Andy Cirzan is the king of the Christmas mix. He’s been doing it for 18 years now and his mixes have become legendary.
Andy has been kind enough to answer a few questions for FaLaLaLaLa AND give us an exclusive mix that you’ll only find here.
FLLLL: What Christmas albums/songs/music do you remember listening to as akid?
ANDY: Mainly the ones that were used in all the holiday tv specials that were on from the mid-60s to the early 70s–that and, of course, the Charlie Brown/Peanuts stuff, which formally began my love of Christmas jazz.
FLLLL: What is the history of the Twilight Zone Xmas mix?
ANDY: These were songs that in my opinion were so bad they were good, though I refuse to describe them as novelty stuff. That said, I could never use more than one on each year’s mix because they can be quite disturbing in larger doses. So one year I decided I would stack them end to end in a single mix and whatever that says about how totally off the wall christmas music can be–well, the music speaks for itself.
FLLLL: What is your favorite Christmas song of all time?
ANDY: Impossible question, but maybe Rudolph Pouts, though it would have to be 50% the Mary White (song-poem?) original and 50% the insane cover by Israfels Son.
FLLLL: How many copies of your annual mix do you make and who gets copies?
ANDY: I make about 500 copies and send them out as my annual Christmas card. They go to my family, friends, artists I admire, people I do business with who I also consider friends, media people I know who I consider friends. The bottom line is you get it if you are a friend of mine or someone I admire That said, many music biz bigwigs and artists I’ve worked with for years are not on the list because they do not qualify as friends. The project is too personal and I don’t want it to be misconstrued as some kind of schmooze or promotional thing. Simply put, if you get my CD it means I like you and want to share my passion for interesting music with you, nothing more.
FLLLL: Have you ever been contacted or spoken with any of the artists on your mixes?
ANDY: No, The stuff I’m using is so out there and off the beaten path that I would say that over the long haul at least 97.5% of it is commercially unavailable and the folks who made the music (and likely the small regional labels they the songs came out on) are lost in the sands of time. If I do use something that has actually been reissued on CD I always make sure to plug the disc when I’m doing the numerous radio shows i now do each year—and tell people to go buy it so they can hear all the other cool stuff on there–do some promo work for the artist so to speak. But I’m mainly looking for the “lost music” so I can put it back in circulation and give the deserving artists some exposure.
FLLLL: Who hasn’t recorded a Christmas song/album that you wish had/would?
ANDY: Hard to say, because no matter how talented you might be as an artist you just never know who can make a good Xmas track and who can’t. Generally speaking, I like one-off songs by unknown folks whose Christmas song stands alone as their sole artistic statement—fully vested in their 2½ minutes of recorded material so to speak–plus b-side!
FLLLL: What draws you to include a certain song on one of your mixes? What makes you say, “This HAS to be on the mix?”
ANDY: Very complicated question, but if i had to describe the process it would go something like this: out of all the tracks i have assembled over the past year or so these 25 songs fit together in a way that in my mind comprise what a christmas compilation album should be—the range of different genres and the right combination of serious and goofy, etc. I don’t really want people to focus too much on one specific song or another— that’s why I do an A-side that’s 25 minutes long and a B-side that’s 25 minutes long, just like the old LP format, and no reprogramming or jumping
around between tunes allowed!
FLLLL: What Christmas artist/album do you consider a “guilty pleasure”?
ANDY: Guilty pleasures are just another part of the mix—there are too many great ones many to single out a single artist or album One thing’s for sure—it should be obvious I wear my guilty pleasures on my sleeve when I put my annual disc together.
FLLLL: What’s the last Christmas record you bought?
ANDY: A rare regional 45 of “I’m Not Going To Spend Christmas Alone” by Rockin’ Sydney–just got it yesterday in fact. May be off on the spelling somewhat because I’m not currently at home to double check, but it’s a keeper. Bottom line on vinyl collecting: in this game the hunt is never over.
FLLLL: What is the record you don’t have that you want more than anything?
ANDY: I would like to get an original mint copy of Esquivel’s Christmas stuff—never even seen one.
Twilight Zone Xmas: Into The Yule Vortex Mix
The Lonely Little Gnome – The Pepper Pots
Elvin, The Little Black Elf – The Classmen
Who Is Santa Claus – Santacroce Sisters
Jingle Bells – Usual Lee Wong & Granny
Santa Goofed – Gary Douglas
Rockin’ Disco Santa – ?
Indian Santa Claus – Loreena Mann
Dear Santy – ?
Bootsie The Elf – Bootsie
Christmas Piggy – The Hunt Sisters
The Christmas Turtle – The Warden Sisters
Santa, Dear Santa – Louise Bush
Santa Claus Lane – Lori Lynn
Charlie The Christmas Chimpanzee – Alice Martin
Someone Painted Rudolph’s Nose A Chocolate Brown – Connie Canusco
[symple_box color=”green” text_align=”left” width=”100%” float=”none”] NOTE: At Andy’s request, this mix is no longer available for download.