By Christine Leonard
CALGARY – Flushing out the old year like the holes in your favourite ball, Major Minor’s Christmas Punk Rock Bowling show has become an annual tradition in Calgary. 2018 marks a meaningful anniversary for the grassroots event and founder Graham Mackenzie thought it was only appropriate to celebrate Major Minor Music Project’s milestone in their typically awesome and inclusive style.
“We wanted to cap off our third year of being an organization with something special and we wanted to try to raise extra funds for opening our own venue in 2019. Plus, we wanted to put a local punk spin on the ol’ holiday spirit!” Mackenzie explains.
The gift of music is one that warms the soul and keeps the home fires burning all year long, so it is only natural that Major Minor turned to engineer/producer Lorrie Matheson at Arch Audio to help them map out a sparkling Christmas-themed EP guaranteed to put the hum in yer bug.
“Lorrie Matheson is a gentleman and has been a source of support for Major Minor Music project,” Mackenzie says. “He helped us put it all together and the bands came together and really made this happen.”
That invite list includes Calgary legends Forbidden Dimension, Miesha & the Spanks, Pizza Bath, Julius Sumner Miller and more. Season’s Greetings Mohkinstsis Vol. 1 is the shiny Christmas treat you didn’t know you’d been wishing for.
Each contributor was encouraged to provide their own upgrades to the mindless Xmas muzik that festoons every commercial nook and cranny for months out of the year. They’re taking the holidays back one distorted riff at a time.
“I truly think the bands did something special here. Miesha & the Spanks do a brilliant take on “Merry Christmas Baby” and Forbidden Dimension recorded a morbid holiday classic!”
Forbidden Dimension’s lead man, the notorious inkster Tom Bagley (a.k.a. TomB), also provided the covetable cover art for the exclusive run of 300 albums pressed at Canadian Vinyl.
“Tom Bagley, like Lorrie Matheson, has been a constant source of support and brilliant craftsmanship!”
Mackenzie continues. “Julius Sumner Miller birthed a funny Christmas jingle, Pizza Bath set music to O Henry’s classic ‘Gift of the Magi’ in glorious fashion and Gratuitous Platypus put Santa on his heels!”
The star on this spiky and sap-filled tree is undoubtedly the punk version of José Feliciano’s hit “Feliz Navidad” translated into traditional Blackfoot and performed by Siksika Nation powerhouse No More Moments.
“Our guitarist Brandyn [Darko] suggested we do a punk rock version of ‘Feliz Navidad’, but change that chorus to a Blackfoot word,” says drummer Carlin Black Rabbit. “While we were in the studio our bassist, Cory [White], called his grandmother and she translated the song for us. You’ll hear a live recording of Connie Rabbit Carrier in the song pronouncing the word ‘Itahmistomahkahtoyikyistsikoyi.’ It means ‘happy cold day’ or Merry Christmas!”
“It’s great to hear the Blackfoot language on a punk rock album and the feeling is even greater when I know I was a part of that,” confirms White. “At the end of the day, I hope people like the track not only because it has the Blackfoot language incorporated into, but because it’s a good song. I hope people hearing the language brings more awareness to First Nations people as whole.”
A blast beat of heat from the hearth of the community, Season’s Greetings Mohkinstsis Vol. 1 is a much-needed remedy for the emotional frostbite some encounter this time of the year. According to No More Moments’ vocalist Quarthon Bear Chief it’s important to speak up and reach out to on another during the darkest days.
“It makes a huge difference in someone if you can still acknowledge them during these times, and we should. Everyone deserves to be loved and taken care of. If we can’t do it every day, we should at least try for one day. On Christmas everyone should be reminded the world isn’t a cold lonely place.”
Bringing the good folks of Mohkinstsis (the Blackfoot name for Calgary embedded in the EP’s title), together is exactly the message the all-ages advocate Major Minor is trying to spread. So head on down to Paradise Lanes to pick up a 7-10 split and a copy of this delicious holiday platter.
“If holiday music is everywhere in December why not add local artists to the mix?” Mackenzie adds. “The album is being released at the show on Saturday December 15th and everyone who buys a ticket gets the 12-inch limited edition vinyl free! I am excited to share it and overjoyed to be a part of it! It’s my Christmas wish that people relate to the record in the way that I do. That would be amazing!”
Major Minor Music Project presents Punk Rock Christmas Bowling YYC and Season’s Greetings Mohkinstsis Vol. 1 album launch with No More Moments, Forbidden Dimension, Julius Sumner Miller, Pizza Bath, Gratuitous Platypus, The Old Wives, Bring on the Storm, Frank Mona, and the School of Rock Calgary on Dec. 15 at Paradise Lanes (Calgary)
Tickets and information here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/punk-rock-christmas-bowling-yyc-tickets-52338853921?aff=Bring on the Storm, Forbidden Dimension, Frank Mona, Gratuitous Platypus, Julius Sumner Miller, Major Minor Music Project, Mohkinstsis Vol. 1, No More Moments, Paradise Lanes, Pizza Bath, Punk Rock Christmas Bowling YYC, School of Rock Calgary, Season’s Greetings Mohkinstsis Vol. 1, the Old Wives