(a part of the) TribYouth - Rock On (column)
By JIM MILLICAN
Max Webster is a rock and roll band based in Toronto with a first record
emerging after a two year tour of the bar circuit. The music spills over with
the band's obvious commitment to its style and to the proposition that a
quartet of musicians need not conform to any given formulas in order to be
successful or for that matter commercial. Although the group and the album are
titled MAX WEBSTER (Taurus) the four individuals involved are Kim Mitchell,
Mike Tilka, Terry Watkinson and Paul Kersey.
The music is full of high impact with the songs varying in their precedents
from the bizarre arranging styles and ordinary everyday craziness of Frank
Zappa to the infusion of the odd production hook more associated with B.T.O.
Seldom does this inevitable borrowing process in rock music interfere with the
delivery of an interesting thought: sometimes lyrical, often musical.
The songs are the joint compositions of leader Kim Mitchell and
writer-poet-lyricist Pye Dubois who is an adjunct to the music segment of the
band and responsible for the words in the same way as Keith Reid serves Procol
Harum. The subject matter swings from the four minute piece of self
explanatory churning power titled "Hangover" to the surreal off the wall
imagery of "Here Among The Cats" or "Coming Off The Moon". There are also
songs that could provide the scenario for real life shattering experiences
like "Summer Turning Blue".
There is seldom any playing on the Max Webster album that the group couldn't
reproduce on stage. Its mostly guitar, bass and drums with an overlay of gruff
grabbing vocals...mostly good tough rock with a distinctly eccentric if not
progressive edge. This isn't to imply the lack of precise playing, much
intriguing invention, mood matching tempo changes and a degree of technical
prowess that is a mark of maturity beyond the timespace of the group's
apparent recording experience.
Max Webster claims to be set on expanding the boundaries of what is considered
commercial. To succeed they need a lucky break which includes your ears to
stand even a left field chance but thats a good part of what rock and roll is