Slam A Stack of Holiday Cheer with the Yule Logs!

Posted by Kells, December 9, 2011 02:30pm | Post a Comment

It's the most wonderful time of the year! 'Tis the season for the
Yule Log's holiday tour-a-thon which also means that the 7th annual anything-goes seasonal revue "Christmas is the BEST!" - going down this Sunday, December 11 at Amnesia SF with hosts Uni & her Ukelele and Dr. Trucker, with the Yule Logs headlining the gig. I borrowed a Log or two for a fleeting yet intriguing interview - do read on, below:

So, three albums of supercharged holiday classics and bangin' original seasonal material in three years - fuck yeah! How do you guys do it? I'm beginning to suspect you guys contract elves in the arctic circle to assist in your bringing Christmas to the kids on time each year. 

Yule Logs: It takes a steady drug regiment. It may have been noted once before, but the "snow juice" we use to fuel our snow machine is actually a highly toxic off-brand of moonshine and ammonia, which we huff with vigorously through a Polish flag before each show.  
What's the story behind your new no-holds-barred holiday hit "WrestleMania Christmas"? Does it have anything to with this video?

YL: Believe it or not the song is based on a true story. When I was six years old I desperately wanted WrestleMania for Nintendo, as I was obsessed with the WWF. Christmas day at my Gram's house I began snooping under the tree till I found what I was certain was a video game, and tore part of the wrapping to be sure. Indeed it was WrestleMania. But then I had something of a freak-out, and decided that instead of being caught red-handed, I would take the present out to the backyard and bury it in the dirt. Later that evening as our entire family was opening presents, my Gram confusedly said something to the effect of, "Jacob, I think you're missing a present." I tried to play it off, ran out back and unearthed WrestleMania. I then brought it back inside and promptly began to weep like the child that I was. 

While we're on the subject of Wrestlemania I have to know: who are your all-time favorite wrestelers? Or: which WWF superstar best/most embodies Christmas spirit? (I vote Ravishing Rick Rude, but that's just me - I have a veritable laundry list of personal reasons. Randy Savage is a close runner up).
Wow. That's a tough question. My all-time favorite wrestlers were Rowdy Roddy Piper and Razor Ramon, neither of whom embody the Christmas spirit, though Piper's kilt was pretty festive. If I had to pick a WWF X'mas Ambassador I'd probably go with Hacksaw Jim Duggan, simply because he had his 2x4 on the pulse of America, only in a ham-fisted, barbaric sort of way, which pretty much sums up Christmas as we know it. 
Another standout jam from You Ruined Christmas is your full-on Hanukkah rocker "Rock of Ages" - how is it that you guys keep slam-dunking hit after hit (nothin' but net) honoring the Festival of Lights?

The credit for "Rock Of Ages" (and all our Hanukkah jams) goes to Spencer. He's got a knack for being able to write pop-rock songs that embody different genres entirely. My brother actually told me that "Rock Of Ages" reminds him of Reggie and The Full Effect, which I get, and only goes to show how versatile Spencer, who considers himself something of a Who man, can be.  
The song "Wish List" bemoans Santa "not getting the facts straight" about those unasked-for gifts, like underwear, that inevitably appear beneath the tree each year - I'm wondering what's on the Yule Logs' Christmas list this year?

Kirt penned "Wish List," and I'm going to guess that he's asking once again for those elusive slap bass lessons. Or perhaps a signed photo of Selena Gomez. I know for a fact that Marty wants the entire Vertical Horizon catalogue on cassette, and Spencer wants to somehow acquire the means to turn his 12-passenger van into a traveling fruit cart. Me? I want to go on a date with Ryan Gosling
Are there some memorable fan-made gifts you guys have received over the years?

Well, we have some very special granny panties tacked up on the wall of our practice space. The only thing is that they didn't actually come from anyone's granny. And I'm not so sure if it's technically a gift, but a man once gave us a three-ring binder filled with a plot to get us on Leno. It's replete with diagrams and skits and heartfelt zeal. I'm not kidding.

