Bullseye’s 2022 Holiday Special: Rob Halford, Micky Dolenz, Sy Smith and more

20th December 2022

The Bullseye Holiday Spectacular is here! We are revisiting some of our favorite holiday interviews with different guests from over the years. First, we kick things off with Rob Halford. The lead singer of Judas Priest tells us about the rock music he loves and the reason he decided to record a holiday album. We also have singer/songwriter Sy Smith, who shares which classic holiday tune changed her life. Micky Dolenz of The Monkees sits with Jesse to discuss his time in the industry and The Monkees holiday record Christmas Party. We close things out with the McElroy brothers Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy. They’re hosts of the Maximum Fun podcasts The Adventure Zone and the smash hit My Brother, My Brother and Me. They bring their signature wit to Bullseye and solve your holiday conundrums.

Episode notes

Rob Halford (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

This week, we’re bringing you the Bullseye Holiday Spectacular! We’re showcasing some great moments with Rob Halford, singer/songwriter Sy Smith, Micky Dolenz of The Monkees, and The Brothers McElroy.

First up, the Metal God himself, Rob Halford. He’s the lead singer of Judas Priest and a legend in the metal world. He recently released an autobiography called Confess, where he shares some incredible memories of his life. In 2009, Rob had just released his first ever heavy metal holiday album called Halford III: Winter Songs. He stopped by the show to talk about his musical legacy, coming out in the early 90s, and holiday music. If you’re looking for more alternative holiday, check out Celestial, Rob’s 2019 holiday album made with his family and friends.

Sy Smith (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

For the Song That Changed My Life, we were joined by Sy Smith. Sy is a singer, songwriter and producer that lives in Los Angeles. She’s been recording soul records for over a decade and has collaborated with artists like Kamasi Washington and Thundercat. She is also an incredibly talented backup singer and has performed with Sheila E., Chaka Khan, Usher and many more.

When we talked with her in 2018, she had just dropped a fun seasonal EP called Christmas in Syberspace. She talked to us about the story behind one of her songs, and the song that changed her life: My Favorite Things. Sy tells us why she loves both the Julie Andrews version and the John Coltrane interpretation. 

Micky Dolenz  (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

Our guest Micky Dolenz starred in the hit 1960’s TV show The Monkees. It was essentially a Hollywood take on The Beatles’ comedy A Hard Day’s Night. Micky played the drummer and one of the vocalists alongside Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork, and the late Davy Jones. The gang played a bunch of lovable goofs trying to make it as a band, bumming around Los Angeles, and solving mysteries. And, this might be news to you: The Monkees weren’t a band before the show started. They each auditioned for parts in the show, and most of them were mainly actors. Nevertheless, they had some legendary all-time hits like Last Train To Clarksville, Daydream Believer, and I’m a Believer.

The band outlasted the show itself and last year they recorded and released their 13th studio album Christmas Party. It’s a holiday record chock full of standards, covers, and originals. It’s also got contributions from Rivers Cuomo, Peter Buck and more.

Courtesy of The McElroy Brothers

To wrap it up, we’re turning to our three favorite brothers for some seasonal wisdom. Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy are the hosts of the Maximum Fun podcasts The Adventure Zone and the smash hit My Brother, My Brother and Me. The latter serves as an “advice show for the modern era.” 

The brothers talk to Jesse about holiday fun and answer a plea from a parent who wants to know what to tell a kid wondering about Santa and Batman. 

In this episode...

Senior Producer
Maximum Fun Producer
Maximum Fun Production Fellow


  • Rob Halford
  • Micky Dolenz
  • Sy Smith
  • The McElroy brothers

About the show

Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.

Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.

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Senior Producer


Maximum Fun Producer

Maximum Fun Production Fellow

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