WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES AGAIN 15 APRIL 2019WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES AGAIN 15 APRIL 2019
When I was a kid I voraciously tore through biographies of the Beatles instead of text books. Even then I had little faith in being educated by people whom I thought were stupid. That's a Bootstrap Theory type of thing caused by reading too many damn John Lennon interviews. Humility would hit hard later.
One thing both Lennon and Paul McCartney would talk about was that, being songwriters, they wanted to write songs for occasions that had a chance to become standards. That's why they wrote their Christmas songs, "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" for John and "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time" for Paul. Both of them songs cut to the essence of them fellas for real. You wonder what each might have added to the other's but that's a recipe for a lifetime of WTF.
In College Park I was writing a rock opera with my buddy Joel Baily. We were in a band called Love and Hate. We changed our name to Forgotten Sons when that crap hair band Love/Hate started getting played on MTV. Joel and I wrote together all the time. We made a point of it. We wanted to be rock stars. As far as we were concerned we already WERE rock stars so we wrote us a song for the occasion of the winter solstice.
Dig - this is pretty much the song we wrote. It stuck with me all these years. If a song sticks with me for decades I eventually record it, or try to anyway. This was around the time of "Do They Know It's Christmas" - all that pre-internet troglodytal ignorance of the cultures that aren't derived from the Anglo-Saxons. I honestly didn't know that the entire world wasn't celebrating Santa and Jesus on December 25th. Holy fucking shit how the fuck did we exist? I think a big deal was when the Cold War ended and then China started reengaging with the world. Collectively the human race began remembering that there were other parts of the globe besides where one is born, lives, and dies. Around the time of the 9/11 terror attacks (which happens to be my fucking birthday) I added the stuff about"embrace all of the faiths that would love to kill me." You know, channelling my inner peacenik. You can add American Christians to that list as well. In general that's a spiteful and mean segment of my beloved Americans. That sentence right there hints at my own unrealized bigotry. It's a constant battle.
Chances are you've already heard this song. I release it every year in December on whatever social media site is available. I'm very proud of it.
Recording wise we did the sleigh bells and the tuned water glasses but my favorite part is at the end when the acoustic guitar doubles the mandolin riff. These things happen during recording. The way I have always operated, or tried to, is that you roll the tape and see what happens during overdubs. That's the funnest part - the spontaneity.
I was anxious to hear how Paul melded together the everything plus the kitchen sink approach I enjoy during recording and fuck if he didn't impress the living shit out of me with this mix. That's something I learned from Brian - trust the guy mixing. HE'S the one spending all the time sorting through vague ideas and sculpting a whole.
So I hope you like this one. The arbitrariness of the release is maybe my favorite thing about this song at present.
Quickly - I purposely avoided any talk of the origins of what for all intents and purposes is an ancient celebration based on the movements of the stars. "Ancient" means, judging by the latest discoveries in anthropology, 100,000-200,000 years old. That deficiency of knowledge outside of one's own lineage is the sticking point that unscrupulous leaders use to aquire and sustain power. It's a useful tool. I have grown profoundly dissappointed in the reaction of the free peoples of the Earth to the vast networks of interwebs. I had mostly assumed that people were generally thoughtful and reasonable where as, if this past decade is taken as a sample of the reaction of civilization to new technologies that are inherently complicated to understand and yet superlatively easy to use, most people are easily swayed and governed by predjudice and place. I'm still astounded that the great experiment of the fouding fathers has survived this long because, clearly, as I sit here on 16 April 2019, the idea is better than the species to which it was gifted in hopes of a better world.
Have a great Christmas this spring!