Heavy Early’s Alternative Christmas Top 20 (Pt.1, Nos. 20-11)
Hello semi-rock fans, Heavy Early here. In case you don’t know who I am, I’m the bitter, twisted and frequently drunk (former) classic rock DJ at KRONK-FM, broadcasting out of Hanksville, Utah. I also write the very occasional column for AOR magazine…
Anyways, welcome to this joyous, nog-sloshing celebration of limp guitars and jolly old elves. I’m grateful for the opportunity to unveil my Alternative Christmas Top 20 as I have recently been reduced to hosting grocery store openings in the greater Tuscaloosa area. Those were dark days, friends. They paid me mostly in cornflakes, and I had to announce sales in between songs. For a little extra dough I tried deejaying at a breakfast-themed stripclub called Morning Wood, but it turns out Night Ranger makes strippers cry, so they dumped me.
I thought about melting my records into potato chip bowls and selling them on the side of the road as Americana, but out of nowhere, my old boss at KRONK, Hanksville, Utah’s 14th favourite classic rock station, called me and asked me to fill in on Christmas Eve, because every other DJ he knows, it turns out, “has a life”. I know every other DJ he knows and that’s just not true, but what the hell.
You know, I have a good feeling about this. If I nail the Xmas Eve broadcast, there’s a remote chance I might actually get my morning gig back. That would be nice. They don’t want me hanging around the park anymore, so I really need someplace to from 6 to 10am every day. Anyway, I think it’s going to be a great broadcast, full of warm cockles and cracking nuts, and just in case you can’t make it out here to tune in yourself, I thought I’d offer you a look at Heavy Early’s Christmas Top 20 playlist.
Feel free to recreate it yourself at home. Gallons of corn syrup and the buckets of flopsweat are optional, but they will definitely add to the authenticity of my programme.
20. John Cale – Child’s Christmas In Wales
I have no idea where Wales is, but it sounds even worse than here. Of course, kids are supposed to be nestled in their slumber before Santa shows up, and if there’s one thing that’ll put anybody to sleep, it’s John Cale. Crank this for little ones and they’ll probably snooze until New Year’s.
19. Air Supply – The Eyes Of A Child
If I have to work on Xmas, you should have to suffer for it. As if Air Supply weren’t creepy enough, right? Just what are you freaks going to do with those eyes, put them in jars?
18. Survivor – Christmas Is Here
That’s what they say whenever some bank or condom company uses Eye Of The Tiger in a TV ad.
17. Twisted Sister – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Continuing the Xmas-is-evil theme, just imagine Dee Snider in his Santa hat, wearing a granny dress, age 50, legs shaved but bumpy and blood-crusted, jamming his tongue down your mom’s throat. How’s that for a Christmas present, little Tommy?
16. Styx – All I Want for Christmas
All I want for Christmas is for Styx to get back with Dennis DeYoung. C’mon, guys – you know you want to…
15. Mott The Hoople – Death May Be Your Santa Claus
I’m not sure if this song is about Christmas or about death, or maybe about getting killed by Santa on Christmas, but all I know is that Ian Hunter and I shared a cell one night in Detroit in ’72 after a gig gone bad, and he’s a swell guy. Knows kung fu, saw some UFOs once. Come to think of it, that might have been Marc Bolan, but T.Rex is too cool for this stupid radio station.
14. Bon Jovi – I Wish Every Day Could Be Like Christmas
Me too. There’s no boss around on Christmas, you can pretty much stay drunk for the whole shift.
13. Helix – Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
I’m not entirely sure Canadians even have Christmas. I know they have something with boxes around Christmas time. Seriously, a day that celebrates boxes. Empty ones, boxes with stuff in them, probably tape and scissors, who the hell knows what they’re doing? Anyway, another thing I’m not sure they have is heavy metal. I think Helix is as close as they come. After all, this is from a record called Heavy Mental Christmas. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer is already the worst song in the world, so why not turn it into phony Canadian heavy metal? You can’t make it any worse, right? I’m kidding, this makes it much worse. Enjoy your boxes, Canada.
12. .38 Special – A Wild-Eyed Christmas Night
For some people, Christmas is about family, friends, and gift-giving. For others, Christmas is about having a day off to get drunk and shoot at wild turkeys until you pass out in the cornfield. I call these people “half of my audience”. This song is for them.
11. REO Speedwagon – Silent Night
Sure, baby Jesus, you could have a silent night. Or, you could have a night that rattles the roof of the manger with early-80s stadium schlock! Don’t be a wimp, Jesus.
Words: Ken McIntyre
Illustration: John Langton
Come back tomorrow, Christmas Day, for the second and final part of Heavy Early’s Alternative Christmas Top 20!