By Richard Milne

Very abbreviated because it’s December 23 and I’ve put no less than thirty hours into this year’s Holiday Spectacular. I’m ready to do just about anything else other than spend a couple hours this morning spinning yarns about the days of yore. Not complaining, mind you. I’m really not. All that work has yielded the best hour-long Anesthetic Holiday Spectacular that’s ever aired. I’m quite proud of how this year’s show has gelled. Putting it together was fun. Truly. Of course, I really do owe credit to plenty of others especially the 60-something different bands and their respective “seasonal salutations” that comprise our encore presentation of the “Best of 25” that will air this Sunday night at 8pm (in place of the Sunday Night Concert). Other credit is due, however, and, like most everything good in my life, the idea for both Local Anesthetic and what has become the annual Holiday Spectacular, came from my wife Charlene. Seems fitting that our own 25th wedding anniversary corresponds to Anesthetic’s 25th anniversary this year along with the 25th airing of the Holiday Spectacular. As I’ve said before, fellas, when a woman comes along that fully realizes you’re a major doofus but somehow still sees something in your soul that just might be redeemable, I can only hope you take your head out of your ass just long enough to not miss the greatest gift you’re ever likely to receive.
charlene with hunter An Abbreviated History Of The Local Anesthetic Holiday Spectacular (1991 2016) [Playlist & Free Download]
Dig? But, I digress. For the first Spectacular (which for its first few years was called the Extravaganza, Spectacular Extravaganza or Extravaganza Spectacular depending) in December of 1991, I had a few bands actually cut sorta-studio quality messages announcing themselves, a Holiday greeting of their choice and a mention of the radio station in some capacity. The best early (1991) example of that on this Sunday night’s Anesthetic Holiday Spectacular Best of 25 is from Jim Ellison of Material Issue. It’s just Jim and :30 of a guitar riff but it captured everything I wanted. Jim identified himself (and the Ish), mentioned the station and wished everybody listening a Happy Holiday. Pretty simple formula, no? Those three (self ID, station ID, a season greeting of artist choosing) requirements remain the backbone of every request for band involvement I’ve made over the years. As you’ll hear Sunday night, however, there’s been countless ways to accomplish that with amazing creativity and variety. Artists represented range from Rock and Roll Hall of Famers (Cheap Trick) to cult crazies (Cheer Accident), pop, rock, jazz, doo-wop, West African infused, rockabilly, ac cappela, folk, even polka (thank you Polkaholics!) Picking out the best from the 1000+ entries sent in between 1991-2015 for this Sunday night’s show was really tough. Who made the cut? In alphabetical order (just like they’ll play back on the show Sunday night):
Ben Tatar
Bob Dey’s Tank Engine Man
Bohemian National
Bohus Blahut
Cheap Trick
Cheer Accident
Chicago Farmer
Chris and Scott Ligon (with Heather McAdams)
The Chuckleheads
Dae and My Family
Dave Hiltebrand
Dave Ramont
Dave Sills
Death Ships
Del Moroccos
Devil in a Woodpile
Dick Smith
The Dollrods
Down the Line
The Drastics
The Effigies
Ellen Rosner
Essex Chanel
The Handsome Family (“the candy cane is Satan’s walking stick!”)
The Hideout
Horse-Drawn Productions
Ides of March
The Injured Parties
Jeff Tweedy
Jenny Bienemann
John Fournier (“Richard Milne is Santa Claus”)
Jon Drake
Let’s Get Out of This Terrible Sandwich Shop
Material Issue
Mr. Blotto
Occidental Brothers
Old Shoe
Plastics Hi-Fi
The Polkaholics
Ralph Covert and the Bad Examples
Robbie Fulks
The Slugs
Sons of the Never Wrong
Spare Parts
Stormy Weather
Sue Fink
Thomas Pace
Tony Calderisi
Umphrey’s McGee
Velcro Lewis
Voodoo Pilot
Who’s This Mary
The Wombats
Zip Taang
Of course, there’s a chance you may be otherwise occupied on Christmas night to tune into the encore presentation of this past Sunday’s original broadcast. Or, too tired to turn on the radio. You know; Christmas can be a loooong day. Whatever the case, here’s a link to the stream and download of Week One’s broadcast. Enjoy. Tell your friends. Have a great Christmas and a peaceful New Year. Our first Local Anesthetic of the new year will be Sunday, Jan. 1 at 7:30pm and feature, appropriately enough, new Chicago music. I’m Richard Milne. As always, thank you for listening.

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