Max Webster

Max Webster was a Canadian hard-rock band that released five albums and a live disc on Anthem between 1976 and 1980.

Members: Kim Mitchell (guitar, vocals), Terry Watkinson (keyboards, vocals, 1973-79, 1990-?), Mike Tilka (bass, 1973-77, 1990-?), Paul Kersey (drums, 1973-77), Gary McCracken (drums, 1977-?), David Myles (bass), David Stone (keyboards, 1979-81)


Background

Max Webster was formed in Sarnia, Ontario, in 1973 by guitarist/singer Kim Mitchell. He’d spent the preceding seven years in a series of short-lived acts (The Quotations, Big Al’s Band, ZOOOM), including one, the Grass Company, that issued the 1968 psych-rock single “Once a Days” (b/w “Once a Child”) on Michigan-based regional press Sound Inc.

For his new band, Mitchell enlisted keyboardist Terry Watkinson, drummer Paul Kersey, and Indiana-born bassist Mike Tilka. Watkinson had played in the late-’50s rockabilly combo Sonny Brite & the Sequins and the ’60s garage band Dee & the Yeomen. Kersey hailed from The Bluesmen Revue, which issued the 1968 Columbia single “Spin the Bottle (of Love)” (b/w “Dorian’s Dance”).

Mitchell picked the “Max Webster” moniker because he wanted a band name like Jethro Tull (i.e. the name of a non-existent man). “Webster” came from a song by Tilka’s prior band, Family at Mac’s. (According to an alternate story, Kim had a friend named Max who lived on Webster Drive, Ontario.)

Max Webster secured a deal with Taurus Records, a short-lived label run by Rush manager Ray Danniels. Mitchell’s multi-lingual poet friend Pye Dubois (real name Paul Woods) became their lyricist.


Max Webster

Max Webster released their debut album on May 3, 1976, on Taurus Records (TR 101).

Written-By – Kim Mitchell (tracks: A1, A2, A4 to B4), Pye Dubois (tracks: A1, A2, A4 to B3), Terry Watkinson (tracks: A3)

A1. “Hangover” (4:36)
A2. “Here Among the Cats” (3:07)
A3. “Blowing the Blues Away” (3:33)
A4. “Summer Turning Blue” (3:05)
A5. “Toronto Tontos” (3:40)
B1. “Coming Off the Moon” (3:38)
B2. “Only Your Nose Knows” (4:16)
B3. “Summer’s Up” (2:45)
B4. “Lily” (7:42)

Recorded At – Toronto Sound Studios
Producer – Max Webster, Terry Brown

Guitar, Lead Vocals – Kim Mitchell
Keyboards, Vocals – Terry Watkinson
Bass, Vocals – Mike Tilka
Drums, Percussion – Paul Kersey

Art Work And Design – Terry Watkinson

November
A: Blowing The Blues Away
B: Hangover

Max Webster is the second of three albums released Taurus, which Danniels subsumed into a new label, Anthem Records, which reissued the album in January 1977. In the US, the album appeared on Mercury as Hangover with different cover art.

After a falling out with Mitchell, Kersey left the band and later formed Dillinger, which morphed into The Hunt. Max, meanwhile, signed to Anthem Records and struck a distribution deal with Merucry in 1977, releasing HIGH CLASS IN BORROWED SHOES with new drummer Gary McCracken (ex of Zing Dingo – a three piece jazz outfit out of Windsor, Ont.) later that year.


High Class in Borrowed Shoes

Max Webster released their second album, High Class in Borrowed Shoes, on May 16, 1977, on Anthem and Mercury.

Written-By – Mitchell* (tracks: A1 to B2, B4), Dubois* (tracks: A1 to B2, B4), Watkinson* (tracks: B3)

A1. “High Class in Borrowed Shoes” (4:00)
A2. “Diamonds Diamonds” (3:17)
A3. “Gravity” (4:54)
A4. “Words to Words” (3:37)
A5. “America’s Veins” (4:19)
B1. “Oh War!” (4:27)
B2. “On the Road” (3:29)
B3. “Rain Child” (4:28)
B4. “In Context of the Moon” (5:18)

Producer – Max Webster, Terry Brown

Guitar, Lead Vocals – Kim Mitchell
Keyboards, Vocals – Terry Watkinson
Bass, Vocals – Mike Tilka
Drums – Gary McCracken

A: Words To Words
B: In Context Of The Moon

A: Diamonds Diamonds
B: Rain Child


Mutiny Up My Sleeve

Max Webster released their third album, Mutiny Up My Sleeve, on April 17, 1978, on Anthem and Capitol (US).

