Music Monday: Christmas with the Devil

Written by Brant David

aNewDomain — In 1992, mock British heavy metal band Spinal Tap — comprising musically talented comic actors Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer and a revolving cast of soon-to-die drummers– released “Christmas with the Devil.” The over the top lyrics and musical delivery would have made King Diamond proud. I bet he wishes he wrote it! And now, there’s Christmas with the Devil, the video.

Courtesy of Judith Owen

Courtesy of Judith Owen

Harry Shearer’s character in the band is bassist Derek Smalls. And this Christmas, Smalls appears with his real life wife, the sultry voiced singer, songwriter and pianist Judith Owen, whose recordings have appeared in jazz, folk and rock sections of music stores. On the new video recording of “Christmas with the Devil,” Shearer plays upright bass and adds some vocals while his wife plays the piano and sings the lead.

Owen originally rearranged and re-recorded her husband’s band’s song in 2004 for her album Christmas In July. The heavy metal song is now wrapped up in classic jazz trio style, with the husband and wife pair helped out on percussion by Pedro Segundo.

You can expect to see them perform the song live when they go on their annual “Christmas Without Tears” Holiday Sing-a-Long tour to benefit those with mental illness.

Here’s the new Christmas with the Devil video, below.

Christmas with the Devil video: Via ChannelJudithOwen YouTube Channel

In a recent interview, Owens talked about how the jazzy arrangement of the song came to be: 

It’s so perfect for Christmas, because I find Christmas to be a really hard time of year, I think a lot of people do, and I struggle with it every year, I get very down and depressed because I miss my family and I’m far from home. There’s so much pressure for it to be perfect and to spend too much money and to get on with your family. I feel that the point of having a song like “Christmas With the Devil” is to bring humor and a well-needed antidote and irreverence to this most silly of seasons. The B-side is “The Dancing Tree,” which could not be further from what “Christmas With the Devil” is… 

I like taking really male rock songs, the more testosterone, the happier I am… and making them into really female arrangements, I make them over so they sound like I wrote them and they belong to me. Doing this for my favorite band was perfection… There’s nothing better. Every word out of every metal band’s mouth, whenever I hear a band talking, I’m seizing up with laughter, because everything sounds like Tap… 

I realized from the get-go that I had to sing this song seriously and not do the wink of the eye, I’m singing it with absolute seriousness, and that Harry’s stomping on my seriousness and taking over is the joy of it. That’s the relationship we have onstage, we laugh a lot and we bicker a lot, because we’re married.


Yes, they laugh and bicker a lot, even at Christmas time, because they’re married. And you thought it was just you! 

This Christmas, turn up your amps to 11, and remember there’s a very fine line between clever and stupid.

For Music Monday at aNewDomain, I’m

Brant David McLaughlin — aka Brant David — is a Milford, NJ-based senior writer for us here at aNewDomain. Follow him at his +BrantDavid Google+ page. Email him at