99.1 WMYX has been playing all Christmas music all the time since Nov. 10 and, as their midday DJ, I feel like I’m becoming a bit of an expert on traditional tunes. I’ve been keen to find some off-the-wall and unique holiday musical offerings.
One of my favorite recent finds is local actor and singer Joel Kopischke’s CD, “I Got Yule, Babe.”
Kopischke brings you 16 novelty holiday tunes mulled in Milwaukee-ness with a variety of parodies and originals of different musical styles including polka, blues and pop music.
There’s a klezmer-flavored Hanukkah song called “That’s A Menorah” and even a Festivus song, so the word “holiday” is used for accuracy instead of political correctness.
The title track adapts Sonny & Cher’s hit “I Got You, Babe” into a duet by a couple ready to celebrate Christmas early. “Christmas in the Sun” is a send-up of the legendary quirky locals The Violent Femmes’ song “Blister in the Sun” with a wish for a snow-free Christmas and a suggestion to blame WMTJ TV meteorologist John Malan for our wintry weather. Other parodies take on Green Day, Barenaked Ladies and crooner Bobby Darin.
Kopischke’s resume includes a recurring role as Pee Wee Kaputish in In Tandem Theatre’s hit musical “A Cudahy Caroler Christmas.” Kopischke injects humor into that role and that performing experience helped him make the connection that he could creatively combine comedy and Christmas into the seasonal songs on “I Got Yule, Babe.” Members of the now defunct Milwaukee area band Feet of Clay and other local musicians played on and produced the CD. Other fun highlights include a rockin’ original called “A Harry Potter Christmas” complete with a children’s back-up choir, the slinky more-than-mistletoe “I’m Your Snowman, Baby,” and the parody “Bowling Wonderland” with a shout-out to Bay View Lanes.
There’s the possibility for a sequel CD. “I Got Yule, Babe” was created and released late in the holiday season last year, so there wasn’t room for an additional parody of the fast-paced hit “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies. Kopischke said, “We were on such a tight timeline and I knew that since the song is pretty complicated (at least vocally) that it would take more time than we had so that I left that one waiting for the next CD." He’s a big Brewers fan who’s attended Fantasy Camp and sung the National Anthem prior to several games, so I asked him if there’s a possibility for a baseball carol in the future. Kopischke is game to take a stab at my request -- “Baseball is a summertime tradition and I had trouble tying it in to Christmas. I'll work on it.”
Yet she still has more Milwaukee discoveries and delights to share with us here.
You'll be sorry if you ever ask her to attempt a British accent (it's awful), but she's always up for talking about all things English, Elvis and alternative ‘80s music (not necessarily in that order).