It's almost a rite of passage for cartoon characters: the holiday album. Songs about Santa and Christmas cheer have been heard from the likes of the Peanuts gang to Alvin and the Chipmunks.
And now, a hero from the Nickelodeon channel has his day in the snow: SpongeBob SquarePants. The cartoon hero has a new album called "Its a Spongebob Christmas," and we speak with Tom Kinney, the voice of SpongeBob, and musician Andy Paley.
SpongeBob has been on air for 13 years now, what took so long to make a Christmas album?
"We pitched Nickelodeon on the idea of doing a holiday album a few years ago, and we wrote a song called 'Don’t Be A Jerk, It’s Christmas.' We left it around on a few peoples’ desks kind of as a holiday gift before the holiday break, leaving burned cds around, and that little chicken of the sea actually came home to roost.”
What was the idea that you were aiming towards with these lyrics?
"SpongeBob is such a positive character, so when he is making a plea for us to be nice to each other it is all inclusive, like let's not drop bombs on each other and lets not take 11 items into the ten item or less line. It’s all the same to him, lets be nice. We wrote this in 2009 at a time when bad public behavior by celebrities and public figures was at an all-time high and it was like, is there something in the water? So when they asked us to come up with a SpongeBob Christmas special we came up with our explanation for the rash of bad behavior which is that there is an element called 'Jerktonium' and its radiation causes you to be come this pugnacious, spoiling for fight, rude, jerk… it's baked into a fruit cake that is re-gifted and re-gifted so every time someone gets it they are contaminated.”
What were some of the inspirations behind this album?
"This whole thing is an homage to Christmas albums that we loved growing up, the Phil Spector Christmas record, Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, the Carpenters… they are so well played and so warm we kind of wanted to invoke some of that, to the point that we actually used some of the session musicians that worked on a lot of those classic Christmas records we talked about and we are really proud to use flesh and blood musician that are strumming and blowing on real instruments; no samples are used.”