Secret Santanas

Oh, the weather outside is frightful. But you don’t need no stinking fire to feel delightful, because you have the burning, yearning desire to fall hopelessly into debt chasing all the materialistic paper tigers you never knew you wanted to tame until corporate America told you so. And who the hell are we to stand in the way?

That’s right. Nobody.

But we do feel that, as part of our civic duty — and, um, 200 hours of community service — we have to up the ante on that crotchety Kringle bastard and his Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Whateverah counterparts by compiling the following list of items to procure for all the naughty little music fans on your holiday shopping list.

Going Ape
All those good little boys and girls who get shafted with a Nintendo GameCube instead of the Xbox they asked for will be able to find solace in the spirit of the season with the Little Drummer Monkey in Donkey Konga. Instead of rocking Halo 2, less fortunate urchins can get even with their parents by loudly banging along with Donkey and Diddy Kong on a digital bongo controller. They’ll also have to settle for saluting the arrival of the baby Jesus with a rendition of “Happy Birthday,” because, among the 30-plus songs featured on the game (such as Blink 182’s “All the Small Things,” the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie” and Devo’s “Whip It”), nary a Christmas carol is to be found. But neither is Peter Gabriel’s “Shock the Monkey,” which is a horribly wasted opportunity. — Robert Bishop

Camp Iwannarock
Learn to rock out with your … uh … sunblock out at the Pali Rock Star Camp for aspiring hacks and wannabe divas ages 9 to 16. The camp, says promotional literature, is “nestled in the pine-covered mountains of Southern California,” the birthplace of such rock institutions as the Eagles and drug-rehab centers. There, campers specialize in either dance or music (because apparently even Ashlee Simpson and Britney Spears can’t do both at the same time) and receive training from industry pros, producers and choreographers. Suffering from sticker shock? Just remember that this is the sort of holiday gift that could reap so many returns. Show me a parent who doesn’t want his or her kid to learn how to whore like a superstar. Just like Whitney sang: The children are our future/Teach them well, and let them lead the way. — John Kreicbergs
$1,435 — $2,795,

Karma Is a Bitch
Every tabloid under the sun has made clear by now that the widow Cobain — in addition to pimping her husband’s demise and posing as a classic rocker rather than rawkin’ out — spent most of 2004 auditioning for her own soap opera. Courtney Love spent her days brawling with the new tarts of her exes, (previously) worshipful fans and New York City police, when she wasn’t whipping out the year’s second-most famous titty at a Wendy’s. Those of you for whom rock truly is religion can help alleviate Court’s pain by lighting Lounge Life’s oh-so thoughtful blood-red votive candles on her behalf. Emblazoned with a candid portrait of the Queen of Crazy and the message “Pray for Courtney,” these candles come in various sizes to provide full illumination and unholy impact for your loft or porch. Please note, however, that the candles probably are bad form for your menorahs and kinaras. — Kandia Crazy Horse


A Priest, a Rabbi, and David Lee Roth Walk Into a Bar …
Ahh, the Working Musician’s Joke Book, a perennial favorite. Here are such knee slappers as “How can you tell that a former member of Poison is at your door? Because you ordered a pizza a half-hour ago!” and “How many washed-up Van Halen lead singers does it take to screw in a light bulb? All of them, as long as they do it exactly how Eddie tells them to do it or they’re fucking kicked out of the group because the name of the fucking band is ‘Van Halen,’ not ‘Van Roth’ or ‘Van Hagar’ or ‘Van Whatever-the-fuck-that-guy-from-Extreme’s-name-was
-that-was-a-complete-fucking-mistake.'” All right, those aren’t in there. But they should be. And at $9.71 a pop, you can get a whole bunch for all your working-musician friends. If they stuff enough pages into the lining of their coats, that ice-cold wind whipping through the Plaza won’t sting nearly as much while they’re busking for loose change. — Kreicbergs


Toyz in the Hood
If you’re like us, every year around this time you ponder the same seemingly unanswerable question: What do I buy for the gangsta who has everything? Well, this year have no fear; is here. If Sean John gear and spinners for the Escalade are a bit out of your price range, check out this Web site for all the latest in iced-out, spinning jewelry, pendants, watches and belt buckles. There’s something here for everyone, from the most cold-blooded Crip to the most wannabe Wanksta. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to have a zirced-out, spinning G-Unit pendant (available in silver, fake platinum or fake gold for $129.99)? How about a spinning 50 Cent ring for $19? Looking for something a little less gaudy? Flash your best O.D.B. grin with a wide assortment of fake gold and platinum tooth caps ($10 apiece or $29 for a five-piece set). Trust us — Dirt would be proud. — Kevin Kampwirth

