An expanded Music Column this week, just for a bit of holiday cheer.
I messaged two dozen Savannah musicians thusly: “Well, Christmas is right around the corner. We all want unity and we all want world peace. But hey, as George Harrison said, we’re living in the material world, so for the sake of a story I’m writing: What do you want for Christmas? Make it real, make it true, make it funny, cerebral or whatever you desire. Try to be descriptive. It will (pretty much) go into the story the way you write it. If you happen to be Jewish, go in that direction. Love ya and Happy Holidays.” Here are the responses we received, some slightly edited.
Leslie Adele (A Nickel Bag of Funk): That is a loaded question that should come with a modicum of altruistic human responsibility when answered. Screw that! I'm an artist, let's see if I can make it about me. May be difficult, but I'll soldier through it. If I had to make a Christmas list, first I'd have to break it up into categories. Things that could happen, sh*! that'll never happen but doesn't hurt to ask, maybe if under the right circumstances, and aces in the hole. I want the album recording finished on time and under budget. My maybe-if gift would be a new motorcycle. An acquaintance totaled my old one 4 years ago, and I've been aching to get another one ever since. My ace in the hole is a new Yamaha Motif XF8. Oh, that is happening. Even if I have to sleigh jack Santa and drive him to Portman's myself. Lastly, my number one Christmas wish is to sit in front of the fireplace at my mom's and play Scrabble with my her and my aunts. When we get together it is a knock down, drag out, trash talking, decapitated heads on spears, Game of Thrones style battle for Scrabble supremacy. It's real and it's deep. It only happens every few Christmas dinners and it would make my year if that could happen.
Eddie Wilson: I don't want to sound overly dramatic, but all I want for Christmas is kids. Christy and I have a very expensive surgery scheduled for January (ICSI in vitro fertilization), and it's all I can think about. This is way beyond the means of a musician, but it's now or never, so we are selling our grand piano and as many Christmas CDs as we can, and we will have to borrow the rest.
Eric Culberson: I want Ruel Joyner as Mayor for Hanukkah; then my other seven gifts could be a ‘59 Cherry Sunburst Les Paul.
Johan Harvey (the Royal Noise): It's hard enough that our spouses and families usually have to settle with gift cards to Sam Ash, because they couldn't ever know or understand which strings/pedals/reeds/heads/sticks/amps/cables/stands we feel most accurately represent the fabric of our noisy souls. My wife always looks at some new effect pedal I just dropped a gig's pay for, and wonders why I just bought yet another tool to make my guitar sound more like a guitar ... So this year, I would only ask for ... A creative day. A day so turbulent it shakes my paradigms, yet so calm that I can reflect on what I learned from the experience and express it truthfully. A day centered around my instrument, surrounded by others who share my passion.
Donald Moats (Whaleboat, Habitat Noise): I want a great fun year for Whaleboat ... and all the Savannah area bands, in 2013.
Athon (Black Tusk): As the old song goes, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth." I really would like my two front teeth back. I knocked them and some others out in third grade on a tile floor, and it has been a bit weird ever since. If I have to deal with these fakies forever they can at least be gold. Oh, and a new tour van that doesn't like to randomly catch fire!
Georgia Kyle Shiver: I want an elephant. Maybe two elephants. Elephants are extremely cool, just ask Eric Culberson. Why can I not have an elephant in Savannah? My yard is bigger than a box car, and many elephants live and travel all around in a box car, so my yard would be better for the elephant. Also, I am convinced that I could make a fortune offering elephant rides on Broughton Street, maybe even give tours of the historic district. If you think about it, this isn't as outlandish as the idea of flying 3,000 miles from Atlanta to California in four hours.
Kedrick Mack (aka Knife): I'm not very good at asking for anything except if I can bum a cigarette ... but I guess I want peace on Earth. That's not too much to ask.
Brent Collins (Whaleboat): Well, being that I am a musician and a gear nerd I'm always in need of new music gear. But I'm also a tech geek as well (Apple) so anything that will help in the process to create great music. Oh, and throw in world peace while we are at it. Merry Christmas.
Jefferson Ross: All through the year I find myself perusing guitar store websites and lusting after those shiny, new handmade instruments that cost somewhere in the mid-four figures. However, when I do get to one of those stores in person to play them I find them all too ... well, shiny. I'm afraid that breathing on them will leave some unsightly gash or scratch. I have come to the conclusion that I'm an old guitar sort of man. My dream Christmas gift would be a double or triple O Martin from the ‘30s, ‘40s or ‘50s. One that won't mind if a 6-year-old spills a little Kool-Aid on it.
Miggs (Word of Mouth): For Xmas, I would like a new Porsche. The last one I had broke down and was make-believe. I also want Turkish Delight.
