Saturday, November 22, 2008


...and THE


checking in at 7:49pm, December 1st 'bout hearing The Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping" in a New York City taxi cab!

Mark gets $100 donated in his name to The Children's division of The Hoboken Public Library.



Roe checked in, saying she heard it...:

The day after Christmas I was at Pat Catans - a local craft store- looking for those wonderful discount bargains - all was quiet, everyone walking around like holidazed zombies when what to my my wondering ears did I hear - Christmas Wrapping! I had the best time singing along and making merry!"

Lisa Crafts & Cayli watching the "Christmas Wrapping" house w/ lights cued to the song!

here's the video:

Rocky checked in, saying she heard it -

I was in Columbus at a Barnes and Noble last Friday and they were playing "Christmas Wrapping."

Bill Pomeroy checked in, saying he heard it -

Hey Chris:

Certainly not the first, but assuredly among the most personal of the sightings. Was up at Home Depot for to buy brother Pete his X-mas offering (don't breath a word, a 221/2 inch Weber One Touch Gold, he had been cobbling together remnants for way too long) and just as I plunked the box into the cart........yep, Christmas Wrapping over the Home Depot squawk box. Wheels within wheels, all is connected, om (or pun intended) ohm, and all at Home Depot, of all the unlikely temples.

Have a wonderful holiday, and make sure you get a check from Home Depot.

Hope all is uber groovy,


Jody Wheeler checked in, saying she heard it -

Hey you...

I got up esp....( me and the snow plow guy.. the onliest ones up at this hour.). CAUSE.. ( don't know about him.. the snow plow guy) but I'm up to write you that I just heard the above title as a bump on the radio show Coast to Coast.. an addiction of mine.. late night show about aliens,, UFO's and now sort of political.. but anyway.. at 3:30 am on 12/17 your song was played.. so.. am I the first reporting in???

xoxo from the frozen white upstate New York.. Jody very sleeppy Jody xox"

Deborah Smith checked in, saying she heard it -

" T. J. Max in Akron.'ve officially been discounted".

Marianne Smith (no relation) checked in, saying she heard it -

" my green Volvo. On Route 80W going towards Wayne, NJ Nov 28, 2008, at about 11am".

Deena Shoshkes checked in, saying she heard it -

"I heard it yesterday on 94.3 (? I think..) at 1:11 pm..I was driving and channel surfing..and I rested there because it made me glad!"

Betsy Freedman checked in, saying she heard it -

Hello Chris, I heard Christmas Wrapping yesterday December 5 at 1 pm at Alphabets 47 Greenwich Ave. NYC Rock on!

- cb
and boys & gurls...once again, it's that time of year to reprint these:


bah! humbug! no...that's too strong, 'cause it is my favorite holiday
but all this year's been a busy blur, don't think I have the energy
to add to my already mad rush, just cause it's "'tis the season"

the perfect gift for me would be, completions and connections
left from last year, ski shop, encounter, most interesting...
had his number but never the time, most of '81 passed along those lines

so deck those halls, trim those trees, raise up cups of Christmas cheer

I just need to catch my breath, Christmas by myself this year


calendar picture, frozen landscape, chilled this room for 24 days

evergreens, sparkling snow, get this winter over with!

flashback to springtime, saw him again, would've been good to go for lunch

couldn't agree when we were both free, we tried, we said we'd keep in touch

didn't, of course, 'til the summertime,
out to the beach to his boat, could I join him?
no, this time it was me, sunburn in the third degree

now the calendar's just one page and, of course, I am excited
tonight's the night, but I've set my mind, not to do too much about it

Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas...think I'll miss this one this year


hardly dashing through the snow, 'cause I bundled up too tight
last minute have-to-dos, a few cards, a few calls

because it's RSVP, no thanks, no party lights

it's Christmas Eve, gonna relax, turned down all of my invites

last fall I had a night to myself, same guy called, Halloween party
waited all night for him to show, this time his car wouldn't go

forget it, it's cold, it's getting late,
trudge on home to celebrate
in a quiet way, unwind,
doing Christmas right this time


the A & P has provided me, with the world's smallest turkey

already in the oven, nice and hot, oh damn, guess what I forgot!

so on with the boots, back out in the snow, to the only all-night grocery

when what to my wondering eyes should appear,

in the line is that guy I've been chasing all year!

spending this one alone, he said, need a break, this year's been crazy

I said, me too, but why are you...?, you mean, you forgot cranberries, too?

then suddenly we laughed and laughed, caught on to what was happening

that Christmas magic's brought this tale,
to a very happy ending

Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas...couldn’t miss this one this year!


