Bah, Humbug!

The glut of holiday CDs kills the Christmas spirit

Then there's the Kenny G-spawned smooth jazz Christmas movement. (Incidentally, G is a leading member of the Jewish Christmas artist club. G, Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond have between them waxed six Christmas albums. What's next, Amy Grant's Hillbilly Hanukkah?) G's 1994 Miracles: The Holiday Album has become the Christmas record champion of all time, in both sales and lameness. "It was a phenomenon," recalls Bishop in disbelief. "We just couldn't buy enough of that thing."

G's yuletide imitators are legion. This year, Dave Koz's Smooth Jazz Christmas and a compilation by the same name featuring Jeff Lorber and Doc Powell join this litany of infamy. "It reminds me of when Peter Frampton did that double live album that was really a studio album," Bishop says. "Then everybody else had to do one. After Kenny, all the smooth jazz cats had to do a Christmas album. You can't tell me that people who are listening to that crap have an aptitude for music."

Well said.

Now, if you want your house to sound like a Van Nuys porno set during the Christmas season, that's fine. Far be it from Racket to stop you from regaling your loved ones with the marginally talented, perpetually out-of-tune Mr. G's seasonal squawkings. If any one or all of John Tesh's half-dozen Christmas CDs is what puts the nog in your egg, well, go for it. If your holly just ain't jolly without a little of that Mannheim Steamroller, be my guest. But if you're a friend of Racket's, don't invite him over, and if you're in his family, you might be disowned.

As for Racket, he'll be rocking around the old Christmas tree with Slayer's new one. It's called God Hates Us All. And for Mrs. Racket, who is English, he'll slap on the 1981 British punk compilation Bollocks to Christmas. And a Merry Christmas to you, too.

Scuttlebutt Caboose

Evidently someone out there is feeling the same sort of holiday cheer as Racket, if the following anonymous letter sent to him along with everybody in his office and several nonexistent people is any indication: "Mr. John," the poorly spelled and punctuated letter reads. "Your agreed to the amount upon, to consult my wife on her project, plus reviewing it in your paper. Instead, your'e now sleeping with her, you've caused enough trauma in our family, if you do not leave us alone will take action in you & your paper. Merry Xmax/New Year, Dick Head." I don't know who you are, or who your wife is, or what we agreed on, but Merry Xmax to you too…Xmax came early for the Pacifica dissidents, as the national board dissolved itself on December 12. The new board will be composed of five members from the current regime, five from the dissident's faction and one from each of the five stations' local advisory boards, thus ending (for now) over two years of litigation, slander, arrests, slap-fighting and generalized aggro. "There's been a lot of damage done, a loss of listeners, a loss of money," New York board member and dissident plaintiff Leslie Cagan told the San Francisco Chronicle. "This is not a victory, this is a settlement." Typical. The bastards go and settle the day Racket's story hits the streets, thus rendering it utterly obsolete… Those who, like Racket, would just as soon spend Xmax at a bar with loud music face limited options this holiday season. But Fitzgerald's will be open, with 30footFALL and Groceries gracing the stage…In one of the very few bright spots of this dismal season, musicians and would-be music biz types can network, hear good music and support a good cause Friday, December 21. Houston musicians Jerry Richard Jr. and Charles Rene have come together under the name Muse-net to organize the event. Schmoozing begins at 6 p.m. in the St. Germain Lofts' Blue Room, with a talent showcase to follow downstairs at the Flying Saucer. On the bill are Arthur Yoria, the Pander Band, Tru Sol and others. Admission is free, though donations to the Houston Musicians Benevolent Society will be accepted gratefully.

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