I love the jaunty, classic vibe and harmonies on your version of "Here Comes Santa Claus" - one question: can you explain why it begins, like Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf," with a coughing fit (or is that just the organ warming up)?
People don't realize that Old Saint Nick actually has a lot in common with Tony Clifton, who also has a lot in common with Spencer. In fact, Spencer is Tony Clifton. A lot of people think that was Andy Kaufman, but a lot of people also listen to Linkin Park
Thinking of Sabbath has got me pondering what the Yule Logs' heaviest number is, maybe your frontier outlaw rendering "We Three Kings" from your 2009 self-titled debut takes the title though other songs like "First Christmas For Baby Jesus" definitely pack a more subtle, weighty punch. What do you think your heaviest song is? Do you find the songs carry a different weight playing them live?
Well, our darkest song is definitely "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" off Walked With A Reindeer. We did our absolute best to make it sound like a Nick Cave track, and I personally think we did a pretty decent job. As far as the songs carrying a different weight live, I think that would be up to the listener. I think we're certainly louder than most folks might expect us to be.
Dig that crazy Sam the Sham-esque hip-shaker "Athiest Serf Holiday," baby! Was this song born out of frustration concerning the holidays or what?
That song was born out of Spencer wanting to write something a little more reckless than our standard fare. We don't get to play it at every show, as it doesn't suit particular audiences. But there's no real seriousness to it; we're silly, and it gave us a great chance to incorporate anal probing into the holiday season. By the way...did you know that anal probes make great stocking stuffers?
Listening to "Bad Boy Christmas" makes me wonder who the bad boy of the band is, you know, which one of you lumps of coal have been holding out for a scolding this Christmas?

Actually we're all shameless drug fiends with powerful appetites for lust and greed. We often take turns flogging one another for no reason than to feel the joy of another man's pain. But the real bad boy? That would have to be Marty, who often pees on Spencer's beard while he's asleep. Does it matter that Spencer often sleeps on the street in a white garbage bag? Kirt doesn't think so, and neither do I. 
And "Latke Man," man, it's apparent you guys own clearly honed night moves! Is just any latke doable i.e are freezer isle latke enough to satiate your workaday latke man?
No. Only Uncle Fred's latkes will do; an exotic taste that requires you travel to the faraway isle of Alameda, California. 
Looking forward to your live show this season: any new additions to your stage set-up?
I wouldn't note any key additions to the actual setup, though the performance itself includes new wonders of savagery. For one, we've escalated the tradition of lighting Spencer's beard on fire to dousing him with gasoline and setting his entire body aflame. There's also a key moment during "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" when I leap out from behind the drums and shiv Marty in the spleen. Oh, and Kirt deep throats his headstock during every encore. It really is something to behold. 
I love that the Yule Logs play holiday programming on their TV/VCR combo during the show: any new additions to the rotation? Are there any particular highly sought-after holiday VHS tapes you're after? (Santa might be reading this)

Unfortunately we've lost two TV/VCR combos to old age in the last year. Our friend Ernie loaned us his beater after our standby bit the dust, but that old hag of a machine has done nothing but eat precious tapes. We've had a mind to hurl it at approaching cyclists on the highway, but have thus far resisted the temptation. 

I received an inquiry from a fan and frequent reader especially for the Yule Logs, she writes: what do you do with your sweaty towels after the show?

We use them for tickle-snap towel fights and then donate them to the Jesus Center

And now for another round of holiday quick-takes:

Rum balls or whiskey cakes?

Bourbon balls, actually. We just had some at a party last Sunday. 
Spruce or fir?
Fir is boss.
Frankincense or myrrh?

Neither. They're both shitty gifts.
Figgy pudding or Ziggy Stardust?

Ziggy. Marty even celebrates Hours..., which charted at no. 4 in Norway 13 years ago. 

 or Forever Lazy?

Forever Lazy is far more fashionable. Snuggies make people look like disheveled wizards. 

Shake-Weight or Shake-Weight commercial DVD?

Commercial DVD. I tried a shake-weight at a yard sale once, and it wasn't even mildly humorous. 

Chevy Chase or Bill Murray?

While I love old Chevy Chase, Bill Murray's staying power is beyond compare. 

Santa's sleigh or Santa's beard?

Beard. Santa is nothing without it. 

Nutcracker or Nativity Play?

Nativity set. They're timeless, even for heathens like me. 
Velvet stockings or thigh-high Uggs?
Velvet. The Costanza way.

Ugly Christmas sweater or Santa-suit underoos?

Everybody goes with "ugly" Christmas sweaters these days, so why not Santa underoos?

A winter wonderland or Christmas in Hawaii?

Winter wonderland. I wish to God it snowed in Chico.

At least you'll make it snow indoors again this year at "Christmas is the BEST!" I know I can't wait!

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Christmas (68), Holiday (8), Music (15), Chico (2), Yule Logs (3), Uni & Her Ukelele (4)