For those all there who prefer a not-so-silent night, The Myrrhderers are with a kick to the mistletoe, and they tell HL about their amped-up debut holiday record, ‘Sleigh Christmas.’
Though stores have been putting out Santas and playing Christmas music long before Halloween was over, today – November 27, aka “the day after Thanksgiving” – officially kicks off the Winter holiday season. It’s normally a time of “peace on earth,” but after all that’s gone down this year, the old Christmas classics aren’t going to cut it. Enter The Myrrhderers, coming all the way from the North Pole to down your chimney – or through your living room window – with their debut, The Myrrhderers Sleigh Christmas.
The Myrrhderers (pronounced “The Murderers”) are a trio of stalwarts from the North Pole unground music scene – Al Frankincense, Bill Myrrhey, and Elliott Gold – and they’ve just delivered a package full of red-and-green punk rock. Over the 12:33 minutes of Sleigh Christmas, this supergroup transform some holiday classics — like “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “Deck The Halls,” and their debut single, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” – into exhilarating explosions of yuletide joy. It’s the perfect soundtrack for that skate video you’ll make after you unwrap that Flip skateboard deck for Christmas (or Hannukah.)
For those worried about the fate of their favorite Christmas tune, you can sleep easily while sugarplums dance in your head. Though The Myrrhderers bring the energy on Sleigh Christmas, their love of these songs is sincere, and thus, the tracks leans more “Nice” than “Naughty.” While the vocals on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” harken back to early ‘90s hardcore (think Poison Idea’s “Plastic Bomb,” or the Angry Snowmans’ version), The Myrrhderers Sleigh Christmas should be on ever kid’s Christmas (play)list this year.
If that wasn’t good enough, the band will drop their second release, The Myrrhderers Sleigh Some More, on December 11. Elliot Gold of the band talked EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife over email (calls to the North Pole were still expensive, and things were a bit too busy this time of year to Zoom) about the new project, their upcoming follow-up, and the one song that The Myrrhderers won’t cover.
HollywoodLife: How did The Myrrhderers come about? AKA what is the band’s official origin story?
Elliot Gold: We’re all friends from the North Pole punk and metal scene. I (Elliott Gold) play in Prancid, Al Frankincense plays in Dead Kringles and Bill Myrrhrey plays in Sleigher. For the last decade or so we’ve been getting together every year doing punk and hardcore carol singalongs. We figured it’s time to actually record our versions of the songs.
Your first release, The Myrrhderers Sleigh Christmas, arrived on Nov. 20. You then follow it with The Myrrhderers Sleigh Christmas on Dec. 11. Why did you do two releases instead of one? Is it a case of “more is better?”
I once heard a legendary sitcom star say he doesn’t make movies because he thinks comedy works better in 22-minute chunks. I think that’s true. Most comedy movies are funny for about a half-hour and after that, it’s hard to keep laughing so long. We’re not a comedy band, but I think we work on some of the same principles. We try to defy expectations and surprise people, which hopefully makes them smile, or even laugh. But that works best in spurts of 5 or 6 songs. Parsing it out lets people take it in more easily digestible bites.
Is there a Christmas/holiday song that you’ll never cover? Some think that no one can do “All I Want For Christmas Is You” better than Mariah Carey. Or is everything fair game?
Oh, it never has to be better – it just has to be unique and true to the artist covering it. I think My Chemical Romance did a great job making that song their own. The main question is, can you put a new twist on a song that no one else has thought of – something that makes the listener see the song from a new angle.
One song does come to mind for us though. We tried, but couldn’t think of a new twist to put on “Silent Night” because the Dickies already nailed a punk version in 1978. They put such a great twist on it, that we couldn’t think of anything to add. But never say never – we’re still trying to think of something.
There’s a long history of punk holiday music – from the Bollocks To Christmas to the Ramones “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)” to The Vandals’ Oi To The World to bands like the Angry Snowmans and Missile Toads. Why do you think punk rock Christmas music works so well?
Yeah, it is a bit surprising that it works. I think, for one, a lot of Christmas songs are just really well-constructed silly songs – and that definitely gels with punk. But yeah, the fact that the religious songs also work (some of the time) is really interesting. One thing that’s great about these songs is that they’re super imagery-heavy, and often tell a story, and focus less on dogma. And I guess they do also have some themes that work well with punk. The theme of poverty comes to mind.
Do you have a favorite non-punk Christmas song?
I’ve always loved Andy Williams’ version of “Do You Hear What I Hear.” The background vocals are so tender and haunting.
What do The Myrrhderers want their Secret Santa(s) to get them this year?
All we want for Christmas is the ability to stuff ourselves in a club with a bunch of people and sing these songs together. Hopefully, by next year, we’ll be able to do that again.