Jeff: So, Jason, as I keep pointing out: this is our fifth Mellowmas.
Jason: Jeff, as I keep saying, stop fucking reminding me that this is our fifth Mellowmas.
Jeff: Well, I can’t help it. It’s making me feel all nostalgic and stuff.
Jason: Well, ’tis the season. Golden days of yore, etc.
Jeff: Exactly! Golden days of yore. Like, back when you found me at the old Jefitoblog.
Jason: I remember that! Back in 2005! That site was awesome.
Jeff: Well, thanks. Do you remember how you found it?
Jason: Of course I do! One night, I knelt at the foot of my bed and prayed to the patron saint McD that I would meet someone who shared my musical taste and didn’t flinch when I hugged and kissed him in public.
Jeff: Wait, are you Joseph Smith?
Jason: …who the hell is Joseph Smith? Are you cheating on me?
Jeff: Never mind, dum dum dum dum dum. Let’s keep going with the story.
Jason: I know who you’re talking about. And no, I’m not Joseph Smith. Anyway, the very next day, I was visiting Stereogum, and they had posted something from your site. I believe it was the Idiot’s Guide to Toto.
Jeff: Toto, you say? shit-eating grin
Jason: Yeah, Toto. Why do you…oh, wait a second. What the fuck is up your sleeve?
Jeff: Well, it’s like this.
Jason: I hate this story already.
Jeff: The other day, when you were crying about how the Warner Bros. Yulesville! collection didn’t have any T’Pau tracks, I got this idea.
Jason: I hate it when you get ideas.
Jeff: I started snooping around on YouTube for T’Pau Christmas songs, see? There aren’t any, but I started randomly plugging in the names of other jiveass ’80s artists…
Jason: I hate it when you start randomly plugging in the names of other jiveass ’80s artists.
Jeff:…such as Toto…
…and boy, did I find some things.
Jason: I hate it when you find some things.
Jeff: Now, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t actually find any Toto Christmas songs. But as you may know, Toto has had about a dozen lead singers.
Jason: I was hoping for “Rosanta.”
Jeff: Dammit, now I want to hear “Rosanta.”
Jason: Well, we can always hope for them to pull a Tommy Tutone. But anyway. You were saying about all their singers?
Jeff: Yes. Former lead singers of Toto. Um, as you might guess, being the lead singer of Toto isn’t exactly a springboard to bigger and brighter careers.
Jason: Right. It’s the musicians who get to have all the fun. The singers just kind of…well, I don’t know what they do. I can’t say I’ve ever heard anything else by any lead singers of Toto.
Jeff: The post-Toto bios of these guys tend to include phrases like “big in Japan” and “lawsuit preventing the use of the word ‘Toto’ in concert advertisements.”
Jason: Ha ha ha! “A concert featuring the voice of the band named after the dog in The Wizard of Oz!”
Jeff: Which is sad for them, but awesome for Mellowmas, because I found two Christmas songs by former lead singers of Toto!
Jason: No way! Songs by Bobby Kimball and…and…wait a second. I don’t think I know the names of any other lead singers from Toto.
Jeff: clears throat
Jason: Somewhere, Matt Wardlaw has a boner.
Jeff: And, of course, Steve Lukather, who doesn’t count because he has a Twitter account and might read this and could probably break both of our necks with a single puff of his dough-scented breath.
Jason: Okay. Him, I knew.
Jeff: So yeah, I found a Christmas song by Bobby Kimball, who sang for Toto from 1977-1982 and then again from 1998-200x, and also one by Joseph Williams, who held the mic from 1986-1988.
Jason: Oh God.
Jeff: I’m pretty sure both of them are from random Japanese compilations. As far as Mellowmas is concerned, I totally LOVE the phrase “random Japanese compilations.”
Jason: Oh, I hope these tracks are big and keyboard-y and earnest.
Jeff: I’m right there with you, brother. The Bobby Kimball song is called “Red Nosed Reindeer,” which is what I’m pretty sure the other members of Toto were calling Bobby Kimball before they fired him for being a drug-addled lunatic. Which is kind of mean. They should just call Bobby Kimball what I’ve always called him: “A pudgier Mickey Thomas.”
Jason: OH MY GOD THAT’S TOTALLY WHO HE IS! But wait. So it’s not a cover of “Rudolph”?
Jeff: I have no idea. But I’m crossing my fingers and making a Mellowmas wish for an original number having nothing to do with Rudolph.
