Music History

The ghost of Denver's hair metal past visits and comes bearing a holiday gift that keeps on giving

In the hierarchy of things that happened in the pop metal world after Nirvana's Nevermind was released, this one has to rank pretty high in the pantheon, at least locally. The year was 1993: The music industry was booming, hair metal was fading and a handful of Denver rock enthusiasts were making a Christmas power ballad for charity. They had great hair, great pants and even greater intentions. And they liked Foreigner, evidently. A lot.

Two days after Thanksgiving in that same grunge-loving year, Ric Cabot Podmore fielded a request to write and record a charity rock anthem with the melodic power and epic ridiculousness of "We are the World." This one, though, would be strictly for the kids. As you watch the video below, keep in mind that all proceeds from the sale of the single were funneled toward toys for children hospitalized over the holidays. Our updated total is now: good Samaritans, good intentions, great hair.

What resulted, after "one long-ass day," is "Every Christmas Day," an earnest, epic and almost evangelical tribute to both the holiday and Podmore's favorite style of music: the power ballad. (In the video, the now fifty-year-old Podmore is the wild blonde-mained mixer and pianist with the truly awesome pants.) Shot in Kerr/Macy Studios with a budget of $3,000, the song misses no cues from any of its producer's then-favorites: Journey, Foreigner and Heart.

"It was the early '90s, and music had just changed, so I was always wondering if it was cheesy," Podmore says. "When the Seattle thing surged, guys like me all lost record deals, so I didn't even think about it. When they asked me to write that song, they told me to do what I'd normally do -- and I did."

Podmore, who today runs the music publishing company As Is No Warranty, was a protege of big-name rock producer Beau Hill (Winger, Warrant, Europe, Ratt), who took him under his wing when the Denver music man was nineteen. Once he agreed to the song, Podmore had one week to write it and one week to bring the local talent together before recording the finished product, which he turned in only one day late. As he remembers it, the group of rockers he worked with at the time were all good cats.

"The beautiful part of it is that we did all of the organic recording in that one longest day of my career," says Podmore, who played guitars and keyboard in two local bands with a similar style: Saint Germaine and Rival. "At the very end, we're just singing to do it for the camera, and that was at four in the morning. When it came time to mix everything the next day, I got the flu, but the adrenaline kicked me through to the end."

Although the video is mostly an afterthought, it remains the most lasting and embarrassing testament to the project online, where Podmore first posted it to his Facebook account two years ago. To this day, he says he continues to get emails and friend requests because of it, though there is one musician he can no longer connect with.

"Shortly thereafter, Ted Andlauer OD'd and died, and he's the one cat who's no longer with us," Podmore says. In the video, Andlauer's wearing a plaid vest and a black T-shirt and he's singing the last line of the second verse: "Like the snow drifts /December 25/ Melts away like a memory." "He's the first thing I think of every single time," says Podmore. "And it's a strange but cool way to remember him. That's all we cared about: The rock and the kids."

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Kelsey Whipple
Contact: Kelsey Whipple