FARGO — The Blenders kick off their annual run at the Fargo Theatre on Tuesday, Dec. 18, with the first of seven shows that stretch into the weekend.
For more than two decades, the vocal group that includes Tim Kasper, Ryan Lance and brothers Darren and Allan Rust has spread holiday cheer through song, with their Fargo hometown shows a highlight for members who live in the Twin Cities area and Florida.
Kasper talked with The Forum about this year’s show, plans for next year’s 30th anniversary and all things Christmas.
I know you don’t want to spoil any surprises, but what’s new this year?
We have a couple of new songs, “In the Bleak Midwinter” and “Let the Music Get Down in Your Soul.” They are available on our website. So we’ll be playing those for sure. We don’t have a lot of surprises this year. We’ve been working with a little bit more of the traditional songs. We’re not putting in a lot of comedy surprises.
A year from now, what do you want the Blenders’ 30th anniversary show to be?
I don’t know exactly what I want it to be because I appreciate our history, but there’s also an evolution that has happened over the years. We always want to try to stay true to both. But we want to honor the fans and honor the people that have been with us a long time.
When is it OK to start listening to Christmas music?
I think people can listen to it year-round. I’m one of those people that gets sick of Christmas music, not just the stuff we do, but all the stuff I hear wherever I go during the holidays.
What was the last Christmas album or song you downloaded?
I don’t listen to any Christmas music. Is that horrible? We’re inundated with it this time of year. A song may catch my ear in a store, but I haven’t downloaded any Christmas music or bought any. I more do it as a job. I more listen with a critical ear to see if we can do it or not.
What are your thoughts on the “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” controversy?
I just feel like it’s much ado about nothing. Certainly the concerns are valid, relating to the #MeToo movement. A song written in a different time can be interpreted in different ways. For some people, it’s just something to talk about. I never really liked the song, never been a big fan of it.
You posted a picture recently of a cookie with the band’s faces on it given to you by a fan. What’s the strangest gift you ever received from a fan?
I got a really nice bottle of scotch a couple of years ago. That was great. The strangest? I think we got a whoopee cushion one time. I’m not exactly sure what they were thinking there. That cookie was something someone bought. Sometimes people make us (food) from scratch, which is amazing and we appreciate it, but we may be reluctant to eat it if we don’t know what’s in it.
What’s your favorite Christmas cookie?
My mom makes an awesome chocolate crinkle. But my favorite Christmas cookie is the one with the chocolate Hershey’s Kiss in the middle (a peanut butter blossom). Spritz cookies are good, too.
What’s a gift you wanted as a kid that you never got, so you bought it as an adult?
The only story that comes to mind is when I was a kid, I really wanted a hockey stick and one of my brothers was my secret Santa. He played a trick on me, didn’t give it to me and I got ticked off. He did get it for me, but hid it outside. That’s a vivid memory because I was kind of a jerk about it and lo and behold, he did get it for me.
What gift do you want now as an adult that would make you cringe as a kid?
I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to buy me a tie because I probably have pretty specific tastes. I could probably use a pair of slippers, and that’s something I could wear around the house in Florida.
This is the 21st anniversary of your first Christmas album, “Nog.” Do you ever drink eggnog?
I have in the past, with rum in it… I don’t drink during the tour. I’m really boring. My goal is to stay healthy and not lose my voice. Once the tour is over, I will imbibe a little.
If you go
What: The Blenders
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18 through Saturday, Dec. 22, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 23
Where: The Fargo Theatre, 314 Broadway N.
Info: Tickets are $44; https://jadepresents.com or 866-300-8300