Death May Be Your Santa Claus

Like most others, I had never heard of, much less heard, Mott the Hoople before David Bowie gave the band its first (and only, in the U.S.) hit, “All the Young Dudes.” But I have since come to believe their previous album, Brain Capers, . . .

. . . is their best. Years before punk spat in people’s faces (although I discovered the record only while backtracking punk, previously knowing only the later, glam Mott), the frustrated band was berating would-be fans for ignoring them:

While there is a certain amount of irony in the fact that only fans would have heard this song in the first place, they are hardly the first musicians to “preach to the choir.”

I always thought the title, “Death May Be Your Santa Claus” (which never appears in the lyrics), was an amazing punk negation. Years later, I received Goodbye, Babylon, Dust-to-Digital’s amazing 5 CD collection of raw gospel music, along with a CD of old fire and brimstone sermons, as a Christmas present and discovered the title originated in J.M. Gates’s fire and brimstone railing against the focus of Christmas being shifted from the gift of Christ to more material gifts:

As my old 9:30 club t-shirt says: “. . . remember SANTA spelled sideways is SATAN”



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