A Christmas Story

By Jimmy Alvarez and Josh Coutts
December 24, 2020
In a year that has been so devastating to us all in so many different ways, it’s always inspiring to get e-mails from people who remind us what matters and what’s good and decent in all of us.
Christmas brings out so many inspiring stories, and there are so many to share this year. For those in the music industry, we have seen bands and venues collaborate to put on livestream shows, while some bands have put out merch to help each other, and to help out their brothers and sisters that really need help. It doesn’t matter the size of the band, big or small, there are countless stories from coast-to-coast and around the world of how our sonic heroes are stepping up.
So what’s behind this? What is it that enables artist to become humanity personified? For most, it’s just how you were raised or the path and experiences each individual artist has been on.
This Christmas we have two stories OC Music News wants to share.

He who wanders is not always lost
First is the story of ska-punk dad Ed Mulligan. From New Jersey, he’s the dad of Joker’s Republic front-man,  Austen Gray (Mulligan). I got to know Ed from a simple e-mail. In true ska-punk fashion, he replied to a post we did on one of our social media pages. Ed wanted us to be aware of a very noteworthy Christmas album. In doing so, we engaged in a dialog that has us glad we got to chat with him.
Ed has been part of the NJ ska-punk scene for years. He’s followed some of the icons through their music and has become part of the community itself. Ed recognizes the challenges that all artists live with, it’s a tough-tough industry. That has never been an aspect of that lifestyle that he is short on real-life experiences. He also is aware of the candidness and raw emotion the ska-punk scene can provide. That can be good, and bad depending on your perspective.  

Do The Right Thing

You always want to do right by your kid’s, to protect them the best you can… but, at some point, when they become aware it’s your job as a parent to support them to make sure they’re good people. Being this kids dad has been the honor of a lifetime.”


Ed and Austen Mulligan>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Bottom line, this scene is truthful to the core. If your music sucks, or you are not true to the scene, the scene will let you know. If your music is good, or you’re a genuinely good soul, the scene will recognize that and they will support and bleed for you no matter what.
Ed says the thing he loves most about the ska-punk scene is they support each other and pick each other up, especially when it’s needed most.  All things being equal, being a parent you always want what’s best for your child. For the Mullivans it was apparent almost immediately that Austen was a very gifted child, and music immediately became what he was driven towards.
Ed went on to say “How can you not support that? It’s a dream that the kid has and he has the talent to succeed in it.” The tough part of that is that it’s one thing to be supportive, it’s another to be honest about your kid’s talent.
For Ed, he felt that Austen was legit and has always supported him in his quest to make a life out of making music for a living. All while being honest with him thr0ugh his journey. I don’t know about you, but as a parent, that’s a hard and fine line.
Ed has done what we all strive for, love your child, and support them, and for the Mulligan’s it’s paid off. Joker’s Republic is one of those bands that may be destined for greatness in 2021. The band is simply electric and so energetic. The band features Austen (vox / lead guitar), Billy Smolen (bass), and Patrick Elwood (drums).

So how does this tie in to our second story? It’s about two guys, definitely brothers from another mother named Gary Mastriano and Josh Pizza-Hershkovitz. They’re both in the band Backyard Superheroes; Josh put together another great band, a collaborative entity known as The NPC’s.
If you’re not familiar with the NPC’s you really need to look them up. Here’s a little something they recently did, a cover of The Specials “Ghost Town.”

The duo made a reality of their idea for a Christmas album titled “Arose Such a Clatter 2020.” Christmas songs from some of our favorite ska-punk bands (including Joker’s Republic – see how we did that).
The album is available now and will help The Marines Toys for Tots campaign.  The album and contributions will help give toys to less-fortunate kids this holiday season! A worthy cause if ever there was one. Christmas should be a magical time for kids. Mastriano said that when he was a kid his parent always made sure he and his siblings had an amazing Christmas no matter what was going on in life. This album will help countless families.

As the story goes, the guys talked to a few bands and a few more, and before they knew it, they were happy and honored on how many bands agreed to be part of the Christmas album.
There are so many great songs on this album, Joker’s Republic cover Blink’s “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas,” while Bite Me Bambi delivers “Holiday Cheer,” The Disposables cover the Kinks “Oi To The World,” Chris Graue / Lo(u)ser provides “Breaking Up For Christmas,” Millington gives us “Jingle Bells.” The list goes on and of of great songs. Christmas songs that you’ve never heard done this way before.
Bottom line, good people doing good things not because they have to, but because it’s what’s needed at the right time.
Check out this great album that is now available on Bandcamp, and please make a donation.





1. Backyard Superheroes – Quarantine Christmas
2. Hooray For Our Side – All I Want For Christmas
3. Bite Me Bambi – Holiday Cheer
4. Joker’s Republic – I Won’t Be Home For Christmas
5. Something To Do – I Wish You The Best
6. 50’s Kitchen – Spitsaver
7. Millington – Jinglebells (Millingtonbells)
8. Thirteen Towers – Mamacita, Donde Esta, Santa Claus
9. Public Serpents – Irreverence
10. Half Past Two – Holiday
11. The Schwam – Rebel Without a Clause
12. The Day After – The Year
13. The Guilty Parties – Sources
14. Catbite – Horizontal Aggression
15. Disposable – Oi To The World
16. Joystick – Straight and Narrow (Bridge City Session)
17. The Taj Motel Trio – God Save The Scene (Acoustic)
18. Madaline – When You’re Sleeping
19. Honestly, Me – I Hope You Hear This
20. New Normal Collaboration – Great Divide
21. 4 Aspirin Morning – Santa in a Ski Mask (Stick ’em up it’s Christmas)
22. Lo(u)ser – Breaking Up for Christmas
23. The Skluttz – You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
24. Threat Level Burgundy – Christmas Cheer
25. The Upfux – Killjoy
26. Good Luck, Ugly – Thank God (Merry Christmas)
27. Llama Tsunami – Absolute Zero
28. The End Times – Black Hat
29. The Re-Adjusters – Contempt
30. Urban Crater – Home Alone 2 Die Harder
31. Tom Nevers Field – Forget My Wallet
32. My So Called Undead Life – Koimao (Recluse of Winter Mix)
33. Monkey – Don’t Panic
34. The Pandemics – Chains