It's always a pleasure to be asked along to the recording of Joe's annual Christmas song that is now in its 12th year as an international recording collaboration.
We now seem to have consolidated line-up and this year Joe decided he should assemble the 'Christmas Crew' in Canada to get more of that northern hemisphere festive feeling. A problem however, was that they actually recorded the track in early October and Quebec was having an unusual Indian Summer.
Was it incident free? Of course not.
Joe and Terry shared a flight over from Perth and had huge fight mid-way when Terry casually suggested he wanted to play a bit of banjo like Mumford & Sons.
Upon arrival two full days were booked for 2 & 3 October at Suce Ma Bite Studios in Quebec City. The owner, Jean-Pierre Li, boasted about once doing demos for Nickelback and Celine Dion. Upon hearing this, the band had a quick meeting and decided that Jean-Pierre's services would not be required and that they simply wished to hire the studio without him. They offered him a 6 pack of Budwieser and Jean-Pierre happily handed over the studio keys.
Thereafter recording was relatively incident free bar the band's usual ostentatious requirements - Herb insisting on doing 16 part harmonies himself, Andy requiring 28 microphones on his amp, Lars' sea container of exotic instruments and Stefan refusing to drum until 14 barbecue chickens were delivered to the studio. WTF?
After the final mix was the traditional after-party and this is always great fun. Notably the boys have taken a particular liking to Herb's Cuban cigars... but where was Terry? Unbeknown to the others Terry bribed Jean-Pierre with 2 cans of Budweiser Light. He was allowed back in the studio and he promptly added banjo to the mix. Joe only found out when he got to Australia and he was furious.
Shenanigans aside, it's another hook and harmony laden track to warm you this Christmas. Enjoy… Herb finally gets his way; it's Costa Rica in 2014!
Mal Hope - rock music critic, formerly of Spinning Top Records.
Australian singer/multi-instrumentalist Joe Algeri has a history of releasing pop-oriented Christmas music. A few years back, he recorded “Chris Hillman Christmas” with The Britannicas, an international trio that includes himself, Swede Mangus Karlsson and American Herb Eimerman. The chiming, heavily 1960s influenced song was a combination tribute to The Byrds’ guitarist and a fun celebration of the season. In 2012, performing under the name The JAC, he put out a full-length CD of off-kilter holiday songs titled I See Things Differently.
The recently released “I Dont Want Your Christmas Presents” once again reflects Algeri’s fascination with The Byrds. The signature ringing guitars are in place, and Algeri creates some tight harmonies with Eimerman and other guests. As with most of his material—seasonal or otherwise—the lyrics are clever and a bit unconventional. “I Dont Want Your Christmas Presents,” which is followed in the song with the line, “I just want your presence,” depicts a guy who’s not sure if he and his globetrotting girlfriend will still be together on Christmas day. Using the holiday season as a backdrop for heartache goes back at least as far as “Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley, but The JAC puts his own spin on the situation. “I Don't Want Your Christmas Presents” is available as a free download on Algeri’s Bandcamp page.
The JAC is the latest incarnation of Australian legend Joe Algeri, who has been recording annual Christmas songs since the Internet was young. Sometimes Joe goes all experimental, sometimes sweet, sometimes Swedish, sometimes kitchen sink Spector, and sometimes awesome Power Pop. This year's outing, "I Don't Want Your Presents", reflects Joe's fascination with the sound of the Byrds (who could forget "Chris Hillman Christmas"?). And the result is a track you're going to want in your Christmas arsenal. Download "I Don't Want Your Presents" free at Bandcamp.
But wait. What's this? "I Don't Want Your Presents" is included on the compilation "Merry Rock Against Bullsh*t Xmas, Vol. 8". VOLUME EIGHT? How have I missed that all these years? Dang! Well, Volume 7's still up and here's a link to Volume 8. I guess we'll just have to ask Santa for the rest.
released December 1, 2013
Featured on Vol. 8 of "Merry Rock against Bullshit Christmas" compiled by Maria Sokratis.
JOE ALGERI - lead vocals, guitar, tambourine (Australia)
HERB EIMERMAN - bass, vocals (USA)
LARS BRUSELL - sitar, zither, melodica, backwards guitar, glockenspiel (Sweden)
ANDY J. PRINKKILÄ - guitars (Finland)
STEFAN JOHANSSON - drums (Sweden)
TERRY MUNSLOW-DAVIES - Hammond, sleigh bells, banjo (Australia)
Written and produced by Joe Algeri