Happy holidaze, people! The Crate Digger here. To inject a little Christmas cheer into your lives, I compiled a list of 10 rockers who totally resemble Santa Claus, from Billy Gibbons and Rick Rubin to Edgar Winter and Mick Fleetwood. I also included several younger rocker dudes who are definitely little Kris Kringles in the making (if they decide to keep their beards in the coming decades).
One more thing: I sprinkled in a little history here and there regarding the evolution of the mythology of Santa. This stuff will make great dinner conversation with your stupid in-laws.
Other classic rockers might look more like Sinterklaas, but let's face it, none are cooler than the St. Nicholas of Tejas, Mr. Billy Gibbons. Instead of a sled and reindeer, the ZZ Top legend uses the Eliminator car to deliver gifts around the world. Rather than elves, his helpers are scantily clad babes who use lots of hairspray. By the way, did you know that in certain regions of Mexico, children tie their letters to Santa to helium balloons, which they release into the sky in hopes they'll float to the North Pole ... or Billy's house?
Stocking Stuffer: ZZ Top, Tres Hombres
2. Jerry Garcia
Is Santa a hippie? He's most certainly a stoner: always jolly, giggles often, eats a lot. Another interesting fact: a large part of the Santa myth can be traced back to Nikolaos of Myra (aka Saint Nicholas). Like so many hippies throughout the annals of history, St. Nick grew up wealthy but felt deeply guilty about his privileged background. So, he decided to slum it with the poor folk of Asia Minor. He also did a lot of fasting, which is pretty damn New Age.
Stocking Stuffer: The Grateful Dead, Dick's Picks, Vol. 10: Winterland Arena 12/29/1977
3. Edgar Winter
Edgar has the perfect last name. As for that severely gaunt face and rail-thin frame, the bluesman is a throwback to the aforementioned Saint Nicholas, who had none of the bulbous heft of modern-day Santa Claus. Where did this bulbous heft originate? Well, it's primarily an American concoction, it seems. This shouldn't come as any surprise, seeing as how we're also the country that invented the KFC Famous Bowl.
Stocking Stuffer: Edgar Winter, They Only Come Out at Night
4. Leon Russell
Russell gets my vote for the one true Father Christmas of rock 'n' roll. Hell, the guy had a white beard when he was, like, 13. Nowadays, the thing is as blinding white as the green room on the Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour.
Stocking Stuffer: Leon Russell, Carney
5. Brent Hinds
Mastodon guitarist, singer and flaming beardo Brent Hinds looks most like Groundskeeper Willie -- if the irascible Scot had decided to get his body covered in biker ink. But there's another way to approach this: Hinds is a child of heavy metal, and as we all know, the ruling god of heavy metal is none other than Odin, who is considered, in certain Pagan circles, a major influence on the development of the myth of Santa Claus.
Stocking Stuffer: Mastodon, The Hunter
6. Jim Morrison
The genius of Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa is in the way he didn't actually portray Santa, but Jim Morrison dressed as Santa.
7. Rick Rubin
Rubin is kind of like Buddha meets Father Christmas. The guy's chakras are so exquisitely tuned that nothing seems to ever phase him. Moreover, he produced one of the greatest holiday singles of all time: Run-D.M.C.'s "Christmas in Hollis."
Remember that flick The Boys from Brazil? A leftover cadre of Nazi power elite, hiding in the Amazon forest in the decades following World War II, creates baby clones of Hitler in an attempt to bring about the second coming of the Führer. Swap Nazis for elves and Hitler for Santa, and you have Cincinnati's Buffalo Killers. All three resemble clones of a twenty-something Kris Kringle.
Stocking Stuffer: Buffalo Killers, 3
Mick Fleetwood is the gentleman's Santa Claus: tall, distinguished and well groomed. But then again, Santa never romped with a witchy woman like Stevie Nicks.
10. William Lee Golden
Yes, The Oak Ridge Boys aren't rockers. But if you're like me and came of age in the 1980s, then William Lee Golden's gloriously flowing beard was permanently burned into your memory via those commercials hawking the group's greatest-hits package for "just $19.99" (available on vinyl, cassette or eight track). Those ads were weird. I never understood why Golden held his microphone so far from his mouth. Did he possess a more powerful and robust voice than his fellow Oak Ridge Boys? Was he afraid of his beard getting caught in the mic head?