Thursday, August 22, 2013

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Max Webster

Artist:Max Webster
Song:Paradise Skies
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Max Webster

Max Webster was another Canadian band that was successful at home but couldn't seem to break through internationally. The 1979 single Paradise Skies was a last ditch attempt to get a hit in England. They split up in 1981. Lead singer and songwriter Kim Mitchell is from the western Ontario city of Sarnia. He had several bands in the 60s and one of them, ZOOOM, moved to Toronto. He stayed in Toronto when the rest of the band moved back to Sarnia. While working as a session musician, he asked childhood pal Pye Dubois to help him write songs for a potential band. Dubois was never a member of the band but he and Mitchell wrote most of the songs. The band formed in 1972 with Mitchell on vocals and guitar, Terry Watkinson on keyboards, Mike Tilka on bass and Paul Kersey on drums. The name Max Webster is fictitious emulating Alice Cooper. They got a break in 1975 when the band Rush liked them and Max Webster signed with Rush's management and ultimately Anthem Records which was owned by Rush's management. They were on Mercury Records in the US. The first two albums did OK. An attempt to release their first album in the US with a different title didn't work. Kersey was replaced by Gary McCracken and Tilka went to work for Anthem and was replaced by Dave Myles. Both McCracken and Myles are guys Mitchell played with in Sarnia. The next step was to try and break Max Webster in England with the 1979 album A Million Vacations. They toured England and Paradise Skies charted in Canada and England. But it wasn't enough. Watkinson left and was replaced by Dave Stone. When Anthem refused to finance another British tour, Kim Mitchell left to go solo in 1981. That was the end of Max Webster. This comp is a good intro to their music. Mitchell's solo career was successful and Watkinson and Tilka lead the band Antlers. But Max Webster still has a following in Ontario and they have reunited occasionally. Kim Mitchell is also a DJ for Q107 in Toronto. Here's Max Webster performing Paradise Skies on Top Of The Pops 1979.

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