The 12 Songs of Arizona Christmas: 12 Drummers Drumming | Phoenix New Times

The 12 Songs of Arizona Christmas: 12 Drummers Drumming

The last day of our musical Advent calendar for intriguing businesses and groups across the state.
The Dirty Drummer is a place that welcomes everyone.
The Dirty Drummer is a place that welcomes everyone. Lauren Cusimano
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Welcome to final entry to the "The 12 Songs of Arizona Christmas," in which local stakeholders detail their most cherished holiday songs. Consider this a musical Advent calendar, where your "treat" is a better understanding of the interesting people and organizations from across the city and state.

12 Drummers Drumming

Dana Armstrong, Co-Owner, Dirty Drummer

Since 1975, the Dirty Drummer has exemplified the warmth, grace, and the cheap beer of the neighborhood bar. It's a place for locals to gather for an extended lunch or a quick drink, or a place to watch the game and share in local gossip. In recent years, the bar's added new amenities, like a jukebox and a stage, to attract a different kind of patron. But co-owner Dana Armstrong is working to retain the same ease and comfort instilled by her dad, Frank "Drummer" Armstrong, all those years ago. Talk about never missing a beat.

"My favorite is Nat King Cole's version of 'The Christmas Song.' It's such a classic, but it's also poignant. It was my dad's favorite, and he had the records, which were his parents, and some of those are from the late 1940s. It just reminds me of that time. He also had these plastic icicles, and every year he'd explain how they had to ration Christmas decorations in the '30s, and he still had those from the Depression. He passed away, so it's kind of bittersweet for me, and there are all these memories attached. But it's great, and that's what the holidays are for, to have all these feelings. But you also hope you have new people in your life to create new memories. Nothing compares [to the song], and Christmas just doesn't start until I hear it."

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