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August Burns Red’s ‘Little Drummer Boy’ Cover Explores ‘Entire New Style’

Solid State Records

August Burns Red have elected to cover ‘Little Drummer Boy’ this season, in keeping with their tradition of deconstructing Christmas classics and giving them a personal touch. It’s an ‘instrumetal’ effort with a heaviness of mood.

“I chose ‘Little Drummer Boy’ for this year’s Christmas song because I felt like it was a great candidate for a slow, down-tuned, droning track, which is something I had wanted to do for a while,” guitarist J.B. Brubaker told Noisecreep. “It is almost the exact opposite of what we normally in do in ABR, and I think that’s why it was so much fun for us. It was like exploring an entire new style. I’ve been tinkering around with various stringed instruments over the past year, like mandolin and ukulele.”

Listen to ‘Little Drummer Boy’

He continued, “This cover of ‘Little Drummer Boy’ gave us a good opportunity to play around with new sounds and instruments that aren’t normally used in our music. I am really into dynamic stuff, especially in heavy music. I don’t think this track is a good indicator of what to expect in the future from us. Just think of it more as a little experiment we did for fun.”

Christmas has become a time of metal traditions for August Burns Red, and it’s something fans expect. Besides their covers, the band also plays their hometown around the holidays. And it’s always an ‘event,’ complete with an elaborate, season-appropriate stage set up.

“We have the tradition of putting a Christmas cover out every year (obviously) and we also have the tradition of playing a show at home in Lancaster, Pa. at the Chameleon Club every year around the holidays,” Brubaker said. “The annual Christmas show is something we all look forward to every year. This year’s show is on Dec. 29. We honestly start brainstorming how we want to decorate the stage months in advance.

“We’re not a very flashy band as far as production goes, but once a year, we like to go all out. In the past, we’ve set the stage up like a winter wonderland and covered the stage in fake snow. Last year, we had a ton of pine trees on stage behind our back line to give the effect of playing in a winter wilderness. I don’t even know if the audience thinks much of the stage set up, but we think it’s fun and we want to continue the tradition.”

They also rely on their tour manager Josh for the holiday festivities. Brubaker said, “Josh plays a big part in the planning and set up for the Christmas show, and I know each year he wants to outdo himself. I’m excited to see what he does this year.”

In addition to the band’s latest Christmas offering, ABR’s near-classic cover of ‘Carol of the Bell’ — which was heard in the trailer for Frank Miller’s ‘The Spirit’ — will be featured in the upcoming ‘American Dad! Christmas Special,’ which airs Dec. 12 on FOX.

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