On their seventh studio album, folk-punk mainstays AJJ provide a glimpse into modern American life that is far from joyous. Lyrically, the album is a bit of a downer, though it also finds the band looking to new places for inspiration, expanding their sound, and experimenting a bit.
Despite the observations of depravity in our society that comes across on their records, we wanted to ask AJJ to help us spread some holiday cheer by talking caroling, being afraid of snow, and Hawaii in the latest holiday edition of the Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.
What’s the best holiday gift you’ve ever received?
My wife gave me a drum set years ago and it blew my mind! Runner-up: a Sega Game Gear with Mortal Kombat when I was like 10 or 11. Goro for president!
What is your earliest holiday memory?
What’s on your wish list for this year?
Slippers. I’m easy.
What holiday song can you not resist singing along to?
All of them. I sing along while walking around the store. Spreading cheer, freaking people out.
What’s the holiday song you wish you could zap out of existence?
“Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer,” because it’s sh*tty or “Feliz Navidad,” because it’s too catchy.
What is your strangest holiday tradition?
Those small jars of marinated artichoke hearts in our xmas stockings.
What album makes for the perfect gift?
There’s this incredible album, A Larum, by Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit. I’ve definitely given that that as a gift to multiple people. But next year the perfect gift will certainly be the critically acclaimed smash hit, Good Luck Everybody by AJJ.
Thoughts on snow?
I love the snow but I’m terrified of it. RIP Sonny Bono.
What holiday movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?
Have you ever seen that movie Scrooged? It’s Dickens’ Christmas Carol set in the early nineties with Bill Murray as the despicable miser. Hilarity ensues. I haven’t seen it in a while. I apologize if it didn’t age well.
Marry, F*ck, Kill: Santa, Thanksgiving Turkey, Hannukah Harry.
Yes, that’s the correct order.
What’s the one food you need on your Thanksgiving table?
Devin Nunes’ roasted head. With an apple stuffed in in his stupid, liar mouth. Just kidding, that’s gross.
Where’s the most interesting place you’ve ever spent the holidays?
Hawaii, in 2001.
You decide to blow off the holidays and travel instead. Where are you going?
Hawaii, in 2001.
If the holidays are a time for giving, what’s the charity you’d like to big up for the season?
It’s hard to choose. So many great organizations. So much need. No More Deaths and Tucson Samaritans are local favorites. They provide humanitarian aid for people risking their lives by crossing the border in the harsh Sonoran Desert.
What’s your favorite holiday drink?
I like a hot toddy (hot water, whiskey, lemon juice, honey) with cayenne when the weather’s frightful. I’ve never tried wassle though, so my answer could change.
Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
I think so. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it. As I recall, the Christmas party turning into a hostage situation is the basis for the plot. Plus there’s that part at the end where they all break into a heartfelt rendition of “Silver Bells.”
How early is too early to decorate for the holiday season?
I’m happy to see decorations any time of year. Do you! Black Friday creep really grinds my gears though. This year it was in full swing by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
What’s your ideal way to spend New Years Eve?
Indoors or near a fire.
As the year ends, how are you going to remember 2019?
It sure has been a doozy! I’ll remember many moments from 2019, and I’ll find it hard to believe that they all occurred within a single year.
The ball is dropping. What are you wishing for in the new year?
I will naively wish for peace on Earth. I will most certainly be disappointed.
AJJ’s seventh studio album Good Luck Everybody is due January 17. Pre-order it here.