Who Needs Drugs, Anyway?
Finally, a board game for rock-and-roll know-it-alls who can hum the intro to “Smoke on the Water” on command. And because everyone needs to live like a rock star (or at least party like one) sometimes, Sex, Booze and Rock ‘N Roll is more than just a trivia challenge. Sure, the old cliché has been tamed a little. But with requirements that include chugging a beverage to beat your buddies around the board, it’s entirely possible you’ll be screwed up by the time you get there. Just make sure to do plenty of shots between turns. Jagermeister not included. Crystal K. Wiebe


A 3-Hour Tour, but a 12-Hour Trip
Names are still being taken for the waiting list on Jam Cruise 3, a four-day, four-night Carnival cruise that boasts among its lineup Galactic, Keller Williams, Karl Denson the North Mississippi Allstars and Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade. Be warned, though, about trying to bring any pharmaceutical fun along for the ride — we are talking about the ultimate pre-show hassle of the Jacksonville Port Authority and U.S. Customs. But just imagine being on a boat filled with enthusiastic hippies and erstwhile aisle spinners for four straight days, listening to insane jams, man, for four straight days, getting the EXACT SAME food poisoning as Les Claypool and retching over the side of the boat. Lovely. And by the way, isn’t it a little suspicious that this love boat doesn’t stop anywhere near Jamaica? — Kreicbergs

$550 — $1,125 a person.

Merchandise Mart
They always start innocently enough, these rock merchandizing extravaganzas, with T-shirts, hats and hoodies that double as fan expression and advertising. Then everyone starts going bananas, making available random products of questionable value. To wit:

Minted currency is an honor usually reserved for presidents and dictators. Michael Jackson is neither, but that hasn’t stopped the one-time King of Pop from immortalizing his visage on a nontransferable coin. The height of arrogance? Yup, and you can’t even tell your friends it was forged using silver recovered from the World Trade Center. $54.95,

A silver-and-bronze, rhinestone-studded Dixie Chicks belt buckle? Doesn’t seem too unreasonable — the country trio hail from rope-and-ride Texas. But a “banjo bandanna” with the group’s name presented in flowing script in quasi-paisley designs might be taking things slightly too far, and the white “Dixie Chicks Blinky Light” pin seems even sillier. Yet that would-be Natalie Maines in your family will likely savor ’em like Joseph and Mary did their myrrh and frankincense.

MILF-gone-wild is Liz Phair, whereas Melissa Auf Der Maur likes her goth rock harebrained. What do they have in common? Wristbands. Phair’s are schizoid — the pink one snarls “psycho,” the black one “sane.” Auf Der Maur pimps a pair of matching black bands emblazoned with her initials in cryptic Olde English type. Why they don’t package these with leg warmers, headbands and Flashdance shirts, we’ll never understand. $6, $10,

Help usher that draft-age, anarchistic headbanger on your list into a year that will see two, count ’em, two new System of a Down records (as well as the further ravaging of the planet) with a SOAD skateboard, featuring a creepy, four-color illustration of the fearsome foursome. When you aren’t grinding down bannisters, you’re pining to be bathed in the fake bodily fluids Gwar likes to spray into its audience. Now, when you’re sipping grain on the sly from your Gwar “Violence Has Arrived” metal flask, you’ll be forgiven for feeling the urge to upchuck your libation. — Ray Cummings $70, $25,

Tuesday Afternoon Fever
Had another long, lonely, pointless day in the cubicle? Tired of pondering the purpose of your menial existence over game after game of computer solitaire? Well, hold off on tying that noose just yet; your 9 to 5 may be looking up. Check out, where you can snatch up action figures crafted in the likenesses of our favorite commercially saturated rock stars — a Marilyn Manson “Disposable Teens” figure, for instance, complete with extra head, prosthetic leg and arm, small monkey (huh?) and faux fur ($26.99); or a No Doubt play set with a stage, speakers and tiny instruments as well as all six members of the band ($27.99). “But I’m an adult and a professional,” you may be saying. “I can’t get caught playing with dolls.” But your fellow drones will look on in envy when you’re rockin’ steady with Gwen and the boys in all their 3 inches of glory. Don’t worry, that tool from Bush is sold separately. Kampwirth

Mötorhead Stewart
Now that the housewares industry’s Queen of Mean has been sent down the river to an Auld Varginny hoosegow, the moment is ripe for some unlikely comer to overtake Martha Stewart’s omnivorous business. My personal vote is for Mötorhead’s Lemmy, who made a successful foray as an advice columnist for Jane Magazine. But if you want to pledge your allegiance to music while working on your crème brûlée, you can use the music-themed kitchen items from the Music Depot, including a “Rock Me Amadeus”-worthy Mozart cutting board ($8.95) and a pair of “Too Hot to Handel” oven mitts ($15.50) for the highbrow cultural consumer in all of us. Get in on the next trend in pop niche marketing before engaged-and-nesting Marilyn Manson gets his own bouillabaisse-and-burlesque Food Network show. — Crazy Horse

