Alright already! Fine. I said it’s fucking fine! F-I-N-E. Okay!? You want a fucking Christmas album, here’s a fucking Christmas album that doesn’t suck monkey dick.
If you know John Zorn for his other works, then this album cover should creep you the fuck out. Zorn is the god of music made outside the box. His music can make children scream, audiences blush, or make jazz players unexpectedly and erotically plump. Some of his music sounds eerily similar to childbirth, noise, or random and erratic screaming accompanied by some sharp saxophone squeaks and some poor goat bleating. You can guarantee that Zorn, most of the time, will push your fucking limits. He’s a legend for it. That’s why this album cover is creepy: what’s the weirdest thing a known musical weirdo can do? Play it straight, play it perfectly, and play it better than anyone else has, can, or ever will.
Because if you’re going to do it, do it fucking right.
Zorn does what the best in the game always do: play with the greatest musicians in the game. Whom does he get to play the chimes, glockenspiel, and the vibes? Only the legendary Kenny fucking Wollesen! Motherfucker has recorded, and toured, with Norah Jones, Ron Sexsmith, Bill Frisell, Myra Melford, and Tom fucking Waits. So, ya, the guy is pretty fucking good. Actually? He passed “pretty fucking good” on the highway three days ago. So, now he’s way beyond pretty fucking good. The keyboardist on this shit is Jamie Saft (Iggy Pop, Dave Douglas, Bad Brain, Donovan, Merzbow, B-52s, and Wadada Leo Smith). If you know all the names in those brackets, good for fucking you because you’re a true audiophiliac. Then you’ve got the strange and talented Joey Baron on drums. Motherfucker can play absolutely anything and has worked with jazz legends like: Fred Hersch, Jim Hall, Dave Douglas, Gary Peacock, John Scofield, Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano (not to mention talents like Laurie Anderson and this mostly unknown eclectic dude named David Bowie [I hope I’m spelling that right]). Cyro Baptista is a percussionist in the same way Theodora loved to fuck (If you don’t know the-empress-from-a-brothel, check her out, it’s a solid read. But, to summarize, Theodora really loved to fuck). Then there is Marc Ribot who is one of my top three favourite guitarists. I would begin to wax poetic about him but I’m afraid that, if I do, I won’t ever stop and will inevitably be put into a strait jacket as I continue to mumble and drool out Marc Ribot facts. So, to put it mildly, he plays guitar well.
Now, who do you get to sing on top of this? Who is someone that is equally talented to and as bizarre as the rest of these motherfuckers? There are only a few names in the world that could fit that mould and Mike Patton is one of them. You might know his work from the movie I am Legend starring Will Smith. No, he didn’t do the soundtrack. No, he’s not an actor. Mike Patton provided all the growls, grunts, squeals, snarls, whines, and rasps for the monsters in that movie. And he did it out of his own fucking throat. He’s best known as the lead singer of the band Faith No More. Dude has one of the most versatile voices in the world and he can sing in 6 fucking octaves (Eb1 to E7) which is a range from earth shattering bass drones that can sink submarines to Mariah Carey sucking helium. He’s un-fucking-believable.
Now that’s we’ve amassed this crew of insane and bizarre musicians, what does the music sound like? Well? It’s perfect Christmas music that the whole family can enjoy. Really. I’m not fucking with you. Your grandma could listen to this. It’s a warm and perfectly played Christmas album. Not a single player oversteps their bounds. The tone of Marc Ribot’s surfer guitar is smoother than the sounds of the fucking ocean. Somehow this album, despite it being made up of Christmas tunes, fills me with warmth. Only someone as truly out there and bizarre as Zorn could do the impossible with this album: make me enjoy a Christmas album.