Kool and the Gang

The Twenty-Third Day of Mellowmas: Taint Sweat for the Holidays

Jeff: Ha ha! YES! It’s December 23rd. I’m virtually trembling with anticipation.


Jeff: Mellowmas has made me yearn for Christmas like I haven’t since I was a kid!

Jason: Mellowmas has made me yearn for an enclosed garage and a running vehicle.

Jeff: Back in the early ’80s, when Reagan was in the White House and all the best bands were still on the radio.

Jason: Oh, man. Don’t even get me started. Remember when you could flip to any radio station and just hear awesomeness?

Jeff: I do. I totally do. Pop, rock, and R&B, all rubbing shoulders in the Top 40. And sometimes even on the same album!

Jason: Yes! Music was…I don’t know. It was fresh. Exciting.

Jeff: Me listening to Chicago, you to Kenny Rogers.

Jason: It was so exciting to me.

Jeff: Me listening to Christopher Cross, you to Air Supply.

Jason: Both of us listening to Billy Joel.


Jason: Love you.

Jeff: I had Ruth Pointer’s Adam’s apple, you had…what, maybe Kool & the Gang? Weren’t you the one who loved their Indiana Jones video for that one song?

Jason: Yes! I think I covered that for CHART ATTACK! once. They were so good, man. Jo-aaanaaaa! I looooove yoooooou! Victory! Vic-toe-ree! Even goddamn “Celebration.” Loved ALL that stuff.

Jeff: And then, man, what happened to Kool & the Gang? The singer left and they hit the state fair circuit. So sad.

Jason: They totally got Commodore’d.

Jeff: Yes! But then, Jason, it got worse.

Jason: It did?

Jeff: Have you ever wondered what it might feel like to be “Kool for the Holidays”?

Jason: Funny you should ask. No, I haven’t. Gotta go!

Jeff: Get your ass back here! It’s time to hear what Kool & the Gang have been up to in 2013. Spoiler alert: It kind of sucks.

Jason: They’ve had a relatively productive year, haven’t they? They toured with Kid Rock. They opened for Dave Matthews Band. Didn’t they even tour with Van Halen?

Jeff: Holy shit, I forgot about that! They did tour with Van Halen!

Jason: And KID ROCK.

Jeff: I wonder if they took all that money and put it into the sessions for Kool for the Holidays. Spoiler alert: They did not.

Jason: You can tell I’m stalling, can’t you.

Jeff: We’ve had such fine luck with “The Little Drummer Boy” during Mellowmas, I feel like we should probably start there.

Jason: I can’t tell you how much I hate that song.

Jeff: Pa rum pa pum pum?

Jason: I just think it’s a really dumb song. And I can’t think of any versions I really like.

Jeff: I like the one with Whitney Houston and Molly Shannon. But otherwise, yeah, I’m with you.

Jason: Well, I guess the Bing/Bowie version. But that doesn’t really count.

Jeff: Maybe Kool & the Gang funk it up on the smooth R&B tip!

Jason: Spoiler alert: they do not?

Jeff: You’re getting the hang of this. Shall we?

Kool and the Gang, “The Little Drummer Boy”

Jeff: *sigh*

Jason: Oh, what the hell is THIS?

Jeff: …Kool?

Jason: Kool is dead, Jeff.

Jeff: Well, we have live horns anyway.

Jason: At least that’s a real trumpet.

Jeff: Oh, you’re right. One live horn doubled with a synth. And all kinds of obnoxious bullshit going on everywhere else in the mix.

Jason: I have slightly greater tolerance for this if it’s truly an instrumental.

Jeff: I feel like if Vanilla Ice had recorded a Christmas album in 1991, it might have sounded like this.

Jason: Cool as Icemas!

Jeff: Ugh, the vocals.

Give the drummer some, Jason.

Jason: Oh, is that what they’re saying? I thought they were saying “Get drunk, son!”

Jeff: Is it ironic or sad that there are no actual drums on this track?

Jason: You think those bongos are canned?

Jeff: Bongos? I just hear a dying 808 and that farting noise.

Jason: By the way, I canned your mom’s bongos the other night.

Jeff: *cackle*

Jason: Oh shit! Sax!

Jeff: For the 20th time this Mellowmas, I find myself surprised that a song is technically shorter than it feels.

Jason: Yeah, seriously. I’m bored.

Jeff: You know, if they had bothered to cut this with a live band, it would have been fun.

Jason: Wow, 20-second fadeout.

Jeff: They had to make sure Not Herb Alpert got his last few licks in!

More than anything, I think I’m sad that Kool & the Gang didn’t record that in 1981. I don’t know what they were thinking with this cruddy automated arrangement.

Jason: Even better would have been a 1973 Christmas album.

Jeff: Hell yes. FUNKY. Kool & the Gang: Taint Sweat for the Holidays.

Jason: Also the name of your mother’s 2009 Christmas album! Including the “Kool & the Gang” part.

Jeff: That’s how Kool died!

Jason: Who knew Kool was allergic to Penicillin?

Jeff: Well, we’re sitting here lamenting how great Kool & the Gang used to be. Should we give them another chance?

