The Old Dog and New Tricks: Let's Try Some Holiday Songs

A year ago, we played back-to-back shows in December.  At the first, we stuck to our schtick.  But the Pyronauts showed their flexibility and treated the Beach Hut audience to their arrangements of a few holiday songs -- surf style.  They gave a surf beat and selective double picking to some traditional favorites.  That got everybody into the holiday spirit!

The second of the back-to-back shows was on the upstairs stage in the Downtown Mall.  I sat out while Bob Bitchin’ of the Pyronauts joined us as a “special guest” on stage.  The then Pups -- sans me -- played some holiday songs.  Once again, the songs were surf style.  Glenn’s drumming was totally impromptu as he had not rehearsed the songs.  In fact, he did not know what song would be played until Paul the Pyronaut told him. 

“Okay, ‘Joy to the World.’  Use a surf beat and fills.  You start.”  Glenn did, and they had the audience instantly interested.  And into the holiday spirit.

Sitting on my amp and watching the audience, I thought, “Just how cool is this?  Will I ever be able to pull off something like it?"

We have an opportunity to find out this year.

Of course, that means figuring out some holiday songs to string together which, one, will not overload my memory bank and, two, minimize the risk of exposing my talent deficits.  Simple is good.  Repetitive plus simple is even better.  Repetitive plus really simple is best. 

That works for us.  We make no pretense of making sophisticated music.  We are about fun.  The audience can fill in the blanks in any recognizable song and have fun too.

Given those criteria and after going through a bunch of songbooks, I presented some possibilities to the band at a recent rehearsal.  How about?  No, that song really sucks.  Or?  That needs to be sung.  Finally, we semi-agreed on three songs.

“Let’s give them a go.”  I hesitated, “But I haven’t played them.”  The response was unanimous, “Just read the music.” I gave in, “Okay.  I’ll try but I can’t remember the last time I even pretended to sight read.”  A couple of times through and we had a structure.  Robert, Glenn, and Sue played right along, and I attempted to keep up.

“We’ll try this again next week after I memorize these puppies.”  Time to return to the mantra which guides my musical endeavors.  Keep it simple.  Keep it simple.

If you do not try something new, you never will progress.  Besides what is a holiday show without holiday songs?

Leave a comment

Add comment