The City Paper somehow managed to score an interview with the big man himself — that rosy-nosed fella from the North Pole and reigning king of reindeer, Santa Claus. Despite his packed December schedule, Santa’s been in attendance at all three previous Chord and Pedal holiday celebrations, so we figured we’d ask him a few questions about them, and about being the most beloved man in America … well, for one day a year, at least.

City Paper: Santa, how’s the season going?
Santa Claus: Right now, I’m hustlin’. I got things to do, I got kids to watch over; it’s not easy being Santa. These freakin’ Playstations don’t just pop out of thin air. Fortunately. I’m happy to do it. I’m happy to be there for the kids. Bottom line? It’s for the kids.
CP: What’s the worst thing about being you?
SC: The image. It’s a burden. You think I like being known for being ‘that bearded guy’? Beards have been going in and out of style for years, and you know, I gotta have a big white beard. It’s hard to maintain that stuff. It’s cold out, you know, I like soup, I like coffee … and things gotta be well-maintained.
CP: So this’ll be your fourth year at the Chord and Pedal holiday celebration … what are you looking forward to this year?
SC: As far as Charleston – love the town, love the people. You got a few good rock clubs there, I’m looking forward to going back to Cumberland’s, looking forward to having a rollicking little affair. These kids, they all leave me the cookies and milk. Santa went Sugarbusters a few years back. What really fuels me? Jack Daniels and water. The occasional carrot.
CP: What were some of your favorite moments at past C&P holiday shows?
SC: Santa’s memory isn’t all that great … but I can definitely remember some good times had at the old Cumberland’s. I remember that Philip Estes kid did a nice Nightmare Before Christmas montage, Clint4 usually brings his tuba – that’s good times. I’m a big fan of the tuba, the Average White Band, or White Boy Gone Bad [ed. note: Oh Santa, you must mean White Boy Crazy] or whatever, they did the big Santa rap. We all expected ‘Christmas in Hollis’! It’s been a lot of fun, happiness, togetherness and all that crap. Always a big fan of having girls sit on my lap, too.
CP: How do you find the time to make it to special events like this?
SC: Let me let you in on a little secret: you can’t do some bad stuff up until about the 14th or 15th, but after that, I’m not watching, I’m off. I’ve got everything off my list, it’s taken care of. So, you know, raise hell! I hear this is an office party this year, so you’ve got secretaries…
CP: So … what’s your favorite Christmas song?
SC: It’s gotta be ‘Last Christmas.’ I like Wham!, I like that song. It hits home for me. What Santa really hates is the jazz Christmas bullshit, like Kenny G, John Tesh. I like to hear some Christmas music fucking energized on some guitar, some drums, girl singers, crazy shit. Just like at the Chord and Pedal shows! I dig it.
See Santa — along with Charleston musical acts A Decent Animal, Lindsay Holler, Cary Ann Hearst, The Explorers Club, The Specs, The Dellortos, Bill Carson, Philip Estes, and surprise guests — on Saturday night at Cumberland’s. It’ll undoubtedly be one of the most fun nights of the year, and with this year’s “office party” theme (complete with a copy machine and an “ass-Xeroxing contest”), it should reach whole new heights of debauchery. And don’t try to pawn any of that bottom-shelf Beam off on Old St. Nick. He always knows the score.Sara Miller

“The Chord & Pedal Holiday Office Party” takes place at 9 p.m. on Sat. Dec. 16 at Cumberland’s (301 King St., 577-9469). $10. See www.chordandpedal.com for more.

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