When Keith and Rob asked me if I wanted to do a Spirit Of Ratliff Holiday Special to follow the trilogy of specials they did with Gethard during the TCGS MNN years, I felt like Jeremy Renner being asked to do that Bourne Movie that Matt Damon didn’t do.
Which is to say: I felt great! (I assume Renner felt great when they asked him to do that movie, right?)
But Jeremy Renner and I are different in this respect: he probably didn’t immediately ask if he could write the soundtrack. And if he DID, they clearly said “no” since that movie has no music by Jeremy Renner in it. But The Spirit Of Ratliff has a full batch of brand new Holiday tunes by me and Mikey Erg.
I am real happy with how this turned out, because I think it is a full-on collaboration between me and Keith and Rob and Mikey. There are parts that I can clearly point to and say “that’s a Keith moment” or “this was a Rob thing” and there are moments that I know are only in there because there were a handful of Xmas things I really wanted to put into a Holiday special.
When Keith first called me, he asked if I had any strong feelings about Xmas and I said: YES I DO.
I love Xmas, and I love a lot of things about it that other people complain about– I like that it keeps starting earlier and earlier, I like how you have to hear all the same Xmas songs over and over each year, I like when it SNOWS, I even kind of like how each Xmas is a little sad because when it’s over it means you have one less Xmas to enjoy.
I immediately started thinking about all the Xmas specials that I love, and how the best ones really are stamped with the personalities of the people who created them.
Charles Schulz having Linus solemnly read that Bible passage in A Charlie Brown Christmas. I never have fully understood that part, but I dig how it was important to Schulz to have it in there. (That special is perfect despite its many wonderful imperfections, and its soundtrack is one of the best things ever created in any medium.)
Bill Murray’s new ramshackle Xmas special on Netflix is another example– warts and all, I don’t think anyone other than Murray would’ve/could’ve made a special quite like it in 2015.
This special contains a lot of my personal opinions about Xmas and the Xmas Season, the MTA, #TeamEndlessWinter, FAO Schwartz, Xmas decorations… It didn’t occur to me until after I wrote 7 songs with Mikey that our whole soundtrack was a tiny bit “political” but in a fun and weird way, not a red state/blue state way.
By the way, you can buy the soundtrack EP (8 songs, 12 minutes total) for 7 bucks on bandcamp. It makes a great “gift” if you have a friend you haven’t bought anything for yet.
I want to thank Keith and Rob for asking me and for making it with their trademark weirdness and playful fun, Mikey for agreeing to make music with me, Maëlle Doliveux for re-forming the Lone Cornmeal Machine to make a music video for it, and Chris Gethard & TCGS for allowing me to be a part of this oddball Holiday legacy. I also want to thank my parents and sister, since I doubt I’d love Xmas as much as I do if it weren’t for them– they’re the ones I spend every Xmas with!