There is Somebody Out There!

by R. Scott Bolton

Last year, I did a little story called "Christmas Metal: Is There Anybody Out There." Judging from the response to that article this year, there is definitely somebody out there. We've received about a dozen e-mails regarding our Christmas and, hence, we've decided to update it a little to tell you about some new stuff.

First, the CDs we mentioned in our previous story (click here to read that story) are still out there: GARY HOEY's "Ho Ho Hoey" and "Ho Ho Hoey 2," TRAN-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA's "The Christmas Attic" and  "Christmas Eve and Other Stories." These CDs are excellent and we recommend you buy them through the links on that page.

But there's some other stuff that we just didn't know about last year and many have you have brought some of them to our attention.

GARY HOEY has returned this year with "Ho Ho Hoey 3," his (obviously) third collection of hard rock Christmas tunes. Once again, I have to tell you that Hoey's CD is our favorite. Hoey's an incredible guitarist and his arrangements of traditional Christmas tunes is unmatched. You could listen to Hoey's Christmas CD 24/7/365 if people wouldn't recognize the underlying Christmas themes and think you were nuts for listening to "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" in June. "Ho Ho Hoey 3" is as good as the first two and, anyway, we recommend you buy the set. To buy "Ho Ho Hoey 3" or browse for the other Gary Hoey CDs, click here.

The CDs that so many readers brought to our attention, however, are the "Merry Axemas" collection, Volumes I and II. These CDs contain Christmas classics recorded by some of the world's best known guitarists under the guidance and concept of Steve Vai. The first CD contains music by Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Eric Johnson, Jeff Beck, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Joe Satriani, Steve Morse, Steve Vai, Joe Perry, Alex Lifeson, Richie Sambora and Hotei. The second CD contains tracks by Steve Lukather, Neal Schon, Steve Stevens, Stu Hamm, Trevor Rabin, Zakk Wylde, John Sykes, Robin Trower, Al Di Meola and Ted Nugent.

Both CDs are great, offering these killer guitarists' renditions of holidays classics, both traditional and otherwise. Of the two "Merry Axemas CDs, my favorite was Volume 2. The music had more of a Rough Edge feel to it and it's tough to beat Ted Nugent playing "Deck the Halls" or Zakk Wylde doing "White Christmas." Neither CD, however, stands up to Hoey's work - too much on the "Merry Axemas" CDs sounds like Christmas music you could get elsewhere. It's not powered up enough.

Regardless, if you're a fan of any of the guitarists listed above (and how could you not be and still be reading Rough Edge) you will enjoy these CDs. Click here to buy Volume One and/or click here to buy Volume Two.

Although we haven't heard it, it's hard to imagine that "Punk Rock Christmas lacks any power whatsoever. With The Dickies doing "Silent Night," Stiff Little Fingers doing "White Christmas" and D.I. offering "Mr. Grinch" - not to mention original tunes with titles like "Daddy Drank Our Christmas Money," "There Ain't No Santy Claus" and the aforementioned Fear classic "Fuck Christmas" - "Punk Rock Christmas" sounds like a lot of politically incorrect fun. For more information on purchasing this CD, please click here.

We know there's more out there - but we need you to tell us what - just like the readers who filled us in on the "Merry Axemas" CDs. Send us an e-mail at and tell us what you're listening to this Holiday Season.

Happy Holidays!

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Copyright 1999 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 31 Jul 2018 23:38:08 -0400