When I was a kid in the 1980's, frequently visiting my aunt and uncle on a Sunday after church, my brother and I would often request to watch one of the two age-appropriate Beta® Tapes they owned: Pee Wee's Big Adventure, or Disney's Robin Hood. I loved that dang Robin Hood picture, and watching it hundreds of times in those days is what subconsciously planted the seed of my great love - though I had no idea at the time - for the legendary Roger Miller. Since then, I've tried to get my mitts on every single Roger Miller LP I could find, watched every youtube clip, read the one Roger Miller book, and even have a Roger Miller inspired tattoo on my left forearm...I'm a nut for the guy.
In the 1990's, I remember my dad bringing home our first ever family CD player, one of the boombox type. The first three CDs I remember being around the house and in regular rotation were this Truth CD, Carman's R.I.O.T., and The Statler Brothers' Christmas Wishes. That's not the cool, Folsom Prison/Flowers on The Wall Statlers. That's the Statlers at their schmaltziest, wrapped in gravy-dripping cosby sweaters, and cashing in on that 60's nostalgia. The two things I most remember about that CD are my brother and I Weird Al-ing the lyrics to "Christmas Country Style", changing, "take your coat off", to, "take your CLOTHES off" (LOL), and just simply laughing our heads off at the line, "coming from a sack carried by a man", from Old Toy Trains. We were a couple of little pervs, I guess? Anyway, it wasn't until years later that I heard the original version of Old Toy Trains, the one where Roger Miller's incredible voice and stripped-down arrangement really sold it to me, wiping away the goofiness of that Statler version and redefining a holiday classic for this old lump of coal.
I'd like to tell you now about a personal family detail. It's a rare thing, I think, but many years ago my dad's brother married my mom's sister. What that means is, while I have one biological brother, I also have three cousins whose family tree's are virtually identical to my own, except that our parents are flip-flopped. I've never been to a family gathering - on either side of my family - that didn't also include my three cousins. With the clear distinction being that we didn't live together (though we did all live in the same county), my point is that I basically have four brothers, and the five of us grew up very close. Another distinction is that while my own dad couldn't care or know less about the sporting world, my uncle Rick was a major sports fanatic, and he loved them ALL. That included a deep and near-obsessive passion for professional wrestling, which he wholeheartedly shared and instilled into my cousins, especially my cousin Matt, just two months my junior. I can't tell you how many hours I spent during those 1980's and 90's lumbering around on my cousins' trampoline, back-raking each other, and pretending to be The Ultimate Warrior, or Bret Hart, or Hulk Hogan. So, while I never considered myself much of a wrestling fan, you'd be surprised how much I learned more about the WWF and WCW through osmosis.
All that to say, it's a bit surreal for all of these specific nostalgic feelings to come crashing together for me in Flannelgraph Records' new split single between myself and pro wrestling icon, Mick Foley, on which we spend a little time with Roger Miller's Old Toy Trains. It's a dream I never even realized I had until it came true right before my eyes. Plus, it's Christmas material - the most sentimental time of the year! This record reminds me of my family, and of those innocent good-old-days, and that weird exciting dreams are still coming true and so to be hopeful for tomorrow. That's a lot to hang on one little 45 I suppose, but I'm darn excited about it and very happy to be submitting it to the world.
Mondo thanks go from me to Jared at Flannelgraph, and of course the great Mick Foley.
ALL PROFITS FROM THE SALES OF THIS RECORD GO TO TOYS FOR TOTS, SO BUY A LOT OF THEM!