“It’s a Christmas/networking/holiday party,” explained Q Division co-owner Mike Denneen of the seventh annual bash held at Q’s Somerville studio a week ago Thursday night. The cuisine came from Whole Foods, the Miller from kegs. Four-hundred-plus local scenesters talked shop and floated from room to room in the spacious, homy facility, all the way back to a studio where 10 bands including the Rudds, Boone, Crown Victoria, and Frank Smith kept the music coming.
“It might be a cliché,” said Boone bassist Tim McGrath of the Christmas holiday, “but it’s so much more commercially oriented now. I’m still big on Christmas, but Santa Claus and Christmas trees have nothing to do with Christianity.” Top Heavy singer/guitarist Chris Wagner: “It used to be family, hearth, and home and it’s a little less now.” Johnny High-Test of the Incontinence said he grew up in a small town and used words like “magical” and “excited” to characterize his childhood memories of the holiday. Now? “I hate Christmas, I hate Christmas carols. I don’t want to hear Chrissie Hynde sing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’ I wanna sleep through the whole month.” And former Bristol Michele Haber? “I think I’d be too depressed if I answered that.”
Holding up the other side of the argument was her pal and fellow ex-Bristol Kim Ernst. “Christmas was the biggest day of my life as a kid and I still love it.” Barry Marshall, guitarist/producer for many groups, also loves the season. During the ’80s, he put on seven multi-band Christmas shows at Boston venues. “I don’t have kids, so I don’t get excited about that end, but Christmas music is great. And if you don’t get too freaked out and wired, it can be a relaxing time for the family.”
One band on the bill who surprised a lot of scenesters were the rocking boyish outfit the Click Five. But keyboardist Ben Romans still offered an opinion that sounded as if it had been tested for the talk-show circuit: “It’s family, a new magical quality, and [as an adult] you can celebrate with a whole other community.” In other words, the Q crowd. “You get a chance to stop for two seconds and feel you’re blessed by your friends and loved ones.” Romans was accompanied by his girlfriend, the most famous person at the party, Disney actress Christy Carlson Romano.
But Eli “Paperboy” Reed may have summed it up best. He was there to DJ in the lounge and play with his band the True Loves. Christmas doesn’t mean much to him. “I’m Jewish, so it’s kind of a non-event. But this is cool. I like DJing here.”