Akron is know for a number of things. The former rubber capitol is the birth place of the biggest traitor in sports history and home to THE greatest Christmas band in the world. At least that’s the story Missile Toe front man Jeff Hardy lays down and after hearing the band it’s a tough tale to dispute. Missle Toe plays classic Christmas tunes with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude and heavy punk undertones, somewhere between Chuck Berry and the Sex Pistols. The group features lead guitarist James Millar, Dale Houston on bass, Mike Schubert handles the drumming duties and Hardy sings and plays rhythm guitar. When the band first formed a drummer, who’s name has since been lost to the annals of history, played with the group. The anonymous drummer thought the band would have a more Christian bent and invited his church group out to the first show. “I came out in a funny costume and he never called us back,” Hardy explained. “He thought it was going to be more of a praise band and I had a red union suit on and bows stuck all over it.” The band has a few determining factors when choosing holiday classics to play, Hardy said, explaining: “They have to be easy and we have to be able to rock them up. We try to play songs that came out before 1980 and if there is a dead person in the band that helps.” He said once the band started playing Christmas songs they noticed a certain code, what they call the “Kringle Code.” “We have cracked the Kringle Code,” Hardy said. “Once you crack the Kringle Code then you can figure out these songs and you go ‘oh yeah, that one’ or ‘no, we can’t do that one because it has a keyboard and a choir.’” The band has no plans to try and add these elements to the group as Hardy explained, “Jim plays that gold top Les Paul and I’m playing guitar too, a keyboard player would just get crunched. We would just crunch him. We want to keep it as rock ‘n’ roll for Christmas as possible.” All the members play original music in bands throughout the year, but between Thanksgiving and Christmas they come together to spread the Yuletide joy. Each member has been involved with well respected Akron bands. Millar plays guitar in Peep, while Schubert played in The Nimrods and Houston played in Planet Log 3000. As for Hardy, he plays in a slew of bands including seminal Akron punk band C.D. Truth, hardcore punk group Zero Defex and horror rock outfit Dead Federation. He also plays guitar in a new band of “art damaged rockers” called Team of Rivals, which has recently started playing out. “Luckily I play in bands with people who don’t act like jealous girlfriends,” Hardy said. “I tell them, ‘I can’t play in December, sorry,’ and they understand.” Hardy has been playing in C.D. Truth for the past 20 years and has been active in the Akron music scene for even longer. “When I was 18 I used to go see bands and they would let me carry a drum in to get in the club,” Hardy said. “I’d get in and they’d buy me a beer or something.” Hardy’s bands Zero Defex and Dead Federation are currently working on new albums with an anticipated 2012 release. The members of Missle Toe’s other bands keep them busy enough during the year that at times they won’t see each other until April or May, depending on if they play Christmas in July shows. But Hardy explained that gearing up for Missile Toe shows is something he always looks forward to because of the jovial atmosphere that surrounds the band, among other things. “It is one of the few bands that I’ve played in where I’ve seen female body parts exposed while playing,” he said. “I guess in a way that’s kind of wrong with the Christmas band, but sometimes weird things happen at Missile Toe shows. I think it depends on what outfit I wear.” Put a little rock in your season on December 12 at the Spitfire Saloon, the 17th at Ozzy’s Nottingham Pub and 23rd at Annabell’s, Christmas Night at the Matinee. The band will also be playing live on WRUW FM on the 22nd. If their live shows have you wanting more, the band has released two CDs of Christmas classics for your listening pleasures. Missle Toe will close out the holiday season with a big ass bang at Lakewood’s Phantasy Nite Club on December 29th with the Floydband.