Everyone loves hearing or sharing holiday memories at this time of year, and rock 'n' roll stars are no different. Here are a few of The Pulse Of Radio's favorite seasonal anecdotes collected over the years:
Most Christmas memories are good ones, but sometimes the holiday season can be traumatic as well — especially for younger kids. METALLICA's James Hetfield told The Pulse Of Radio that his least favorite Christmas involved learning the truth about a certain figure in a red suit. "The worst Christmas was discovering that there was no Santa," he said. "You know, I had gotten up at whatever, one in the morning and walked out and saw my brothers carrying presents down to put under the tree, and I was like, 'What are you doing?' And so that was, the St. Nick bubble was burst."
Everyone has cherished holiday memories from their childhoods, but ALTER BRIDGE guitarist Mark Tremonti tells one story about a Christmas he'd just as soon forget. "I spent the night in the hospital one night on Christmas Eve, probably 'cause my brother Mike and my other brother Dan came running down the stairs next to me, knocked me all the way down the stairs and I had just gotten stitches the day before and they just all re-opened," he said. "So I had to go back into the hospital and... didn't spend the night there, but had to go in and get the butterfly stitches and all that good stuff. So that's my cool Christmas story."
ADELITAS WAY frontman Rick DeJesus grew up in a rough Philadelphia neighborhood where money was always tight, but drugs, guns and poverty were plentiful. DeJesus told The Pulse Of Radio, however, that the Christmas holiday was one of the few things he could look forward to every year. "You know, I remember when I was a little kid, my dad always used to hide the good presents," he said. "You know, I'd open all the clothes up and I'd be like — you know, I'd act happy because I wanted to be fortunate, but I'd be a little upset 'cause I didn't get the baseball bat or the video game, and then he would hide it somewhere. And in the end, you know, he'd let a little time go by and he'd be like, 'Hey, what's that vacuum cleaner box over there?' And I'd walk over and there'd be the newest video games in there, or a baseball bat and a glove, and . . . my parents were always really good to us on Christmas."
HALESTORM singer Lzzy Hale may be best known for her sultry looks and fierce singing, but she also admits she's sort of a tomboy. She told The Pulse Of Radio about one Christmas when she and her brother, who were little kids at the time, switched things up when they made their gift requests. "Our grandparents came to visit and this particular year, I ended up asking for a tool set, and my brother asked for a doll house," she said. "When you're a kid, you want what you want at Christmas, you know. You don't think about, 'Oh, it's a girl thing, so it's a doll house.' I wanted a tool set. But, you know, my grandparents probably thought it was a very confusing year for us."
Everyone has a relative who gets a little out of hand around the holidays, and in the case of NICKELBACK frontman Chad Kroeger, he told The Pulse Of Radio that his family's Christmas wild card was his Uncle Tommy. "I remember Uncle Tommy getting drunk and taking out the tree at least in like two different Christmases," he laughed. "Uncle Tommy, always good for stumbling into the tree. I mean, you got all these kids wandering around — there's got to be six of us — and the Christmas tree is sacred because it houses the toys. I mean, after a while, it was just like, Uncle Tommy was just not allowed anywhere near the Christmas tree after that."
DISTURBED guitarist Dan Donegan started playing his instrument when he was a teenager, so naturally he told The Pulse Of Radio that one of the most important Christmas gifts of his life was his very first guitar. "My first electric guitar, it was like from Sears — it was a (Gibson) SG copy, and my parents just didn't really seem too supportive of it in the beginning, because they figured it's either gonna sit in the closet and collect dust, or 'he's gonna play it and it's gonna be loud and annoying,'" he said. "It was kind of a difficult thing to convince them that I was gonna be serious about it, and I wanted this. And I still have it — it's in pieces, but I still have the body of it."
Rock stars live one of the most unusual lifestyles in the world — always on the road, either touring or recording, working mostly at night and never staying in one place for very long. But according to KORN guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer, musicians like to spend the holidays at home just like everyone else. "It's really much like any Christmas in any home across America or the world," he said. "It's nice, 'cause we get to actually be home. You know, we've always said from the beginning that this band will always be home for Christmas. It's a really important time for all of us, and especially now more than ever because we have kids and families."