Written-By – Mitchell* (tracks: A1, A4 to B4), Dubois* (tracks: A1, A4 to B4), Watkinson* (tracks: A2, A3)

A1. “Lip Service” (4:02)
A2. “Astonish Me” (4:49)
A3. “Let Your Man Fly” (2:46)
A4. “Water Me Down” (3:13)
A5. “Distressed” (4:12)
B1. “The Party” (4:46)
B2. “Waterline” (4:08)
B3. “Hawaii” (3:03)
B4. “Beyond the Moon” (6:17)

Recorded At – Phase One Studios (Scarborough), Sounds Interchange
Producer – Max Webster, Mike Tilka, Terry Brown
Engineer – Mark Wright, Mike Jones

Guitar, Vocals – Kim Mitchell
Keyboards, Vocals – Terry Watkinson
Bass, Vocals – Dave Myles
Drums, Percussion – Gary McCracken

Design [Album] – Hugh Syme


A Million Vacations

Max Webster released their fourth album, A Million Vacations, on March 5, 1979, Anthem and Capitol.

A1. “Paradise Skies” (3:27)
A2. “Charmonium” (4:19) Watkinson
A3. “Night Flights” (3:05) Watkinson–Dubois
A4. “Sun Voices” (4:48)
A5. “Moon Voices” (3:12) Mitchell
B1. “A Million Vacations” (3:16) McCracken–Dubois
B2. “Look Out” (4:58)
B3. “Let Go the Line” (3:33) Watkinson
B4. “Rascal Houdi” (3:29)
B5. “Research (at Beach Resorts)” (4:59)

Recorded At – Phase One Studios
Producer – John De Nottbeck, Max Webster
Engineer [Recording] – Mark Wright

Guitar, Lead Vocals – Kim Mitchell
Keyboards, Vocals – Terry Watkinson
Bass, Vocals – Dave Myles
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Gary McCracken

Congas, Shaker – Dick Smith
Vocals [Additional] – Carla Jensen, Judy Donnelly

Album Design, Illustration – Fifty Fingers, Paul Hodgson
Artwork By [Postcards] – George
Photography By – Phil Kamin
Photography By [Terry Watkinson] – Fin Costello

A: A Million Vacations
B: Night Flights

A: Let Go The Line
B: Moon Voices

A: “Paradise Skies” Canada (number 21) and the UK Singles Chart (number 43
B: In Context Of The Moon


Live Magnetic Air

On October 22, 1979, Max Webster released Live Magnetic Air, culled from two recent concerts in Ontario.


Universal Juveniles

Max Webster released their fifth studio album, Universal Juveniles, on October 3, 1979, Anthem and Mercury.

A1. “In the World of Giants” (4:18)
A2. “Check” (2:37)
A3. “April In Toledo” (3:40) Piano, Clavinet – Doug Riley
A4. “Juveniles Don’t Stop” (3:32)
A5. “Battle Scar” (5:48) Rush and Max Webster, Keyboards – Terry Watkinson
B1. “Chalkers” (3:45)
B2. “Drive and Desire” (3:53)
B3. “Blue River Liquor Shine” (4:15)
B4. “What Do You Do With the Urge” (3:20)
B5. “Cry Out Your Life” (5:33)

Recorded at Phase One Studios, Scarborough, Canada
Engineer [Unlimited Productions Limited] – Dave Greene

Guitar, Vocals – Kim Mitchell
Bass – Dave Myles
Drums – Gary McCracken

Piano (A1, A3, B3-B4), Clavinet (A3, B5) – Doug Riley
Synthesizer (A1, A3, B1, B3) – Dave Stone

A: Blue River Liquor Shine
B: Check


Discography:


Sources:

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