Raul Malo Talks Mavericks Reunion and Staving Off Cynicism with Holiday Music

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Christmas music is really misunderstood. There's so much bad holiday music, clichéd product. But maybe it also creates opportunities. There are some fantastic melodies in the standards.

You know, honestly, I think more than anything there's so much cynicism in the world, so much angst. We've forgotten, I don't mean this as a whole, but there are times when we've forgotten what the holidays are really about. It seems like as a culture we're always in a hurry, always on the go. We don't sit around and drink tea and listen to music and talk and hang up mistletoe. Trees come with lights on them already because people don't have time to put the lights on. So I wanted to make a record that would take us back to a time when it seemed like there was more time. I'm as guilty of romanticizing the past as anyone. But we are always in a hurry. My holiday record was meant for people who are having a Christmas party, a look back to a sillier time, maybe. It's just a good getaway.

You recorded a new version of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" as a video. Can you tell me the story behind that?

I was in San Antonio airport a few months ago. San Antonio houses a lot of troops, and the airport is always filled with troops, especially now that they're finally coming home. They're all messing with each other and they're glad to be home. You can tell that. And so many of them are so young, just kids. On the TV screen was one of our beloved GOP candidates talking about how our troops coming home were an embarrassment and a failure to the United States and this administration. What was amazing is that it was closed captioned. The television was on mute but her words were right there. There was a group of young soldiers looking up at the TV screen. I couldn't imagine what they were thinking. I was just beside myself.

So I called a friend of mine and he made some calls, and we decided to make a video for "I'll Be Home for Christmas." That song was originally written for the troops coming home for Christmas during World War II. My version was partly a reaction to a really stupid, insensitive and ridiculous statement. This person is running for commander-in-chief. Personally speaking, I think those words should disqualify her. But we really did the video for the troops, as a thank you, to say that a lot of people care and we're glad they're coming home.

Can you tell me about the plans for the Mavericks reunion?

We're gonna go out and tour next year, and it looks like we're going to make a record at the end of January. Yeah. Here we go.

Was there anything that inspired it?

Honestly, it's just a number of things that gathered strength recently. One thing led to another, and before you know it we were all roped in. I honestly never thought this would happen. I thought, if we come back I want it to be right, if we can play the shows we want and make a record with a label that will support us. And then all these things were a reality. I'm excited. We get to do it right, we get to do it our way. That's the most exciting part.

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