Alternative Pop singer/songwriter Anthony Pomes has a holiday hit or two for those who are tired of the usual festive fare. The first number is “Daniel’s Sled”. “Daniel’s Sled” is a satirical spoken word piece backed with music by multi-instrumentalist, producer and fellow Mostly Moptop member John Tabacco.
It’s a bit much for children and perhaps even slightly too dark for Dr. Demento and yet quite fitting for the sometimes cynical college radio crowd. This torrid tuneful tale of gruesome holiday hijinx harkens back to the 1990s. Originally, Pomes had performed in the band White Noise “at the invite of singer/songwriter team Nick DiMauro and John Tabacco” he recalls.
“Meeting and then getting to know Tabacco as a friend and musical cohort . . . really snapped many parts of my musical life into alignment. Tabacco was doing things in his music and his songwriting that was just mind-blowing for me. I knew that I had met another musical spirit from which I could learn and to which I could contribute a lot of fire and energy” states Pomes.
John Tabacco recalls: “We completed that one in 1998. It’s from one of my CDs called A Presbyter’s Dementia which was finished in 2002 but officially released digitally in 2007.” Tabacco notes that Pomes also appears as the guitar soloist on the Tabacco/Meryl Mathews cut, “Hey Junior (What’s That Cloud That Hangs On You?)” which features lead vocals by Donna Bach-Heitner.
He states: “It’s a funny disc, a little like Hits Duh Bah Tomb Lion but with more songs than collages.” In fact, that CD includes portions of another Christmas cut Tabacco wrote with Gian DiMauro titled “Rudolph Don’t Burn Out Your Red Nose”. The accompanying music video even includes vocal accompaniment by Marci Geller. Tobacco notes: “The actual studio recording is on the CD: Fancy Monster – The Best Of Gearhead Freaks.
APresbyter’s Dementia, however, focuses largely on aspects of the season that are not typically explored on standard Christmas releases. Tabacco elaborates: “My views on ignorance and religious hypocrisy (‘Lock and Load My Sweet Baby Jesus’) mingle with my own bizarre experiences in the Catholic church (‘Catholicity Hokum’) alongside three Christmas classics: The Gearhead Freaks’ Spike Jones-infested ‘Blame It On Christmas Day’, the beautiful existential Christmas ballad ‘Christmas And I Am Not Afraid’ and the insane prose (and speaking voice) of Anthony Pomes on the downright horrific Christmas tale ‘Daniel’s Sled’. “
Pomes adds: “You can definitely consider ‘Daniel’s Sled’ a Pomes/Tabacco collaboration. It was a spoken piece at first . . . then John put music to it.” When questioned about the reception of “Daniel’s Sled” Pomes responded: “I haven’t had one person listen to that piece without having some kind of reaction. Like it or hate it, you know you’re alive when you listen to that one.”
He makes no apologies for what he calls his “savage holiday-season satire” and its oft’times disturbing images evoked by the work. He does, however, offer an explanation as to its origins: “The holiday season can be a very upsetting time actually. The pressure to keep up and to consume is often insane and there is definitely some kind of horror that stands behind much of it. “
Pomes continues: “I saw its face and I decide to share what I saw in the piece. If it upsets people, it probably just means that I did something right.” As we discussed this on December 8th, the anniversary of John Lennon’s death, Pomes commented: “In homage to Lennon on this sad day, you might consider this one song on that album from John as my ‘A Day in the Life’–just as dark, and not complete without John’s music – just as Lennon’s ‘I read the news today, oh boy’ wasn’t complete until married with McCartney’s ‘Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head’ middle section.”
Finally, Pomes, who has served as an Advisory Board Member for The John Lennon Center for Music & Technology in New York for over 5 years, reminds more conservative Christmas music fans that he also has “a more conventionally satisfying holiday song” on his most recent release Alternative Pop. It’s titled “Dec. 23rd” (and was reviewed in a previous piece on Pomes). For those of you looking for variety in your holiday hits, “Daniel’s Sled” is available as a single track online from iTunes and Amazon. The complete A Presbyter’s Dementia disc is –As Tabacco puts it—“for the certifiable nut that lives inside your religion . . . and is available at CDbaby.com.”