King of Kitsch
When it comes to corny merchandise, Elvis Presley is the king. His snarl turns up everywhere — soap dishes, license plates, bellybutton rings — and new ways to cash in are being invented all the time. Special holiday treats include ornaments and a Snowflake Jumpsuit Watch inspired by Presley’s signature white jumpsuit, a child-size replica of which goes for $29.99. Then there are bingo markers, bowling balls, shower curtains and dioramas of Graceland. Yes, the king’s palace is available in 3-D miniature with working lights for only $49.99 (individual rooms sold separately). There are even fashion accessories for particularly obsessed hound dogs — two-piece costumes, for instance, in all doggy sizes — that allow Fido to do the jailhouse rock right the next time he chews up a pair of blue suede shoes. Finally, for the stocking that’s too far away to stuff, send flowers. Fresh roses embossed with a meaningful Elvis lyric (“Burning Love,” “Always on My Mind,” “Love Me Tender”) or the king’s pretty face start at $49.99. — Wiebe

The Surreal Life
Postelection blues have undone the best of us. Yet your aging hippie parents, relatives or friends are probably faring worse this year. Aside from the Dylan memoirs and Brian Wilson’s Smile redux, alleviate the seasonal suffering of your loved ones still yearning for the Summer of ’67 with an item even Grace Slick could love: a Surrealistic Pillow. The Hi-Fi Bags site cleverly references boomer deities the Beatles with its Meet The Hi-Fi Bags intro. Actual album covers such as Revolver and the Stones’ Let It Bleed are converted into diverse bag types, and a Jefferson Airplane pillow of clear vinyl tastefully displays rock-snob cred with an Atlantic Records long player floating within (also available in Dylan Bringing It All Back Home and Carole King Tapestry form). No word on whether an MP3 containing “White Rabbit” and a wafting-sinsemilla sleep aid are automatically activated by head pressure. — Crazy Horse


Barking Beatles
You love dogs. You love the Beatles. Why can’t you enjoy them both at the same time? Thanks to recent advances in stuffed-animal technology, now you can. Just squeeze the hind leg of the Singing Beatle Beagle Dog to hear your favorite Fab Four song, sung in the key of arf. Singing Beatle Beagle Dogs (try saying that five times fast) are available in four career-spanning styles, including the shirt-and-tie-wearing “I Feel Fine” drummer, the bass-wielding “Help” beagle, the groovy “Hard Day’s Night” guitarist and the “Can’t Buy Me Love” pooch, complete with its very own Sgt. Pepper yellow jacket and rose in hand, er, paw. The dog is the perfect gift for that in-the-know friend who will appreciate its kitsch value (or for that muumuu-wearing great aunt who won’t). But don’t worry — either way, the migraines should die down after a few hours. — Aaron Ladage

$12.99 — $16.95, www.brandson dogs.html

Crunk in Public
Although the term crunk likely first entered the public imagination via André 3000’s twang, The New York Times has finally weighed in on the Southern-hip-hop subgenre as cultural phenomenon, signaling its imminent demise. This is the last suitable window of opportunity for all behind-the-curve hipsters and ambitious armchair bohemians to peep the bass-spiked partay, as purveyed by Lil Jon and his merry Eastside Boyz. Keep your colleagues at the holiday office shindig irie or impress eyeball-rolling teenagers on Christmas Eve with a case of Crunk Juice: Crunk energy drink mixed with a gang of Hennessy and assorted aphrodisiac mystery roots. Lil Jon is already a lucrative Comedy Central punch line. Do it now before his “Yea-uh!” and “Whuuut?” club exhortations go the way of “Show me the money!” Bonus: You can watch the LJ & ESB: American Sex Series DVD with your boo after quaffing a few pimp chalices full of Crunk. — Crazy Horse

$40.99 for a 24-pack,
www.crunk energy

Spawn of Liverpool
The company that warped fragile young minds with synthetic hell spawn such as Gene Simmons and, well, Spawn has unveiled its latest rock-star action figures. McFarlane Toys has followed up its Yellow Submarine sets from 1999 and 2000 with its latest Beatles series, based on the American Beatles cartoon depiction of the Fabs from the 1960s. Produced using only the finest eco-unfriendly plastics and handcrafted with loving care by underage Chinese factory laborers, this four-piece set is remarkable in its detail, from Paul’s perpetually half-baked expression to Ringo’s impressive collection of ’60s bling. They can be purchased as a group or as individuals desperate to eke out solo careers that will allow them to escape the paralyzing knowledge that their worldwide fame will never allow them to ditch their intrinsic identities as a whole greater than the sum of its parts. — Kreicbergs


Categories: Music