Jason: Sure, why not! I’m confident they will improve upon what we just heard! Spoiler alert: I’m not confident they will improve upon what we just heard.

Jeff: How about we go walking in the Gang’s “Winter Wonderland”?

Jason: I feel like this track will not evoke Winter or a Wonderland, but sure, why the hell not.


Jason: Wait a second.

Jeff: NO, NO, NO

Jason: Is that a female?

Jeff: NO

Jason: Multiple females? Since when are there women in Kool & the Gang?

Jeff: The singing is the least of our worries.

Jason: Jeff, have you seen the chords for this song? All but one of them seem to have disappeared.

Jeff: What…what is the thinking here? Who is the target demographic? Is there a club anywhere in the world that’s going to play this?

Jason: Ours? Well, I think that’s it’s that we’re looking for shitty…oh. Good question.

Jeff: Oh good, a rap.

Jason: It’s Nicki Minaj’s non-union equivalent!

Jeff: I think she rapped about pumpkin pie at one point. I admit I don’t mind this guitar solo.

Jason: Yeah, they’re at least in tune. #brighteyes

Jeff: Everything else about this song can die and go to hell.

Jason: This is ridiculous.

Oh good. I believe we’re breaking it down.

Jeff: Much like Kool & the Gang have done!

Jason: They ended it with a fucking scale.

Jeff: Ugh, Jason. Ugh. Isn’t this band’s main audience like 50 years old right now?

Jason: You’d think so, right? But they opened for Kid Rock!

Jeff: I’m fascinated by whatever thought process prompted a club banger version of “Winter Wonderland.”
I feel like Kid Rock would have put a stop to this if he’d known about it.

Jason: Look, I haven’t listened to a Kool & the Gang song since “Victory,” so I have no idea what has brought them to this point.

Jeff: I’m just very sad.

Jason: Look on the bright side: at least the Commodores didn’t release a Christmas album this year.

Jeff: Wait, are the Commodores still together? Do they get to open for Uncle Kracker, Train, and Bon Jovi?

Jason: I don’t know, but they DID release a Christmas album in 1992. I’m just saying…

  • http://sportsmyriad.com Beau

    Where are you guys hearing Kool is dead? Still alive as far as I can tell.

    I didn’t mind these tracks. The Drummer Boy take was silly but kind of fun.

    Maybe I just mellowed after seeing Cecily Strong’s wonderful take on “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” Nothing seems to bother –

    Oh wait … I just hit the rap section of “Winter Wonderland.” I think the guitarist broke into the solo just to shut that off tout suite.

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    The Kool and the Gang video with the Indiana Jones parody was for “Misled.” We talked about it on Episode 16 of the podcast.


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=679113018 MichaelWSP

    “Jeff: I do. I totally do. Pop, rock, and R&B, all rubbing shoulders in the Top 40. And sometimes even on the same album!

    Jason: Yes! Music was…I don’t know. It was fresh. Exciting.

    Jeff: Me listening to Chicago, you to Kenny Rogers.

    Jason: It was so exciting to me.”

    Jason did this just to get “Fresh (fresh!)” in everyone’s head. It totally worked. Jason is a bastard.

  • http://popdose.com MatthewBolin

    Well, since it’s here, I guess this is the best time to break out my Kool and the Gang story again…..

    In the mid-90s my best friend’s girlfriend was spending a semester abroad in Indonesia. She and the other girls in the exchange program went out one night and ended up in the bar of this hotel. And in the bar….Kool & the Gang. And every member proceeded to successfully hit on all the girls there with the exception of my friend’s girlfriend (at least, that’s how she told it). One of the members (don’t know if it was Kool or not), actually used the line “You know, you look like a natural kind of woman….I’ve got some brown rice and tahini up in my room”.

    Anyway, considering the results of that night, we refer to that Indonesian encounter as “Kool & the Gangbang”

    Happy Holidays everybody!

  • Scott Peterson

    I totally thought they were saying “get drunk, son!” And the longer the track went on, the more it seemed like pretty solid advice.

    Having said that, I actually kinda liked “Winter Wonderland.” The one-chord with chickenscratch guitar approach was legitimately pretty fonky, although the vocals veered up into aural power drill territory at times, and the rap seemed more sad than modern. Still, I’d say this is in the top 10% of Mellowmas material. (Not meaning to damn with faint praise or nothin’.)

  • Jay

  • http://www.interbridge.com/lineups.html trow125
  • Rob Ross

    You mentioned Bowie/Der Bingle’s shitty drummer boy thing, but you are aware that Craig Kilborn and Bob’s Mould did a parody of it on the old “Daily Show” ( you know, Mould supplied the theme song, titled “Dog In Heat” and has never been sued by the ex-members of The Chords since it’s really a song called “It’s No Use” – the minute you hear the riff, you yell “rip off”.)

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    I think Jason was kidding. That’s the way I took it at the time, anyway.

  • http://www.jasonhare.com jasonhare

    I was talking about “Kool” as a state of mind!

  • http://www.jasonhare.com jasonhare

    I was disappointed that Jeff didn’t pick up on this during the conversation.

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    Shut your face.