Max Webster's cosmic sound definitely not run-of-the-mill
By SAM CHARTERSMax Webster is definitely not your run-of-the-mill bar band. The members of this four-piece group, actually five when you count Pye Dubois, the man who comes up with all of those strange lyrics, describe themselves as being a little different - slightly wierd is more appropriate.
The four musicians, Kim Mitchell, lead vocals and guitar, Mike Tilka, bass and vocals, Paul Kersey on drums and Terry Watkinson, on keyboards and vocals are playing until the end of this week at the Knob Hill.
Kim Mitchell, who writes the majority of the music for Dubois' lyrics, grew up in Sarnia with Dubois but it wasn't until they ventured to Greece that they joined together in writing music.
Kim Mitchell does many strange gyrations on stage and explains his actions as "just having fun, I like doing it; it makes me feel looser."
The band, formed three years ago, is a strange assortment of musicians. Mike Tilka, an ex-school teacher from Detroit, and a graduate from the University of Windsor. "I lived in Windsor. The first keyboard player for the band was a school mate with me. When Kim came back from Greece he wrote me a letter. The letter read something like, "Quack, Quack. I hear you are a bass player. Do you want to have a band?" and there was his phone number. I gave him a call, we jammed one night and I joined the group," he said.
Paul Kersey's introduction to the band was a little more indirect. "I played in a bar band and Kim filled in for two weeks on guitar. I went to London and missed his invitation to join his group by two days. Later I came back and joined," he said. Kersey is very frank when it comes to discussing Max Webster. When the first Rush drummer left, Kersey was offered a great deal of money to replace him. "It's obvious why I didn't join Rush - I wanted to be in Max Webster." But Kersey wasn't too into the type of music Rush was playing at the time he was approached.
Terry Watkinson, who designed the freaky figurine head and the jacket for the album, is 35. Watkinson also writes some of the band's material and is a superb keyboard man.
For Max Webster, whose album has only been on the stands for a little over a month, their three years of hard work is just beginning to pay off. They opened for Rush's three-night stand at Massey Hall, which sold out each night; they have the Knob Hill and other local pubs packed whenever they perform; and the bigger record companies are beginning to sit up and take notice.
Their opening set featured some cuts from the album such as Coming Off The Moon and Beyond The Moon. Both are heavy rockers and Kim Mitchell showed he is no slouch on the guitar, providing some painfully beautiful guitar solos. Two new selections, Oh War and She Comes Across Like Diamonds, met with load ovations from their fans. She Comes Across Like Diamonds is a quiet three chorded progression, somewhat like a ballad yet more expressive in it's mood.
Max Webster is a band on its way to the top, cosmic in its sound and a pleasant deviation from mindless rock and roll.