Leave it to The Snowman Electrical Band to do the wrong thing the right way. The band finally played a run of shows and they went to Alaska to do it. Barrow, Alaska is the northernmost “city” in the United States. Even so, it might as well be the North Pole. The shows were recorded for what was to be a big double-live type album of Christmas standards and SXB originals. It ended up as more of an official bootleg. Listen below.
The shows were performed December 14-17 with mostly borrowed gear and some local talent, including Mayumi. After an afternoon of rehearsal, she played keyboard with the band on all four shows. She was a 15-year-old student at the music conservatory and is, presumably still, a mean drunk.
The only recording that survived the week in Barrow is part of the first set from the third night, December 16. Everybody blames everybody else, but the fact is that back on planet Earth, there was eight minutes of someone playing the sax at an open mic night, and other than that, blank tape. So, I guess really, they did the right thing the wrong way.
There are more people in Barrow than you might guess, about 4,500. Understandably, there’s not a lot to see in the way of psychedelic Christmas rock-n-roll spectacle. “People came from all over, Wiseman and Beaver. Point Hope. I think everybody who lives in Beaver was there,” said Jennifer. She was telling me all of this over a spotty long distance connection.
Jennifer was, until recently, Mayumi’s roommate at the conservatory. She said Mayumi would have called but she quit the conservatory to play piano in a bar in Nome. “She’s only 15, right?”
“She turns 16 on Christmas,” said Jennifer.
“She really quit for good?”
“I guess. She left a note. She said she was supposed to send you a press release and answer your questions and stuff about Electric Snowman.”
“It’s ‘Snowman Electrical Band,'” I said. “And that’s okay. Thanks for calling. You’ve been very helpful.”
“Merry Christmas,” she said.