MAX WEBSTER - Here To Thin The Thickness Of Your Hair
by Martin Popoff
Canada's legendary MAX WEBSTER (perennial touring mates of RUSH through the late '70s and damn near indescribable... ZAPPA-esque prog metal perhaps?).
"This is the band that is on High Class In Borrowed Shoes," says keyboardist Terry Watkinson referring to the band's 1977 classic. "Gary McCracken, Mike Tilka, Kim and myself. And it's been quite a lot of work, really. Because that music is not easy to play, and this band hasn't played together for what, almost 30 years, I guess? So we've been working, pulling it together for a couple of weeks, and we just had our second rehearsal with Gary. Because he's in Sarnia. He just came down on Sunday. We did two nights with him, and tonight we're going again. And it's almost there. Everybody is feeling good, sounds great."
Set-wise, look for all the Max classics to be played, says Watkinson, not offering specifics, other than 'Battle Scar'. As a refresher, the albums sampled total five, issued from 1975 through 1980. The band also released a live album and a greatest hits record, and a good half dozen songs are perennial classic rock radio staples all over Canada.
"But there's another piece of lost authenticity in all this," laughs Terry, "in that my old Yamaha organ, that I used on every Max album and toured with for ten years almost, has been resuscitated and it sounds great, so I'm using that, plus some newer stuff. It's been sitting on its end behind my bathroom door for several years. Last time I tried it, a few years ago, it sounded really sickly, but it just needed a bit of work. And all of a sudden there it was - the sound was there, and I love it."
Having Mike Tilka back on bass is a nice touch. Last time Max Webster reformed, the band used Kim's bass player, the ridiculously talented Peter Fredette. Says Terry, "I think Kim, last time, wanted kind of the security factor of having Peter playing, because Peter has been playing with the Kim Mitchell Band for a long time and he's a great singer and a great bass player. But yeah, so I'm not really sure. This is all Kim's decision, and you never know exactly why he does certain things. Mike has been working really hard. It was kind of brutal the first couple of rehearsals... well, for everybody, but especially for him. Because he wasn't in the last reunion and he wasn't in the last two years of the band. So we're doing a certain amount of material that he's never played. But he's worked hard and he's gotten it all together and he is sounding good."
MAX WEBSTER - Here To Thin The Thickness Of Your Hair Page 2