(a part of the) TribYouth - Rock On (column)
By JIM MILLICAN
Another bandMax 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.
Joint worksThe 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 all about.