...which is beginning to be my Obits section:

Bettie Page R. I. P. - purplE k'niF sometimes plays at DC's in Hoboken. on the john door, there is a b & W pic of Bettie Page that has been hand-tinted. well, Irving Kral's partner & sister in the naughty photo bizness, Paula liked to add color to some of the pix they shot. this might be an original one...and dammit, it's screwed to the door!

David Robinson R. I. P - Numbers band drummer, turned me on to lots of great music, met Patty Donahue thru him, many nights playing Jimmy Bell w/ this guy. and oh...those New Years Eve gigs at JB's...

i am not coping very well w/so much death around me...not at all...not one fucking bit.


LES IDOLES (a.k.a. THE IDOLS) 1968

i have been blessed many times with stumbling upon something that raises the bar in the So Bad, Its Good category - like seeing Viv Stanshall's "Sir Henry at Rawlinson's End" one and a half times (because the projectionist stopped the second showing before the movie was over), etc..

but boy...this one takes the gateau. billed as a parody of how pop stars are created, it proves once again that The French Cannot Rock. wretched dancing, wretched yé-yé music...but the film is also amazingly prescient - the Charly character IS Richard Hell...not a proto-punk but a PUNK fully-formed and kitted out.

it was interesting being in the audience at the NY premier. the MC announced at the top that the film arrived without heads or tails there was no way of knowing if the film would be show in the correct sequence (don't know if it was...wouldn't have mattered anyway), and the young-ish, hipster audience was either dumb-struck by the film's awfulness or muted by an internal struggle along the lines of iknowthisissupposedtobehighartbutitsucksoramimissingsomething?

le stinker...truly dreadful, truly wonderful.


FRA film. French rock and roll, fashion and avant-garde! "Pop music is the sound that kills—then it makes us want to hear more!" The sites and sounds of the psychedelic sixties…French style! This spoof of French '60s pop culture involves three singing idols and their effort to stay in the public eye. There is a dazzling array of fashion and music that combines psychedelic, beat, and pop. Almost half the film is eye-dazzling fashion and music. Pop culture, press conferences, backstage hedonism, psychedelia, manipulative managers and disc jockeys are all satirized.

Music performed by Les Rollsticks (!!!). Dialog in French; no subtitles. Bulle Ogier, Pierre Clémenti, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Valérie Lagrange, Michèle Moretti, Joël Barbouth, Philippe Bruneau, Marie-Claude Breton, Stéphane Vilar, Patrick Greussay, Jacques Zins, Didier Léon. French language. No subtitles. Les Idoles.

here's a 'freak out' scene outtake:

and a 'dance number' from Gigi La Folle:

2) i am not invested in the stock market.

3) CHRIS BUTLER & THE CRANKS do The Who's "Christmas" and "Christmas Wrapping" at Maxwell's in Hoboken last year. i blow the lyrics to my own song, but hey...

4) DATA PANIK does a dead-on version in a Glasgow club:

5) pal Peter Holsapple's blog entry at the NYT's Measure for Measure songwriting blog:

here is the complete text of what i sent him:


First off, there is something you should know:


…but if you are a record producer (and even if you are a major fan of the band you’re working with), that’s just the way it is…that’s The Gig. Hopefully, the band are your pals, and they are counting on you to listen to them and to preserve their integrity, but the record company is the entity which actually hires you, and they would like to hear a hit (or three), and for you to finish the project on time and within (or better still) under budget.

In the fall of ’81, the dB’s had been signed to Albert Grossman’s Bearsville Records. He was the King of the town of Bearsville, NY…well…half of it anyway…Todd Rundgren being the Other King…two Machiavellian hipster warlords battling for dominance in this supposedly Groovy Paradise.