Jason: I think we need to tackle both of these songs. Let’s give the readers what they really don’t want.
Jeff: Ready for a red nose?
Bobby Kimball — Red Nosed Reindeer (download)
From a random Japanese compilation
Jason: Oooh, pretty keyboards.
Jeff: I feel like I’m sitting at the bar in a Holiday Inn.
Jason: Yeah, suddenly the track got overblown, and then it was back to piano again.
Jeff: What the hell is Bobby Kimball singing about? I think I just heard something about a seat in second class.
Jason: This song is totally autobiographical! And do trains still have second class? Jesus, this guy really lives in the past.
Jeff: These vocals are…watery.
Jason: He saw her tears fall on his sleeve, Jeff. Listen to that overblown chorus!
Jeff: What is happening here? Why is he singing about a red-nosed reindeer all of a sudden?
Jason: What’s happening? A producer let a keyboardist loose in a studio full of synths somewhere in Los Angeles.
Jeff: “I’ll be our Santa Claus and I’ll bring us both back home.” Oh, wow. How about that guitar solo? That IS a guitar, right?
Jason: Yeah, sadly, that’s a real guitar.
Jeff: He’s holding his teddy bear and it smells like her perfume! Oh my God, I’m going to be sick!
Jason: Hey, backing vocals! “Just pretend!”
Jeff: Is it just me, or does Bobby Kimball sound like he might not really be singing?
Jason: “The scent of your sweet love!” Ewww! Didn’t Bobby Kimball sing in a range two octaves higher?
Jeff: His pitch is all over the place. It sounds like someone spliced together clips of Bobby Kimball talking.
Jason: I have no idea what the hell he’s talking about here. I do know that it’s awful and schmaltzy and contrived and zzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Jeff: Or maybe this was made from a warped 45. Jason, this might be the most Mellowmas song of all time.
Jason: So wait, he’s singing to a red-nosed reindeer?
Jeff: Or to Santa. Or to his underage girlfriend’s legal guardian. Ah, now he’s yelling. Good.
Jason: I think Bobby Kimball wants to be Dennis DeYoung, but just doesn’t have the range anymore.
Jeff: Yes! I can totally hear Dennis DeYoung jizzing all over this song.
Jason: I wish you a merrrrrreh Christmas! Oh, listen to that overblown ending.
Jason: I think I’ve said the word “overblown” like three times now.
Jason: Ha! Afterthought sleigh bells!
Jeff: I feel like I was just thrown clear of a horrible car accident.
Jason: That was, like, six different kinds of lame.
Jeff: Only six? His mustache is at least six different kinds of lame.
Jason: Maybe he ate Mickey Thomas.
Jeff: No, you know what’s funny?
Jeff: I did a Google image search for “Bobby Kimball looks like Mickey Thomas,” and guess what I found?
Jason: What did you find?
Jeff: BOBBY KIMBALL TOURED WITH MICKEY THOMAS’ STARSHIP THIS YEAR. Imagine the mustache power!
Jason: Ha! Look at that! He totally did! But it looks like Mickey had the good sense to keep the mustache off. I think he’s been mustache-free since the early ’80s.
Jeff: Which is bullshit. That tour should have included a portion of the program where Bobby and Mickey made the audience guess which was which.
Jason: You’re looking at this picture, right?
Jason: Is that Bobby Kimball? That could be Danny McBride.
Jeff: And there’s the next Funny or Die video!
Jason: Mickey’s all busy singing. Bobby looks like he’s pretending the microphone is a cheeseburger.
Jeff: That picture is mesmerizing. I wish I could interview everyone in the audience at that show.
Jason: “Dear audience: why?”
Jeff: Exactly. “Dear Bobby Kimball: why?” I wouldn’t ask Mickey Thomas. I know why from him. He just sucks.
Jason: I wonder if the other guy’s song is as bad. Who is it again? Joseph Smith?
Jeff: Almost. Joseph Williams! Singer of such Toto classics as…uh…”Pamela“?
Jason: Joseph Williams sang “Pamela”?
Jeff: You remember “Pamela”? I mean, I loved that song, but I figured I was pretty much the only one.
Jason: Nope! Wasn’t that supposed to be a “comeback” song for them? I like that song! Good chorus! Pamela! Don’t break this heart of mine! Just remember, it may not heal this time!
