Stubby's House of Christmas
December 23. 2011
THE GRIP WEEDS - Under The Influence of Christmas
My favorite new Rock Christmas album of the year, the Power Pop Grip Weeds have, I think, created one for the ages. The song selection was a Rock fan's wet dream--pulling out some of the best and most memorable of the rock holiday tracks of the 70s and 80s. "2000 Miles", "I Believe In Father Christmas", and Jethro Tull's "Christmas Song". Ignoring the over done "Happy Xmas" and "All I Want For Christmas Is You". Peppering with originals like "Santa Make Me Good" and "Christmas Dream". And tossing in the obscure but wonderful "Merry Christmas All". Guest Stars Mark Lindsey of the Raiders and Pat Dinizio and Jim Babjak of the Smithereens add some spice to the punch, but they weren't really needed. "Under The Influence Of Christmas" rocks and still sounds entirely like Christmas to me--a much rarer feat than you might imagine. As a big fan of the Knack back in the day, this is the Christmas album I'd always hoped they'd record...only better.
Their 2006 holiday song "Christmas, Bring Us" became a fan/DJ favorite, prompting "Under The Influence Of Christmas", a CD featuring new Grip Weeds songs and covers of holiday favorites (traditionals, Pretenders, ELP, Jethro Tull) - and guest performances from Mark Lindsay, members of Smithereens and Left Banke, Little Steven/Underground Garage faves Doughboys, Anderson Council, more!
If you grew up on The Beatles, The Who, The Raspberries, The Knack...the Christmas albums you've been waiting for this year are "Hi-Fi Christmas Party, Vol. 3" (which should be turning up soon) and this one--"Under The Influence Of Christmas" by The Grip Weeds. Now all I've got to go on are the 30 second clips, but I don't think I've smiled so much since "Get The Knack". (Heck, that's when vinyl was still king.) And that's just from 30 second clips!
This is what Power Pop is all about, people! "Christmas Dream" and "Santa Make Me Good" sound like a rocking good way to open up a Christmas album. And the choice of cover tunes is a rock and roll child's dream line-up..."2000 Miles", "I Believe In Father Christmas", and Jethro Tull's "A Christmas Song". And I don't know which version inspired The Grip Weeds to cover "Merry Christmas All"--Brook Benton, The Salsoul Orchestra, or (my favorite) The Poor Souls--but they've given a whole new shine to it. In short, my fellow rock and roll children, you have not waited in vain. The God's of Jingle Jangly guitars, sweet hooks, and rockin' rhythms have blessed us with "Under The Influence of Christmas" this year. All hail The Grip Weeds!