And I was to be their producer. Since I didn’t have a car, I took the train up to Woodstock (the next town over) and was met at the station by Albert himself. You should know that he had pretty much single-handedly invented the modern music business in the ‘60’s when he managed Bob Dylan, reversing the polarity of the biz’s power structure from the labels’ advantage to where all major decisions regarding the music to be recorded, how a record was to be promoted…even the record’s cover art, came from the artist. He was as heavy-duty and as tough a character as you could find. And tho referred to by the locals (sotto voce, of course) as the Blue Jean Buddha, as you might expect…he was not a nice man.

In the drive to our digs on Albert’s compound, I gushed about how hard the band had worked in pre-production: how we had taken Peter’s great songs and worked them and re-worked them, and how we were going to make a great record and how grateful everyone was to get the chance to record in a world-class studio. After listening to me silently for a while, he stopped me mid-sentence and said in a rather nasal baritone, “Chris…all I am interested in these days are restaurants and wood”.

It was going to be a long autumn.

But onto the song in question - “Love Is For Lovers” had jumped to the head of the line as a potential Cut 1/Side 1 tune almost at first hearing. Tons of pre-production work had gone into the song – things like adding lots of anticipated beats (accenting the “and” of 4) which gave the song a constant forward thrust, and adding that skip beat in the drum part at the end of every four bars. The lyrics were very good and cutting them was not an option, so we used a trick I had come up when arranging my own hyper-wordy songs for The Waitresses - adding a ‘teaser’ chorus or bridge, which lets the tune get back to another verse vs. going directly to a bridge or chorus as required in the standard pop song format (the “do you believe this?” repeats between the first & second verses). The overall structure was methodically tweaked as well, with a restart for the third verse, the guitar breakdown and subsequent rev-up to the finish (a structure shamelessly pinched from the Rolling Stones).

The hardest part of recording the song was coming up with overdub parts to flesh out the arrangement. The dB’s were now a three-piece after the departure of Chris Stamey, and tho the remaining band members were multi-instrumentalists, they were basically a rhythm section with a bunch of terrific songs. Some days the ideas flowed quite nicely - on others, it was like pulling teeth…or rather, like a wrenching psycho-drama of finding a new identity while confronting collective and individual insecurities…with a big chunk of passive-resistance and control freak vs. control freak conflicts tossed in. And to further stir things up, Albert and Todd Rundgren suddenly had made peace, with Todd emerging as head of Bearsville’s A & R department. He was not pleased with some of the tunes, and tho every record he ever made (up until then…and including “Bat Out Of Hell”) had been remixed (sometimes without his knowledge), he was not a fan of the first mixes that the engineer Mike Frondelli and I had submitted.

Listening to the song now some 25 years later, there is much to be proud of. It swings and struts, and it’s as pretty damn pure a piece of pop craft as was ever recorded. Yeah, I wince when I hear the dated handclaps, and what’s with the BOOM! before the giddy-up/surf guitar solo? But then I hear the high guitar feedback note at the outro, and remember that this came from a late punch from an earlier take – a happy accident that was kept in – and ya just gotta smile…because the song works.

6) MARK PRICE PIX (thank you, HG)




cb...where are you?



Blogger Rich G said...

Is it just my imagination or do the French not seem to pronounce (or use) hard consonants when they sing?

12:32 AM  
Blogger CBeezwax said...

maybe. or maybe it's that anything sung in French just sounds ridiculous.


9:26 AM  
Anonymous rd said...

Reminds me of a 45 I bought years ago. What was I thinking?

Plastic Bertrand - Ca Plane Pour Moi

4:51 PM  
Blogger CBeezwax said...

oh...great song! the exception to the singing-in-French rule. plan pour moi!


5:29 PM  
Blogger Chelsea said...

I'd also say that Serge Gainsbourg is an exception to that rule. He could be singing in Urdu and he'd still sound as though he could cut you in half.

In unrelated news, we got the reish of _Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful?_ on eMusic a few months ago. I don't know how I forgot how happy that album makes me. I always want to do a little Snoopy dance when "Christmas Wrapping" comes up on the shuffle.

6:24 PM  
Blogger CBeezwax said...

agreed re: SG...but maybe that's 'cause he was very much doing his own thing vs. trying to make le rock.

thanks for the Christmas Wrapping plug.



1:08 PM  

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