Christmas comes early when The Yule Logs hit Crepe Place
It turns out the North Pole is a whole lot closer than you think. In a humble cottage in Chico, referred to as “The Yule Lodge,” four loyal elves spread Christmas cheer year-round through song. And this week, the pop-rock outfit, led by frontman Marty Parker, brings glad tidings to The Crepe Place.
Decking the halls has been The Yule Logs’ M.O. since 2005, when Parker befriended Chico State alumnus and drummer Jake Sprecher. Soon, two more Chico State alumni, bassist Kirt Lind and guitarist Maurice Spencer, joined, sharing what Sprecher refers to as Parker’s “bizarre affinity for the holiday spirit.”
Their love of eggnog and snowmen led to a cohesive musical bond. “We’ve all known each other for so long, that we’re good at giving one another a hard time and laughing at ourselves,” says Sprecher. “We do take our band really seriously with recording and marketing, but there is a certain tongue-in-cheek aspect. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but seriously enough; we are niche-oriented.”
This particular niche, of course, is the band’s ’60s-inspired beach-pop that emerged out of a variety of influences, which Sprecher describes as “the melting pot of pop music”: The Who, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Guided by Voices and psychedelic rock god Roky Erickson, whose song “I Walked with a Zombie,” paved the way for The Yule Logs’ own “I Walked with a Reindeer.” Lind’s DJ background, and subsequent knowledge of the electronic genre, also factors into the group’s catchy sound.
The band certainly lives up to its label, “the hardest working band in snow business,” as evidenced by the way they self-released both their debut, self-titled album and their sophomore masterpiece, 2010’s Walked With a Reindeer.
And, in case you’re wondering, it’s on their most recent release that the band members reveal what they (not so) secretly hope Santa will bring. In the opening lines of “That Girl (for Christmas),” Parker sings, “Mother, can’t you see, I wanted that girl for Christmas?” The rest of the guys then chime in, “not the 10-speed bicycle I got for Christmas.”
Sprecher isn’t too shy to admit that he wishes Canadian actress Evangeline Lilly, who starred as Kate on ABC’s “Lost,” would magically appear under the mistletoe. According to him, she would definitely surpass the Nintendo Power Glove he received as a child, on his best-Christmas-presents-of-all-time list. “I was really excited to get it as a kid, but then I hated it!” he recalls.
Perhaps it’s these types of juicy secrets buried within their songs, that help The Yule Logs to create a personal connection with their diverse fan base, which Sprecher classifies as anyone between the ages of four to five, to college students, to grandparents. “We can be sincere with the kids and off the wall for the bar crowds,” says Sprecher. “Our shows are some bizarre Disney movie that everybody likes somehow.”
The band’s “Xmas in July” tour is guaranteed to rock your stockings off as it passes through Santa Cruz with Uni & Her Ukelele. Beginning with the band’s pre-show ritual of “Log Huddling”—Sprecher defines the tradition as: a comical, football-esque tension breaker where the guys put their hands together and yell “Logs!”—and ending with blisters after you’ve danced the night away, the line-up is a recipe for merrymaking.
Besides “ugly sweaters” (Sprecher swears they’re cool), the drummer says fans can “expect to see four guys that really sell-out at the show—and by sell-out, I mean really enjoy it. We genuinely love playing this music because we use the word Christmas over and over again, but if you take the lyrics away, you’re just listening to pop-rock music.” From the looks of it, The Yule Logs’ enviable style will never go out of season.
The Yule Logs play at 9 p.m. Thursday, July 14, at The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.
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