For our first ever Festive Feature on Mad Mackerel, we asked twelve of our favourite bands and artists of 2011 to answer twelve questions and we will publish them over the next twelve days taking us up to Christmas Eve.

MM's 12 Days of Christmas: 1 Twilight Hotel.

Kicking us off on Day 1 are Twilight Hotel who released the superb When The Wolves Go Blind album back in January. From the jazzy echoes of  the title track to the dark road trip of Mahogany Veneer and the pulsing folky reverb of Ham Radio Blues they delivered a record which we’ve played solidly throughout the year. They are certain to feature in MM’s Best of lists that are coming shortly.

1) Three iconic clashes. Who would you vote for?

a) The Velvet Underground or The Doors?

Velvet Underground because their music was way ahead of its time, their debut was low fi slacker indie rock before well before mustaches became ironic. 

b) Bob Dylan or Neil Young?

Neil Young, I love Bob Dylan, but Neil has an honest vulnerability to his songs that moves my heart in a way that cool detached Dylan just can’t.

c) The Sex Pistols or the Clash?


2) What has been your personal highlight of 2011?

2011… the year of…. lets see… A little over a year ago I joined a group called the Minor Mishap Marchingband, I saw them playing at a club and I thought “I could be in that band playing trumpet” So I approached the group and they let me join. Fast forward to Dia de los Muertas 2011 and I found myself with the band in a parade on 6th st, covered in face paint blowing trumpet along with what are now 30 of my closest friends and playing a song that I wrote part of and I thought, “well, here you are.” Oh and did I mention we made a cameo in the remake of Slacker?

3) What was your low point of the year?

The low point of 2011 was undoubtably being stuck in Toronto Canada in the freezing late January, broke and sleeping on the air mattress of a friend who was going through a mini mid life crisis. Every night around 1 am I’d go out for a shivering cigarette and order bad coffee from the late night service window of a Coffee Time on Queen St E and end up at a 24 hour internet cafe where I’d buy a day old double chocolate muffin with pocket change. This one particular day the fellow working says to me “I’ll give you computer number 23 in the back so you can look at your porn. My god those were dark days. 

4) You can give one single album from 2011 to just one person for Christmas. What would you buy and who for?

Sorry, but if I get to chose, it isn’t going to be any album from 2011. In this fantasy, I come across a dog-eared copy of The Rolling Stones Exile on Main St for $1.99 from some thrift store after thumbing through 500 Roger Whittaker and James Last titles; I keep it for myself. 

5) Give us between two and five songs from 2011 that you’d recommend as the best of the year.

Tom Wait’s has a new record out called Bad as Me, there’s at least 5 songs on it. Also, not so current, but Beethoven’s Archduke Trio performed by The Million Dollar Trio was recommended to me by Haruki Murikami and is now my favorite discovery of the year.

6) Do you have a favourite Christmas Carol?

When I was a kid I loved the Kingston Trio’s version of “the Virgin mary had a baby boy” I just thought it was a catchy song and I liked the Calipso undertones, but then again you’d also hear a lot of Boney M’s christmas album in my house. More recently I got hooked on Bob Dylan’s “Must be Santa” because it makes me laugh and he looks like Sanderson from Newhart with his long hair.

7) Imagine you are snowed in and stuck in an isolated house in the woods for Christmas with no way out. Wolves and bears are prowling outside.You need to recommend the following:

A classic song to impress an ultra cool, know-it-all, teenager

Play the teenager Nat King Cole’s version of Nature Boy (who cares if he likes it). 

A song to terrify Grandma

Play grandma Tom Waits’ “Midtown”.

A traditional song to help send Grandad to sleep

Play grandad McCartney’s “Mull of Kintyre” but tell him its an old Celtic ballad.

A song for someone just waking from a five-year coma

Play the coma patient Gillian Welch’s “I Dream a Highway back to you”.

A book to frighten the children

Read the kiddo’s the original Grimm’s version of almost any fairytale they’ve come to assume Disney wrote.

An unforgettable film to watch

I don’t really like movies, can’t think of an unforgettable one… 

8) What is top of your Christmas list this year?


9) What is the worst Christmas present you’ve ever given and/or ever received?

Some people are hard to buy for, I once got my sister a bag of coffee beans, on the tag I wrote “from Juan Valdez” and she looked at it and said, “well it seems like coffee, which is strange cuz I don’t drink coffee”.

Somewhere in this world is a graveyard of all the ill considered shirts mothers have bought their sons…

10) Will you be making a New Year Resolution? If so can you share it and will you keep it? What is the stupidest New Year resolution you’ve ever made?

New years is a fun party night but I won’t be making any resolutions beyond having fun.

11) Imagine you’re headlining a Christmas Concert at your favourite venue. You can share the stage with three other artists or bands (past or present) for the final encore of the night. Who would they be and what would you play?


12) Can you write us a Christmas themed limerick?

There once was a holiday called yule
The pagans all thought it was cool
A season for muggins
And kissing your cousins
But the christians came along with their rules


You can buy a copy of When The Wolves Go Blind here, or download from eMusic here.

Why not watch the video for the title track.


Download Twilight Hotel – Ham Radio Blues mp3 (from When The Wolves Go Blind)

Download Twilight Hotel – Viva La Vinyl mp3 (from Highway Prayer)

Download Twilight Hotel – Highway Prayer mp3 (from Highway Prayer)

Check back tomorrow for The Lovely Eggs!


Tell Us What You Think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.