It’s again that time of year where thoughts of suicide, I mean sugarplums, dance in one’s head. I usually publish an account of a poignant or memorable family holiday event. This year is no different.
I started playing the guitar when I was in middle school and was teased relentlessly by my brothers about it. My brother, let’s call him Thurston, was the meanest pertaining to my initial year of learning the axe. The first song I learned was Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Thurston promptly added to the lyrics, “Eric can’t play the damn guitar.” Dick. He would soon regret those words.
Fast forward a few years, I would enlist a couple of my brothers in recording sessions as singing talent. I use the word “talent” very loosely. Thurston was my go-to front man. He’d belt out classics, like Winger’s Madalaine, like he was channeling old Kip himself. Like many up-and-coming rock stars, we were forced by the record label to put out Christmas songs. We covered the classics like Peanuts’ Christmastime Is Here. We mainly focused on mangling the lyrics to fit our needs. Every Christmas Eve we’d debut a couple at my sister’s holiday bash.
About a week before Christmas, Thurston and I would start brainstorming ideas. We would usually tailor the lyrics according to what horrible or funny shit happened to us during the year. The lyrics were usually hilarious. No matter what, the guitar track would be speed metal accompanying Thurston’s vocals. Speaking of Thurston’s vocals, I can only describe them as Frank Sinatra swallowing broken glass. After recording, we’d pack the master tape-yes, this was the cassette era-in its case and wait for the 24th before giving anyone a preview.
At my sister’s, let’s call her Lori, Christmas Eve was the event of the holiday. When everyone was considerably drunk we’d unveil our masterpieces. We mostly hid in another room while everyone listened. After the roars of laughter subsided, we came back in like the bitchin’ stars that we were. Fuck yeah!
Sadly, these recordings have all been lost. I know, you wanted to buy them on iTunes. It’s probably for the best. Why live in the past? So, Happy Birthday Thurston and Merry Christmas.