Jeff: We’ve been doing Mellowmas for quite a few years now, and I’ve noticed some themes emerge.

Jason: Torture?


Brown notes?

Jeff: All of those, yes, plus a few more. I’m going to name three of them, and you’re going to be so excited you won’t know what to do with yourself. Ready?


Jason: No.

Jeff: 1. Dolly Parton

Jason: Dollytoe!

Jeff: Yes!

2. Senseless duets

Jason: Dollytoe again!

Jeff: You’re getting the picture!

3. “Wonderful Christmastime”

Jason: Vrabeltoe!

Jeff: Yes, yes, and yes!

So, as you may know, the graying shell of what used to be Chicago recorded its third goddamn Christmas album this year.

Jason: Yes. At least four people have sent me information about it. And you bought it for me. Thank you.

Jeff: They were in the studio, flacidly leaking the last few drops of their creativity, and…well, I’ll let trumpeter Lee Loughnane tell the rest of the story.

“Dolly Parton was at the studio doing something else, and her producer came in to say hi. Then he said, Let me go get Dolly,’ and she agreed to sing. It was completely off the cuff. Dolly said, I came in to say hi, and the next thing I know, I’m singing!'”

Jason: I don’t know how I feel about this.

Jeff: He went on to describe her performance as “unmistakeably Dolly.”

Jason: Oh, wait, yes, I do. I don’t like it. Does “unmistakeably Dolly” mean “it sounds like a hooker”?

Jeff: “She is a nice lady, who really has her head together and seems to do all she can to help other people,” added Loughnane, increasingly desperate to keep a reporter’s attention.

And yes, all of those quotes are real.

Jason: What does he mean by “help other people”? As in “help our band sell a record”?

Jeff: Who knows? Who cares? All that matters is that Dolly Parton and Chicago came together to record Jeff Vrabel’s favorite song.

Jason: What do Chicago fans care about Dolly Parton, or vice-versa?

As much as I love torturing Vrabel, I’m kind of done with this song. Remember last year’s horrible version by that prick Tom MacRae?

Jeff: Maybe they can tell us in the comments. And maybe they can justify this album’s awful, awful title.

Jason: O Christmas Three? I actually like that title.

Jeff: You’re insane. And yes, I do remember Tom MacRae’s version, I think. It was all acoustic and Pitchforky and stuff, right?

Jason: Yes. Hipster dirge. I wanted to just kill him already and put him out of his, and our, misery.

Jeff: I’m going to go out on a limb and say “hipster dirge” might be preferable to what we’re about to hear.

Jason: I don’t know. Let’s give it a shot!

[NOTE: We originally had the mp3 here, along with a link to purchase the album, but Chicago’s publicist complained, so we’re removing both and replacing them with this scintillating morning show performance of the song. Dolly isn’t on it, but you’ll get the idea. Our favorite part: When the host calls the album “O Christmas Tree” while Loughnane tries to correct her. –Jeff and Jason]

[youtube id=”tUWrxRSc1Ig” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Jason: Oh fuck you, Jason Scheff.

Jeff: His voice sounds like Botox and margarine.

Jason: And there’s Dolly!

Jeff: Is she okay? She sounds cold and sick.

Jason: I think that’s just her voice.

Ahhh, the Chicago horns, collecting their paycheck.

Jeff: This arrangement isn’t much to write home about. “Collecting their paycheck” sums it up pretty well.

Jason: It’s not great, it’s not awful, it’s just kind of there. And unnecessary.

Oh FUCK! They changed around the “ding dong!” part!

Jeff: Ding dong ding dong ding!

Jason: At this point, you know Dolly was like, “Uh, I’ll just sit this part out.”

Jeff: This is really, really…limp.


Jason: Hasn’t Jason Scheff always been limp? Isn’t that the definition of his vocal quality? Always?

Also, I haven’t heard an ounce of Dolly Parton since the second verse.

Oh, there she is.

Jeff: I guess so, yeah. I don’t remember this oily sheen on his early vocals, though.

Jason: She got two lines in. Damn, Scheff, you couldn’t give Dolly just a wee bit more?

Jeff: Maybe she didn’t want to do more. Or hell, maybe she didn’t know she was being recorded. Robert Lamm said “Hey Dolly, do you know the words to ‘Wonderful Christmastime’?” And then she mumbled a few lines and backed out of the studio.

Jason: You know, I completely believe Loughnane’s story. No way was this premeditated, because she would have declined.

Jeff: I wonder. I’ve read a few stories about her, and she does seem like a really sweet lady. Some nutbag fan left a baby outside her home awhile back.

Jason: That was pretty rude of Scheff.

Jeff: I wouldn’t put anything past that guy. Except maybe recording a song I want to hear.

Jason: I have nothing really against Dolly. I was her face was actually a face, but I like her.

Jeff: This is how douchey Jason Scheff is:


[youtube id=”PawQ9CvLt9U” width=”600″ height=”350″]

When you’re using your fame to shill P90X with a guy named Dar Dixon, you need to pause for reflection.

Jason: “Now, I feel like I could almost be David Lee Roth.” You know, that’s probably not far from the truth, Jason.

Jeff: “Cut! Jason, let’s try that again, and maybe you could use a more recent frame of reference.”

“Now, I feel like I could almost be Steve Winwood.”


Jason: “Now, I feel like I could almost be Peter Cet…”

Jeff: Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Jason: Well, now I’ve watched Jason Scheff do pushups, and I want to punch you in the face.

Jeff: “Next up, Jason Scheff talks to us about MonaVie!”

Jason: Apparently he hangs out on the P90X message boards and offers weight loss tips. You know what you have to do.

Jeff: Oh man. Do you have access to a fat suit? I’m filling out my profile now. “Favorite things: super-sized milkshakes and Jason Scheff singing ‘Hard Habit to Break'”

Jason: I want before and after pics of you, just like Scheff’s!

Jeff: Fuck a diet. He needs new furniture! Did he take that picture at your grandmother’s house?

“I bought this chair with the royalty check from Chicago XXX.”

Jason: I’d like to think that the second picture was taken outside someone else’s house. “SCHEFF! How many times do I have to tell you? Get out of my driveway!”

Jeff: Or that there’s a can of Natty Light in his other hand.

Jason: “And put a goddamn shirt on!”

Jeff: “Just mowin’ mah neighbor’s lawn, doin’ the pee-90-ex…”

Jason: Well, that’s enough Scheff for me for one day, thanks. I might listen to the rest of this album when I have time, since you bought it for me.

Jeff: “Disclaimer: Jason Scheff’s weight loss was partly caused by the fact that members of Chicago cannot afford food.”

I did buy it for you. I hope Scheff can get himself a nice big order of fries with that. Meanwhile, congratulations to Dolly for emerging from this unnecessary nonsense with her dignity intact. Or something.

Jason: And we’ve included Dollytoe for one more year! Success!

Or something.

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?

View All Articles