Year Of The Knife

Year Of The Knife’s Madi Watkins Speaks On Her Recovery From The Band’s 2023 Van Accident


Year Of The Knife vocalist Madi Watkins has given her first interview since the band’s terrible van accident last June. That crash, which saw the band’s van collide with the back of a semi-trailer truck after playing a show in Salt Lake City, UT, left several members with devastating injuries and considerable financial setbacks.

Drummer Andrew Kisielewski broke both of his ankles, while his brother, guitarist Aaron Kisielewski, was left with a lacerated carotid right artery and a broken femur. Bassist/guitarist Brandon Watkins suffered a concussion and multiple contusions in the accident, with his injuries being being the least in severity.

Brandon‘s wife, Madi, however was left with serious brain trauma, a broken jaw on both sides, a broken femur, pelvis & ankle, plus a fractured tibia. Her injuries saw her placed in a medically induced coma, with numerous surgeries and months of physical, cognitive and speech therapy to follow. She was eventually discharged and sent back home in September of that year.

There was a massive outpouring of support for the group during their time of need, with this GoFundMe generating $256,536 USD as of press time. For this interview, Watkins appeared on a show she is a fan of, HardLore, which is co-hosted by Bo Lueders of Harm’s Way, and Colin Young of Twitching Tongues & God’s Hate.

When asked if she feels that there’s still a long road ahead for the band, she replied [transcribed by]:

“I think that there’s a long road ahead, but most of it’s just convincing the band that I’m ready. Because I think sometimes I push them, like, ‘I really want to play’ and they’re like ‘can you?’ And I’m like ‘yeah, let’s practice, let’s do stuff.’ And they’re very like… Maybe [they’re] just being conservative, but I’m like, ‘C’mon, let’s go for it.'”

Late last month the group had their first practice since the accident. Speaking of how that went, she offered:

“It was awesome, it was like seriously so fun. It was just cool to get back to practicing. I was like, ‘We can do this.’ And anything we have like, offers, they’re like, ‘I don’t know…’ I’m like, ‘You do know. We can do this.'”

When asked how her voice was doing after the accident, she replied “it’s feeling good.” As for if there was a specific point she can recall regaining her cognition after the accident, she replied:

“That’s the weirdest thing about it. I feel like I don’t even remember being at the hospital and I feel like I just remember being back home. Like, I know there was times in-between that, it’s just I have no memory of them, which I think is super weird, but maybe a good thing.”

On the outpouring of support the band received amid their time in the hospital and recovery period:

“I honestly think that seeing that, I was just like, ‘Holy shit!’ Even people that we’re not close to were being supportive. To me I was just like, ‘Damn, we’re so lucky.’ That was something… I don’t know if I felt that way before, but after that I was just like, ‘damn, we really had the support. When we needed it people were there.”

On her mobility now:

“I’m at like a 100%, which is cool. It’s like wild. Because I think the twins were always like really, really worried [about me.] They were like, ‘I don’t know if you’re going to get back to where you were.’ But I think I’m better than where I was.”

On the accident:

Andy and Aaron were in the front. I was laying on the first bench and then the second bench Brandon was laying on. And then it was just like [crash.]”

She went on to say that both her and Brandon were asleep at the time of the accident. She also again relayed that she doesn’t remember the hospital in SLC, offering, “Literally my first memory is like being back home, which is so weird.”

Speaking of her time in the weeks following the immediate aftermath of the accident, she stated that she essentially lost roughly a month of time. She explained,  “My brain was just not there, unfortunately.”

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