There are a few names that are synonymous with Christmas — well, there’s Santa, of course, — Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Brenda Lee and Burl Ives immediately come to mind. If you’re a rock ’n’ roll fan, Brian Setzer is also at the top of that list.
Setzer, a founding member of the Stray Cats, leader of the big band The Brian Setzer Orchestra and “one of the world’s greatest living guitarists,” especially when it comes to to the Gretsch G6120SH, will bring The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 14th annual Christmas Rocks tour to the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino for two shows. Tickets to the Friday and Saturday shows start at $34 and are available at Ticketmaster.com. Both shows start at 8 p.m.
Setzer said his inspiration for the tour started with an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.
“This thing kind of chose me because people were saying, ‘There’s no good rock and roll Christmas stuff,’ so they asked me to do a rock and roll version of ‘Jingle Bells’ for the movie ‘Jingle All The Way,’ which sounds easy enough but it’s not that easy to take a classic song and make it rock, especially with a big band because of all the parts you have to write,” he said in an interview with the Sun Herald. “A station in LA called KROQ got ahold of it, and they couldn’t stop playing it and then it just snowballed; I ended up writing a song for Lou Rawls and then I rearranged ‘Sleigh Ride’ for Darlene Love and then we decided to do a tour and now people look forward to it every year because there’s not a lot to see at Christmas.”
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Since the recording of “Jingle Bells,” BSO has released several Christmas albums, including 2015’s “Rockin’ Rudolph.” Setzer said his passion for Christmas music can be attributed to one thing — the songs.
“First of all, those songs are really good,” he said. “How do you write a song better than ‘The Christmas Song?’ But to deconstruct them and make them rock, it’s not as easy as you would think, so whenever I can get one of those to run out well, it’s a home run.”
But just like the rest of us, Setzer has a favorite Christmas classic. And for fans of Setzer’s music and his love for rockabilly players like Charlie Feathers and Scottie Moore, his favorite Christmas album stays close to his roots.
“We grew up with the Elvis Christmas album — that’s still my favorite,” Setzer said.
If you go
What: The Brian Sezter Orchestra’s 14th Annual Christmas Rocks Tour
Where: Beau Rivage at 875 Beach Blvd. in Biloxi
When: 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday
Tickets: Prices start at $34 and are available at Ticketmaster.com.