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Punk Rock XmasOne of Rhino Record's earliest releases was a green-vinyl, Christmas-tree-shaped, four-song EP simply entitled Christmas Rock. Anchored by the Ravers' 1977 regional hit "Punk Rock Christmas," that little piece of plastic set the stage for Rhino's near dominance of an emerging market of Christmas collectors. Over the years, Rhino continued to show a remarkable affinity for holiday music, releasing some of the best Christmas compilations in the history of the universe.

Fitting, then, that nearly 20 years later Rhino compiled the Ravers' rave-up along with 17 other slices of noise on an indispensable yuletide treat, Punk Rock Xmas (1995). The spiritual core of Punk Rock Xmas is "Fuck Christmas," an unforgettable affront to decency from the L.A. hardcore group Fear. Singer Lee Ving (clever, huh?) sets the stage with a quasi-metal soliloquy about the joys of the season, only to conclude, "For me, it's not that sweet." And then, after he bellows the titular phrase eight frenzied times, it's over - 45 seconds after it began.

"Fuck Christmas" is the zenith - or nadir, depending on one's perspective - of Punk Rock Xmas, but there's a lot more to love (or hate). How about El Vez's "Feliz Navi-Nada," which marries Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad" to John Lydon's "Public Image"? Or "Homo Christmas" by Pansy Division ("Licking nipples, licking nuts, putting candy canes up each other's butts!")? Or Sloppy Seconds' disarmingly competent cover of "Hooray For Santa Claus" from the legendarily awful 1964 movie, Santa Claus Conquers The Martians? Or the simple pleasure of witnessing the Dickies rush headlong through "Silent Night" like their lives depended on finishing it in under two minutes?

Like New Wave Xmas, the less-aggressive sequel Rhino released the following year, Punk Rock Xmas is not-your-normal-Christmas-CD. These are songs for people who love to hate Christmas, and there's room for them, too, in our winter wonderland. Not many of these songs aspire to (and even fewer achieve) anything resembling significance. At most, they flip a symbolic middle-finger to an institution deemed bourgeois and corrupt. At their very least, they are puerile, adolescent temper tantrums- and a helluva lotta fun. [top of page]

Albums Albums

SongsSongs

  • Feliz Navi-Nada (El Vez, 1994)
  • Fuck Christmas (Fear, 1982)
  • Homo Christmas (Pansy Division, 1992)
  • Hooray For Santa Claus (Sloppy Seconds, 1992)
  • It's Christmas (Bouquet Of Veal, 1995)
  • (It's Gonna Be A) Punk Rock Christmas (Ravers, 1977)
  • Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) (Ramones, 1987)
  • A Merry Jingle (Greedies, 1979)
  • Merry Xmas Blues (Celibate Rifles, 1982)
  • Mr. Grinch (D.I., 1994)
  • Run Rudolph Run (Humpers, 1993)
  • Silent Night (The Dickies, 1978)
  • There Ain't No Sanity Claus (The Damned, 1980)

Further ListeningFurther Listening

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