, it's fun to listen to!
24.) GONG! Not punk by any stretch of the imagination. Find this one on the "Santa's Swingin' Sack" comp from Kevin & Bean.
25.) "If you're a electrical, aeronautical, or astronautical engineer..." (and who isn't?), "ask yourself if your skills will be properly rewarded in the coming year." A question for all of us to ponder, no?
26.) Not punk... but it is quite the version of "O Come All Ye Faithful". From a Christian band no less, hear this one on the "Happy Christmas V2" comp.
27.) Vicious but enjoyable cover of "Christmas Is A-Comin'". Off the fantastic 2-CD "Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus" comp from the Sympathy For The Record Industry label.
28.) Another track from the "Punk Rock Xmas" CD (see #2 above), this one's got some bite to it. Captain Sensible and The Damned are still playing together - nice to know they haven't killed each other...yet.
29.) Sounds like any ol' band playing any ol' Christmas alternative song. My tastes get skewed after hearing hardcore punk I'm afraid.
30.) Maybe the only thing from Henry Rollins that I've actually enjoyed. Curious... the song usually ends with a bomb dropping / exploding sound effect. It's missing here.
31.) Holy Hiroshima! This one must be heard to be believed... Read about it here, click here to download!
32.) The sedate sounds of the U.S. Air Force end this comp. Produced in 1983, it has the sound of a 1960s PSA to it... shocking!
Eric, I was appropriately "shocked" and "awed". Your comp had a good theme (never can have enough Christmas punk) and you executed it well. At times, there was some definite head shaking here - both good and bad.
I would be interested to hear a "warm and fuzzy" Christmas comp from you at some point. Your Christmas ear is certainly developed; would be interesting to hear what you do with the standards.
I thank you for accepting my challenge of taking the Air Force PSAs and integrating them into your Christmas comp. So far, you're the only one who has. That gets a few extra bonus points tossed your way!
UP NEXT: Christmas From St. Peter's 2006