Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree….With Chicago!

…and Joe Montegna, and Kyle Mooney! They’re all “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” in this funny short film!

Christmas with Chicago

Chicago released their first Christmas album in 1998 (appropriately titled Chicago XXV), and followed it up in 2003 with What’s It Gonna Be, Santa?, an album that featured re-releases from the original album, as well as six new Christmas songs. And because they’re not content to rest on the laurels of “we released two Christmas albums,” they followed that up with O Christmas Three (2011), featuring a whole new batch of Christmas favorites, an original song, and guest appearances from Dolly Parton and America.

In 2011, to coincide with this release, as well as their world tour, Peter Pardini (nephew of keyboardist/vocalist Lou Pardini, a “New Guy” since 2009) directed a tour documentary, as well as an original music video featuring the band. This in itself hasn’t been a thing in a very long time, and what they came up with is more of a short film than a music video.

As the story goes…

A Guy Walks Into A Bar…

And he feels like nothing. Or less than nothing. He’s unhappy with how his life is going, and while he feels bad about not making it home for Christmas, he also knows he doesn’t really stand out. His girlfriend treats him like crap, as do his supposed friends. So here he is, alone in a bar, watching the house band play.

But things are about to change for him, thanks to the gentle understanding of the bartender.

Why yes, that is Joe Montegna!

And He Watches A Band Who Changes His Life…Sort of.

Did I mention they were Chicago, under the guise of a kickin’ house band?

You’re in for a treat! Click play!

Upload via chicagotheband1

I found myself laughing at the campiness of the whole thing. The silly acting, the hamming it up for the camera (Jason Scheff was a tad over the top, but I’ll forgive him), and the actual story itself. This guy can’t catch a break no matter what, but at least the band accepts him…sort of.

So…Joe Montegna?

Joe Montegna’s appearance in this video isn’t because he needed an acting job, or merely because he was hired. Montegna’s long association with the group goes back even before they were Chicago (and even Chicago Transit Authority!). Montegna, a DePaul University student from 1969, played in the band The Apocryphals, which later played with a group called The Missing Links, who then went on to form Chicago. Montegna is a longtime friend, and was interviewed for the documentary Now More Than Ever, and wished the group a happy 25th anniversary during A&E’s show Live by Request in 2002.

Lest we forget the guy whom he talks to about how sad his life is…

And Kyle Mooney?

I’m sure somebody liked Kyle Mooney’s comedy – he worked with the Upright Citizens Brigade, and had been making regular television appearances at the time this video was made. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” was actually pre-Saturday Night Live, since he didn’t join the show until 2013.

His performance here was actually pretty funny – I admit, I’m not a huge fan of him on Saturday Night Live, but he’s not terrible or unfunny by any means. Actually, I laughed harder at his trying-to-be-a-lovable loser portrayal here than I ever have on Saturday Night Live.

And Chicago’s Acting?

Well, it’s obvious these guys aren’t actors, but they pull it off well, if not a little hammy. Obviously, this was being played up for laughs. Jason Scheff’s comedic timing is hilarious.

I prefer him flipping his long hair in every late 1980s and early 1990s Chicago music video ever, but this was a whole other level.

Oh, and Keith Howland singing lead is just awesome. I love his voice, ever since I heard him sing “Old Days.”

I love how they aren’t actually referred to as “Chicago,” but instead as “the band.” I think it is safe to say they haven’t played a venue like this since their early days.

But in all, this was funny and totally unexpected. No seriously, I found it by accident.

If You Enjoyed This…

If you like what you’ve seen, this YouTube channel (it isn’t the only official one devoted to their music), features clips and short films featuring the group, some also directed by Peter Pardini. It is worth the look!

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Allison L. Venezio

Secretary/Blogger-Writer at Allison's Written Words and Retroist
Allison is a Secretary by day, a writer/blogger by night (and during lunch breaks and in the mornings before work), a nostalgia geek (and a geek in general), worshipper of Thor (and Chris Hemsworth), and honorary Avenger (she has a pin, so it is official).She collects Funko Pops, loves anything that takes her back to childhood, and has confessed her love for Kenny Loggins.Oh, and she listens to Chicago...alot.If any of this piques your interest, she'd love for you to visit her personal blog, Allison's Written Words, where she talks about alot of the same stuff she talks about here, and more!

She can be found at can follow her blog on Facebook (, Instagram @allisonswrittenwords, and on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

(Her fiancee is supportive of the whole Chris Hemsworth and Kenny Loggins love thing.)
Allison L. Venezio
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