Last year NYC cult punkers The Prissteens began enjoying a revival or sorts, maybe even a reevaluation, with the release of their ‘Demos & Rarities’ collection on Girlsville Records. Sales were strong and reviews were favorable, so it made sense that last Fall, Girlsville would digitally release a 4 song ‘Christmas EP’ to follow up the success of ‘Demos & Rarities’. The EP was built around a previously unreleased Spector-esque, Richard Gottehrer-produced yuletide anthem called “Christmas is a time for Giving’. As if that wasn’t enough it was paired with some rare and remastered B-sides, including a rippin’ variation of the The Undertones “Teenage Kicks”. It wasn’t long until Little Stevens Underground Garage took note. The Mighty Manfred did an exclusive interview with The Prissteens Mighty Joe Vincent on his show, and Little Steven chose “Christmas is a time for Giving” as the “Coolest Song in the World” and played it on his nationally syndicated radio show on Christmas day.
Fast forward to the holiday season that is upon us once again, Girlsville has decided to include the entirety of the Christmas EP on The Prissteens brand new ‘Demos & Rarities Volume 2’, giving the song it’s first proper physical release. You can still purchase the digital Christmas EP for a mere $4 over on the Girlsville Bandcamp, or go pick up the the CS/DL of The Prissteens ‘Demos & Rarities Volume 2’.
To celebrate the release we decided to ask Mighty Joe Vincent about this great big holiday classic. ENJOY!
50thirdand3rd: JOE! So it’s about that time of year as the holidays are almost upon us. I wanted to pick your brain about how The Prissteens “Christmas is a time for Giving” came about and what writing and recording that was like. Tell us everything!
Joe Vincent: I was talking to Howie Pyro (D-Generation) and he told me that Coney Island High (now defunct music venue in the East Village) was going to put out a Christmas album, and did we have anything for it. So I lied and said “Yeah man! We have a great Christmas tune! You’ll love it!”
So I had to come up with something. I went to Lori and told her “We have to write a Christmas song right now!” She said “Well, do you have anything?”
“I think I have an idea,” I said.
I swear, I don’t know where it came from, but I just sang the chorus to her right there, having given it no thought at all, just pure panic- driven inspiration. She was impressed and immediately picked up a guitar and found the chords to go with the melody, and we were on a roll. I think we finished the whole thing in about 15 minutes.
The Coney Christmas album never came to be, but when we went to do our album, we decided to recorded it then. Richard Gottherer wanted it to sound lush and thick, so we overdubbed loads of vocals and tambourines and bells and stuff to make it huge sounding. For the solo, Tina resourcefully came up with something on the xylophone in the studio. I think she was as surprised as everyone else that she could do that!