Cliché Magazine is counting down to Christmas by sharing
12 holiday interviews with 12 amazing artists!
This time, we’re chatting with Jake Mcelfresh of Front Porch Step about his memorable holiday tradition, wish list, and favorite Christmas song to cover.
Cliché: What is on your holiday wish list?
Jake Mcelfresh: For the first time in a very long time, I don’t want anything. Touring is such a weird thing, where you are basically being paid to be on vacation. When I was younger, I never went on vacation because I couldn’t afford it, so Christmas was my vacation. Possessions don’t make happiness, but as a child, the fun came during Christmas when the new Xbox came out or something like that. I would hope for that. This year however though, I really don’t want anything. I mean, it would be nice to have a PS4, but I don’t NEED it, you know? I just don’t care. There is nothing on my wish list and I am just really excited to hang out with my family.
If you haven’t already, what holiday song would you cover and why?
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and NOT because I just covered it. It’s my favorite song to cover and sing and there is a reason behind it: I grew up watching White Christmas with my mom and I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby; all the real greats. There was also listening to Dean Martin, Ray Charles, and Rod Stewart. Stewart has some of the best Christmas albums; me and mom always listened to them every Christmas. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is my favorite to sing myself as myself. It’s always been one of my favorite songs. I’ve been really touring now, and I never missed home by doing Weekend Warrior stuff, but being away from home for long periods of time just tug at my heartstrings. Christmas time is love and family. I feel like we should do it all year round, because it is the one time of the year where people do celebrate love and family. I’ll be home for Christmas just really makes me miss my family.
Do you have any holiday traditions?
I remember when I was younger, I would go to my Grandma Margie’s house. My dad’s mother, Sharon — there would be my sister and my cousin Ryan and his parents. When I went to my mom mother’s house, it was all about family. Everyone had to be there. My grandma on my dad’s side has two children and my grandma on my mother’s side has one son and three daughters. There are a ton of people on my mother’s side. The song I wrote off of my album, Aware — the last song, “I Won’t Say That I’m Ok” — is about my grandmother on my mother’s side. She didn’t know shit about what any of us wanted, even when we told her exactly what it was. She was a QVC crazy person. Whatever QVC told her was the new hottest toy, that was what we got. I would want the new Mortal Kombat on PS2, and she would get me an inventive playset “that the kids will love!” and I would be like, “God damn it!” It was always fun and it was always fun to see everyone get along and hang out. So, I guess what I am trying to say is that the QVC presents were my favorite tradition.
What Christmas movie do you always find yourself watching, no matter how many times you have seen it?
This is going to sound like the most cliché thing ever, but I am so honored and so damn proud to be a part of living in the generation that got to watch a movie become a holiday classic and that move is Elf. I saw that movie in theaters without even knowing that it would become one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time. Yes, A Christmas Story is great and it is a classic, but nothing for me tops Elf. I know that one day, I will sit down with my child in how many years, and I know I can watch that movie without worrying them getting any negative messages that a child shouldn’t know yet… and at the same time laugh my ass off. It’s like the Lego Movie, with political satire that it is ridiculous. I mean, it’s funny for kids, but for adults in that regard as well. Kids are going to re-watch that movie 10 years from now and go, “Wow, this is one of the most conspiracy-filled movies I have ever seen in my life!”
Everyone has a favorite holiday song, but which one makes you cringe?
Hmmm, I’m not exactly sure. It depends on the recordings. There are a thousand different versions of every song now. If it is a bunch of six-year-old kids going, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” then THAT’s annoying to me. That makes me cringe. There are songs like “Noel,” where you can hear a choir of classically trained children singing it beautifully, but when it is supposed to funny and make kids want to sing along, and then it is the worst thing in the entire world… to me at least.
Do you have any Festive Tour plans?
No, no tours. I’m playing a couple holiday festivals. I am playing December 14th at Webster hall for the Glamour Kills show with The Wonder Years and State Champs. Also, with Have Mercy, a great up and coming band . On December 20th is the Manover Board Lost Collective Holiday show. December 27th, I will be in Chicago with Real Friends and their holiday show. Just a couple of holiday festivals to have fun and play with friends!
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Twelve Days of Music – Day 10 – Front Porch Step: Photo courtesy of Front Porch Step