The 8 Bits of Christmas

Because #Nintendo.

Yes, we’re the Nintendo generation, the ones who stepped into a whole new world of video games in our formative years. The sounds of Super Mario and its brethren games are engrained in our souls, thus it naturally comes out in our music.

David Stanton has perfected the art of simulating the 8-bit sound of Nintendo games, in this adaptation of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” David quotes the following games: The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros, Ninja Gaidan, Castlevania, Contra, Sonic the Hedgehog and more, with each movement a new experience. The electronically generated tones are often just simple math formulas that create each “instrument,” yet the sense memory of them instills instant excitement for the holidays. Receiving games and gaming systems as Christmas presents was really the only thing we asked Santa for.

The 2011 album “On the 8th Bit of Christmas” has references to video game music throughout the album. Some are blatant, others are subtle, how many can you find?  The album cover is in reference to the original Nintendo Power magazine covers, and the classic advertising depicting the family fun of gathering around the NES for all kinds of good natured fun.



3 Ships

From our 2011 album, “3 Ships” began with a recording of stomps and claps, then adds a little out-of-tune piano from the living room at Peer Manor. Courtney Stricklin Burgan came up with the simple melody that provided the backbone for this adaptation of “I Saw Three Ships.” David Stanton picked up the challenge to arrange a lovely soup of instruments that are not used to teaming up. The distorted electric guitar shreds in the background and gives way to some driving banjo picking, electronica peaking in via a Moog synthesizer, as well as a chorus of “Ha-rummmms.”

The tune is a traditional and popular Christmas carol from England, and is a variant of its parent tune “Greensleeves.” The earliest printed version is from the 17th century.

The Jingle Boys in 2010 at Peer Manor
The Jingle Boys in 2010 at Peer Manor

The song illustrates the creative energy that came out of gathering friends together to make music. The early years of the Jingle Boys was facilitated by a house we affectionately called “Peer Manor,” named so because the master of the roost was a little boy named Peer, who’s energy and enjoyment of life infected those around him. The Manor was the shared home of the brothers Stanton, as well as the Wahlquist family, located in Downey California. While Peer slept upstairs, friends made music late into the night downstairs, at times placing an instrument or voice in any available small space to attempt to isolate the recordings.

Peer Manor began to take on another meaning, because it was a “peer” group that inspired each other to create music, as well as many other creative and entrepreneurial ideas together.  Mix up a shared devotion to Christmas music with musical skill and home-grown recording tools, and you get an annual album of Christmas tunes to share with friends and family.

3 Ships
Arranged by Courtney Stricklin Burgan and David Stanton

Courtney Stricklin: vocals and shaker
Allison Weintraub: vocals
David Stanton: piano and vocals
Ben Pringle: vocals
Jeremy Burgan: banjo, electric guitar, tambourine, wurlitzer, moog
Jayden Bean: drums
All: hand claps and stomps

Happy Life Day!

To kick off the 2015 holiday season, the Jingle Boys would like to wish you a happy Life Day!

November 17, 1978 was the debut of the Star Wars Holiday Special, 98 minutes of confounding sell-out material based on everyone’s favorite George Lucas film.  Life Day is a very Christmas-like holiday celebrated by the Wookiee culture. The Heroes of Star Wars must fight against all odds to return Chewbacca back home to his wife and kids so they can celebrate the holiday in the traditional Wookiee fashion.

The song “Life Day is All Around” was inspired by Billy Mack’s adaptation of his own song, “Love is All Around,” into the smash Christmas hit “Christmas is All Around,” which is a comedic story point in the 2003 movie Love Actually, which starred Bill Nighy as the troubled aging rocker.

Video and editing by Ben Stanton. Arrangement and Adapted Lyrics by The Jingle Boys.