Jonathan Murphy (Jon Lee & the Canebrakes, Burning Mansions, Jon Lee's Apparitions): I would like some new recording equip, a lifetime supply of strings & cables, and for Sav's music/club scene to continue to grow in diversity. A Rickenbacker 450 would be cool too.
Nicole Edge (Free Candy, Wave Slaves): Dear Santa: This year, for Christmas, I really would like a new toy. I want it to be my favorite color, hot pink, and preferably sparkly. I'd like it to have a rather large battery, and the ability to turn me on whenever I turn it on. I would really like it to be adequately long and hard, yet handle gently. It needs to be strong and durable as well, since I plan to take it on many wild rides, day and night. I know I will need to provide it with lubrication at times, but I'm completely prepared to do it. I'd like it to perform well at any speed, since some days I like to take it slow and calm, and others fast and rough. I'm sure you've figured it out by now. All I want for Christmas is a 1957 Thunderbird, you know, the one with the removable hard top and that cute little porthole window?
Lloyd Harold (aka KidSyc): I always have trouble with this question because I never really want "stuff." Musically speaking, I'd like to go on tour. KidSyc@Brandyine is coming up on our third year of making music together. I'd like to hit the road and add that chapter to our story. That would be a good gift. Stuff-wise, it would be nice to have six red Atlanta hats (for every two months) and a gift certificate to Planet Fun.
Matt Eckstine (The Accomplices): Santa, I have been a good boy this year, and all I want for Christmas is the last box of Twinkies! I understand they're no longer available, so maybe the elves can make me an affordable health insurance plan! P.S. the milk I left for you may have spoiled ... I'm in Nashville for Christmas this year!
Stuart Harmening (Train Wrecks): I want to play more guitar and write more songs and rock more faces. Also I would not reject several million dollars.
Todd Murray (aka Sincerely, Iris): Any and all things Led Zeppelin! When I was in middle school I had a girlfriend whose father had every Led Zep album. I borrowed them all and fell in love ... with the band, not so much with his daughter. So when we broke up I had to give all of those albums back. There's been an empty space that I've been trying to fill ever since. I need Physical Graffiti back in my life!
George Moser (Bay Street Theatre band): My first thoughts shot right to all the gear I would love to have. Because, you can never have too much gear. Unless, of course, you are my wife, who thinks the eight guitars, two basses, mandolin, ukulele, pedals and stompboxes, home recording gear, microphones, enough cabling to DI the Mars Lander etc. are more than sufficient for this lifetime. She's such a Philistine. But with all that gear I would need a bigger house and really, who wants the extra expense and maintenance? So eventually, I came around to this ... I would really like a venue. Not just a place to play, mind you. I want to OWN the damn thing and be the sole arbiter of what goes on-stage there. An intimate, state of the art, knock your damn socks off kind of place. Plus it would be a really good place to hide gear from my wife. Happy Holidays.
P.M. Goerner (Blackrune, Magic Places): It's not likely to happen, but this season I'd really like to find a nice vintage pedal steel, preferably from an old junk store or a neighborhood music shop full of bristly know-it-alls. I've spent some time reconnecting with my musical roots recently and there's something about the steel that digs all the way down to the heart of Southern mythology. It really speaks the wordless beauty of the pastoral spirit, and that's where my musical mind has been settling.
Steve Baumgardner (aka Basik Lee): It took me a minute to realize but it finally hit me that I don't want anything for Christmas. I'm already getting everything I want. This year my Mom is coming to spend Christmas here in Savannah with me! I don't get to see her too often so it's really special when I do. This will be her first time spending Christmas in the Savannah! I told her "it's a lot warmer here than New Jersey right now!" That pretty much convinced her to come down, and she liked the idea of a change of scenery. This has been an incredible year! Life's good.
Cusses (collectively): What Cusses wants for the Holla day? Angel, Brian and Bryan all sitting on Santa's lap.
Santa Claus: How about a nice football?
Bryan: What's a football?
Santa Claus: Okay, get them out of here.
Brian: A football?
Angel : Oh no...?
Brian, Angel and Bryan are shoved down the slide, but they stop and climb back up.
Bryan: No! No! I want an Official Red Ryder
Angel: Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!
Santa Claus: You'll shoot your eye out, kids.
Angel, Bryan, Brian: Okay, cough up a 600 + venue in Savannah then !!!
Keith Kozel: As a material gift for myself I would love as many vinyl records as I can get. Or an electro harmonix micro-synth pedal for guitar. For Savannah, I would hope for more unity and prosperity without sacrificing beauty or culture. For the world, well, I wish the same thing that dreamers have wished for centuries, that the spirit of peace, goodness, charity, and brotherhood which is expressed during the holiday season would become the norm of world culture all year round.
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