Jeff: I think the biggest hit Toto had while Joseph Williams was in the band was “I’ll Be Over You,” but Lukather took the lead vocals on that one. With backing vocals from, of course, our patron saint McD.
Jason: Oh, that’s right. I remember that video.
Jeff: So Joseph Williams coked himself out of the Toto gig in ’88, and since then, he’s been — you guessed it — big in Japan.
Jason: So it’s down to the Battle of the Former Toto Lead Singers, huh?
Jeff: Bobby Kimball has been off doing rock ‘n’ roll fantasy camps and cutting “orchestral hits of Toto” projects in Germany, but Joseph Williams has stuck with his bread and butter: recording goopy keyboard ballads for his Japanese fans. Which would seem to make him a natural for Mellowmas. And bonus: this song is called “Christmas Eve”!
Jason: You can’t make me listen to it on Christmas Eve, Jeff. I’ll listen to it today, but probably never again after.
Jeff: I can make you listen to it any time I want. Just for that, we’ll listen to it on the Fourth of July.
Jason: That’s fine. I’m okay with listening to it on a day when firecrackers are nearby. They can either drown out the song, or I can shove one down your throat.
Jeff: Who knows? You might love it.
Jason: That’s true. I’ve been singing “Warm Lovin’ Christmastime” most of the month.
Joseph Williams — Christmas Eve (download)
From a random Japanese compilation
Jason: Ha! Double overblown!
Jeff: I’m back in the ’80s! Oh, this is incredible.
Jason: Oh man, this is way, waaaaaaaay bigger than Kimball’s!
Jeff: That guitarist has already played three solos, I think.
Jason: Synthy! So synthy!
Jeff: Silent night — howwoooly night!
Jason: Listen to that emotion!
Jeff: This is the Mellowmas song I’ve waited my whole life for.
Jason: Ha ha ha! The fire starts BARRRRRNIN!
Jeff: Yeah! What note was that?
Jason: I think it was an H.
Jeff: I think it was “Has-Been Flat.”
Jason: This is kind of awesome! It’s like a Christmas movie montage song!
Jeff: Wait, what’s happening to the melody? This is a different song now. And now here’s a guitar solo! They’re just making this up as they go along.
Jason: “Just make it big, fellas!”
Jason: What the FUCK?
Jeff: This song is batshit! I love it! My favorite part: I’m pretty sure that’s a drum machine. I love picturing Joseph Williams giving himself a hernia doing the vocals for this.
Jason: Oh, that’s DEFINITELY a drum machine.
Jeff: HOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooly night!
Jason: I love that he keeps going back to this “silent night, holy night” bullshit.
Jeff: Hold on, I’m acid-washing my jeans.
Jason: I’m serious, this would have fit perfectly into A Karate Kid Christmas.
“Listen to the snow fall!” SNOWFALL IS SILENT, YOU MORON.
Jeff: I’m so glad this song is still going. And I love that Joseph Williams just told me to “listen to the snowfall” while his asshole guitar player was noodling all over the background.
Dammit, now it’s over.
Jason: I can’t believe it faded out. All that pomp and hair spray, and it faded out.
Jeff: Mellowmas will never get better than this.
Jason: You know, I am genuinely at the point where I don’t know the difference between good and bad anymore. Was that good? I don’t know. I know I liked it, but I’m not sure I liked it for the right reasons.
Jeff: If loving this song is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I just want to listen to it over and over again, and then I want you to sign my yearbook.
Jason: Jeff & Jason BFF!
Jeff: KIT 4EVER!
Jason: Well, I guess I can’t really fault it. After all, it’s a part of the Toto legacy, which includes putting the two of us together.
Jeff: Which is why I thought it’d be perfect to cover these songs today, and I was toto-lally right. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
Jeff: Ahhh. I hate you, John Popper.
Jason: You know, if you really think about this…without Toto, Mellowmas might never have existed. I guess we owe Toto a few debts of gratitude here.
Jeff: I was just going to say that I was sure now is not the time to get you to admit Toto has done a good thing here, but you’ve surprised me. It really is a warm lovin’ Mellowmas, isn’t it?
Jason: It’s more than that, Jeff.
It’s a silent night.
A HOOOOOOOOOOOooooly night.
Jeff: I think I hear the snowfall! It sounds like cocaine through a Marshall stack.
Jason: Thank you, washed-up former Toto lead singers!
Jeff: Bless you, red-nosed reindeer all over the world!