Jeff: Well, well, well! Look who’s back for more Mellowmas.

Jason: Who, me? You didn’t give me a choice! You said 25 days — I keep pushing for us to go back to 12. It was a simpler time! Only half my month was ruined!

Jeff: You want to let down all our readers?

Jason: ….YES!

Jeff: Actually, I think they might be okay with that, especially after we listen to today’s track.

So I was thinking, Jason.

Jason: slams head on desk

Jeff: We’ve listened to a lot of different stuff this Mellowmas, from a lot of different genres — including a surprising amount of actual mellow gold! But there’s one thing we’ve been missing, and it’s this: A holiday record from a former soap star.

Jason: Is this something you’ve uncovered while doing interviews for your book (plug plug)?

Jeff: No, this is something I uncovered…I forget how, honestly. But that isn’t the point. The point is that chart-topping soap sensation Michael Damian has recorded a Christmas album.

Jason: Michael Damian? Rock on! HA HA HA HA HA HA kill me

Jeff: You’re going to love the title: Michael Damian Family & Friends Christmas Special.

Michael Damian

Jason: I can hear the announcer now!

Jeff: Who are his friends? Where did this special air? I have no idea. I can tell you, though, that it includes a Korean version of “Silent Night.”

Also a cover of “Fun, Fun, Fun.”

And Mozart’s “Concerto in D Minor.”

Oh! And a Damianized version of “Last Christmas”!

Jason: OH GOD NO.

Jeff: Don’t worry, we won’t be listening to any “Last Christmas.” TODAY.

Jason: I’m jumping in front of a car right after we finish this chat, so no worries there.

Jeff: Instead, I thought it might be fun to hear a Michael Damian holiday original: “Christmas Time Without You.”

Jason: You have a fucked-up definition of “fun.”

Jeff: Let us pause and reflect on those words: Michael Damian holiday original.

Jason: Yes, let’s pause.

Let’s pause for a while.

Jeff: I guess it’s kind of unfair of me to poke fun, because I’ve never listened to any of his records, but in my defense, I never felt like I needed to, because his version of “Rock On” sucked.

Jason: SHH! I’m still reflecting. I need absolute quiet.

Come back tomorrow.

Jeff: Michael Damian isn’t going anywhere, Jason.

Seriously, he probably isn’t.

Jason: “This album includes ‘Christmas Time Without You’, which has already become a Christmas classic, continuing to receive extensive airplay every year in both the United States and Canada.”

Jeff: I guess I should stop again to provide a limited defense of Michael Damian, which is this: He’s gone on to carve out a career as the director of such straight-to-video fare as A Princess for Christmas and Flicka: Country Pride. As well as, uh, Marley & Me: The Puppy Years.

Jason: I should find the person who wrote this, grab them by the throat and hold them up against the wall, and DEMAND explanation on how it’s already a Christmas classic. Just because you say it doesn’t make it true. Is Michael Damian a Republican?

Jeff: You’re asking for more information than I have. I’m honestly not even sure which soap he was on.

Jason: Sorry, sorry. I’ll leave politics out of Mellowmas. It’s unbearable enough.

Jeff: True. I’m going to get through this by imagining Michael Damian Family & Friends performing “Christmas Time Without You” in front of the world’s most bewildered live studio audience.

Jason: I’m reading the reviews of this CD.

There are three.

“This album makes me wish I were from a big family.”

Jeff: Oh God, my heart just broke!

Jason: Clearly all written by family members of Larry Weir, and I don’t even know who he is.

Oh, it’s Michael Damian’s brother — as is Tom Weir. What is it with soap stars recording a Christmas album with their two brothers?

Granted, the last time we did this, it turned out really well. The Francis brothers were awesome sports.

Jeff: Yeah, have we ever talked about the wonderful email we received from one of Genie’s brothers?

Jason: No, I don’t think we have! I thought it was in the comments, but I was wrong!

Jeff: Well, not to spoil anything for our loyal readers, but it sounds like we might be getting a Genie Francis Christmas album sequel! Fingers crossed, right, fuckers?

In the meantime, here’s dumb old Michael Damian — who, to his credit, didn’t just add sleigh bells to a re-recording of “Rock On.”

Jason: “Rock On ’12.”

Jeff: “(holiday mix)”

Michael Damian, “Christmas Time Without You” (download)

Jason: Nice opening.

Jeff: Ah, acoustic guitars. Good for you, Michael Damian. But why did he have to start singing?

Jason: Now I’m wondering if I saw him in Joseph years ago. I can’t remember if it was him or Osmond, but I think it was him. Either that or he was on the soundtrack, which I regrettably owned at one point.

Jeff: Well, this is thoroughly mellow, at least.

Jason: The horns are sort of jarring.

Jeff: This actually sounds like it might have been recorded in a supermarket. Cahndlelight and wine!

Oh God, this is so cheesy.

Jason: One of the reviews called the horns “Chicago-esque.” Which is not true, because one of those trumpets is flat.

Jeff: He keeps saying “another Christmastime without you,” which makes me wonder what exactly is happening in these lyrics.

Jason: Wow, what a truly awful bridge. And a key change…I think?

Jeff: Yeah, and now that you’ve pointed out the flat trumpet, I’m mesmerized.

Acoustic guitar solo! SO ANTICLIMACTIC

Jason: Na na na, Jeff!

Jeff: And a na-na-na!

Jason: Oh man, that just made the track for me.

Jeff: Michael Damian Gives Up Christmas Special

How do we still have 30 seconds left?

Jason: It’s like someone told him the song had to contain 500 words and he was 10 words short.

Jeff: snicker Flourish!

Jason: That was funny. It was kind of unoffensive, and yet so bland.

Jeff: So what just happened there? Were you able to pick out a story in the lyrics?

Jason: You think I could hear anything other than that one goddamn trumpet?

Jeff: He kept talking about how it was another Christmas without her, and then suddenly she kept reappearing, as if in a vision or a memory — which leads me to believe the song’s protagonist was masturbating in a flophouse somewhere. This should have been a Tom Waits song, no?

Jason: Well, thanks for that image.

Jeff: Oh, you’re welcome.

Jason: It certainly helps explain the cover art.

Jeff: uncontrollable giggling

Jason: I see one hand, but…

Jeff: And the loosened tie! He’s down on his luck. The Christmas grimace, it looks like a smile.

Oh hey, you know what you were saying about “Rock On ’12”? It looks like you were off by three years. His most recent studio album is 2009’s Rock On, which includes the song “Rock On (09 Version).” As well as “Christmas Time Without You.” And now I’m just sad, Jason.

Jason: “And there’s an amazing vocal duet by a couple of Michael’s nieces who sound like a female version of Simon and Garfunkel.” There’s not enough money in the world, Jeff.

Jeff: They meant Harper Simon and James Garfunkel.

Jason: You know what’s scary? I think I knew about “Rock On (09 Version).”

Jeff: Are you sure you aren’t mixing him up with Benny Mardones?

Jason: But I definitely didn’t know Michael Damian’s real last name was Weir. So at the end of the day, I think I still win. And by “win,” of course, you know what I mean.

Jeff: You mean Mellowmas.

Jason: Exactly. Rock on.

About the Author

Jeff Giles and Jason Hare

Two people, separate rooms Trying to hurt the other Bound together by destiny Is there nothing they won’t do? Will we never see them through?

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