Hog Heaven Holiday Theme Music (2000)

Hog Heaven Holiday Theme Music cover. Absurd pic with a sow with reindeer antler headgear and suited up to tow the Santa sleigh. Crude cover art but funny.

Inspired by the holiday season and a cute little girl who got into my heart.

  • Me: Keyboards, Bass, Guitar, Drums and Percussion
  • Ruben Zahva from Malta: Maltese Goatskin Bagpipe

In the fall of 2000, I still had access to a number of keyboards which I would borrow from local music savant Bob Tedde who had a store house of gear, both vintage and new. For a few weeks in December and around then, I had his Nord lead, Hammond XB2, and some other junk, in addition to my Rhodes. There was a lot of keyboard stuff that came from that period, obviously, and this was something that I did in about a week or so before Christmas, finished in time to fashion into a present for most of my family, and specifically for my (nearly) 4-year old niece, whom I had just met a few weeks before after a reunion following several years of estrangement. (You can read my heartfelt appeal to connect with Katie about a decade later, in 2011.)

Something about this little kid sparked me to do this 15 minute chunk of music in the course of a week after I had felt spent doing Receiving, and after the utterly anarchic stuff from the Magnificent Meatsticks, and a failed attempt at a first band which echoed strains of King Crimson and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Holed up in the studio again on my own, I was alone with a bunch of keyboards and borrowed percussion and this utterly popped out of me, a few minutes at a time. For about a week, I just about forgot ambitions to emulate Bitches Brew, Birds of Fire, and Red, and instead I made this childlike little thing. It is a continuous file here, but on the CD I gave out, it is a nine track affair with titles that are evocative of the season—solstice, fireside, tradition, festivity, and family imagery. Each track has its own sort of color, and was done more or less in the order you hear, except the first several tracks actually recorded were put after the last ones recorded so that my failing inspiration happens midway through and not at the end, thus saving my best work for the end!

I think everyone in my family missed the point entirely, said "that's nice, pass that DVD player package over there" and got drunk for Christmas. Usually, I pull this out and put it up on the web site here in November and let people steal it for themselves. But now you can have it in JUNE! Reposting it each year is sort of an act of defiance. I hope one day Katie hears it again, and perhaps hears what I really mean to communicate with it.

The funny story for this project was when I was working on the one section with the bagpipe, I had no idea that there would be such a thing there. But Kelli (not my wife at that point, but college bound girl living in Oakland at the time), came by with this guy Ruben in her car who, once finding out I was doing this thing, volunteered that he had a goatskin bagpipe in the car. His pipes were in A major, and my piece was in F# minor... wow, a relative key! So I told him I was going to have this thing evoke holiday and winter season imagery, and maybe he could add something along those lines from whence he came. He did, then left a while later and I never saw the dude again.

The cover art was pretty hastily done, using an old calendar with some labeling tape for the text. I didn't have Photoshop available to me yet, nor did Todd Larowe (musical buddy during that period who enjoyed a few enviably geeky toys). He did have CD labeling sofware so I made up something with a few jokes tucked within, like Side A and Side B references and other little bits. The cover you see above is not the original but it's pretty close, really only trying to enhance the color and to eliminate the scanning artifacts. Aside from that, it's more or less what people were given on Christmas Day, 2000.

Ho(g)! Ho(g)! Ho(g)!