Max the Axe

Halloween Memories with your host, “Max the Axe”!

Thanks for joining me, “Max the Axe”, for this special episode of Halloween Memories! Where’s Pablo? I’m kind of a big deal. Three yolks, two whites, that’s how you make Hollandaise sauce.

If you watch the video below I’ll give you a sneak preview of the new song “Oktoberfest Cheer” and we’ll visit with special guests “Mean” Gene Simmons and Dr. Kathryn Ladano!

To hear “Oktoberfest Cheer” which I played twice, go to 0:02:35 or 1:31:15. Chose your sound quality — shitty or shittier!

To hang out with Dr. Kathryn, go to 0:13:40.

To see what Mean Gene Simmons has to announce, check out 0:34:05.

Happy Halloween everyone!

#864.5: “Oktoberfest Cheer” – A Thank-You to Max the Axe

It was laundry night, when my phone blew up.  Uncle Meat was desperate to get a hold of me.  He rang my phone twice and there was a text message to call him immediately.  Of course, I was worried about my buddy.  If he needed me, I’d be there.

The urgency was apparently musical in nature.

Max the Axe had just finished mixing the three songs that will make up a forthcoming punk EP.  He finished that day…a full sweaty day at the studio that ended with “Thirsty and Miserable”, “Pygmy Blowdart” and “Oktoberfest Cheer” on a burned CD-R.  The only way for Meat to hear these tracks, songs that he sings on, was convoluted.  Max had to physically deliver the CDs to my house, and then I had to rip them to PC and email them to Uncle Meat.  That’s how ass-backwards those two guys are with technology.

The bonus in this case is getting an early copy of the still-untitled punk EP, which I assure you, is a killer.  But Max was so appreciative of my favour that he randomly gifted me this cool set of Twisted Sister guitar picks.  10 picks mounted on a paper matte, with a cool Twisted Sister picture.  Ready for framing.  Thank you Max!

What about the EP?  “Thirsty and Miserable” is a Black Flag cover with inspiration from Lemmy Kilmister.  It’s brilliant is all I can tell you.  “Pygmy Blowdart” is an original (Meat stresses that he did not write the lyrics) that sounds like a Josh Homme hit.  Finally “Oktoberfest Cheer” is a drunken, sloppy, very messy Kitchener-centric party song that could very well become a local anthem.  Oktoberfest actually ended a couple weeks ago, but this song captures the boozy oom-pa-pa of our annual Bavarian celebration.  “Don’t crush my smokes, and don’t spill my beer!”  I think it’s brilliant in that lager-soaked punk rock tradition.  I only heard an early mix, so I hope they take my advice when I say “more accordion”!

Enjoy a free preview of “Thirsty and Miserable” by Max the Axe featuring lead vocals by Eric “Uncle Meat” Litwiller!

 

 

REVIEW: Max the Axe – “Randy” Live at the Boathouse – VinylArt.co custom picture disc

There are plenty of services online for cutting your own music to vinyl these days.  The one that caught my eye was VinylArt.co, based out of Wales.  This company will cut picture discs with your chosen artwork and (legal) music to four sizes:  5″, 7″, 10″ and 12″.  How well does it work?  Read on to find out.

MAX THE AXE – “Randy” (Live at the Boathouse) (VinylArt.co custom picture disc)

“How many times can you say Randy?”

The first thing I need to note is that I didn’t choose a song to put on vinyl for its fidelity.  The prime factor behind me spending my money wasn’t to test the product for review, it was to make something that I wanted for myself.  It had to be something that you can’t get physically — I wanted to create my own physical product for something that only exists digitally.  In 2018, I recorded a song by Max the Axe when they played the Boathouse, and a few people commented that they liked the video.  I think the live version of “Randy” they played that night was outstanding.  It had bite and presence.  Singer Eric “Uncle Meat” Litwiller really gives his all in this version, particularly on the chorus.  I decided to turn that version, recorded on my phone, into an “official bootleg” live record.  Sound quality wasn’t even a concern in that regard.

VinyArt.co seem to market these records as keepsakes more than a way to play music.  For example, you have two packaging options:  a coloured paper sleeve, or a frame.  You don’t buy frames for records you plan on playing.  I planned on playing my Max the Axe “Randy” bootleg.  I wanted it to sound decent.  Does it?

Actually yeah.  It sounds OK for a picture disc.  There is surface noise that you can hear during the fades.  As you can see from the waveform image below, you also lose volume with a picture disc.  By nature it is not going to sound as clean as the original mp3 file that it was made from.  However VinylArt “master” the track as part of the process, and it does sound full and beefy enough for my needs.

Unaltered vinyl at top, original mp3 at bottom

It’s a very easy process.  All you have to do is upload a photo, and a track that you own (or one from their library).  Then you choose the record size.   The smaller the cheaper, but also the less music that will fit.  A 5″ record can only handle up to four minutes, so I had to go with the standard 7″ single.  The records are one-sided with a smooth white finish on the B-side.  With shipping to Canada, the whole thing cost me $55 CAD and took just over a week.  They track the whole process for you, from photo printing to audio mastering to record cutting.

Keep in mind picture discs do not typically offer the same quality as pure black vinyl, but this is something I wanted for myself as a keepsake.  The bass is nice and fat and the vocals clear as a bell.  Except for the fade-in and fade-out, which are noisy, it sounds like a vinyl record should.  About what I expected.

Now Max the Axe can boast that he has been bootlegged to vinyl, and a decent one at that.  I can claim to own the only copy in existence, a limited edition of one!  The rarest record in my collection.

VinylArt.co aren’t going to make your music sound better than the source material, but it will sound like vinyl.  Your music, on a playable picture disc!  I plan on ordering something from them again, so if repeating a sale is a way to judge a company, then VinylArt gets the passing grade.  And so does Max the Axe!

4/5 stars

VIDEO: Max the Axe – “Hard Drive” / Traffic jam on Highway 401

It was a drizzly drive home, with an accident right in the “Sweet Spot” of Highway 401 heading into Kitchener.  Perfect for another Max the Axe video.  The track is called “Hard Drive” (see what I did there?) and it’s from his 1995 debut cassette Bodies of Water.  It’s a killer epic featuring flute, saxophone, and the works.

In this video you’ll notice I’m a patient driver; I don’t change lanes to go faster.  I get in the lane I’m supposed to be in and I stay there.  I only change lanes a couple times in the whole video.

Pay attention and you’ll see the anti-abortion protesters across from Freeport hospital.  You’ll also notice landmarks such as Tim Horton’s (see how many you can spot) and the striking Grand River bridge.  Mostly you’ll be annoyed at the tail lights and other drivers.  Get a coffee.  (This video has been sped up 2.5 times to match the length of the song.)  Enjoy the drive!

 

VIDEO: Max the Axe – “Blood Runs Red” / Fall at the Lake

Always happy to showcase tunes for Max the Axe, local heavy metal hero and legend!

Here’s another video of cottage memories to help keep us warm during the winter.  A little dark, a little stormy, but a lovely if short fall weekend.  Headphones recommended.  I didn’t take a lot of pictures this time, so only a short song was necessary – “Blood Runs Red” from Million Dollar Threats.

REVIEW: Max the Axe – Bodies of Water (1995 cassette)

MAX THE AXE – Bodies of Water (1995 independant cassette)

This has to be one of the rarest items I own.  I have acquired the only remaining cassette copy of the first Max the Axe release, a five song tape called Bodies of Water.  In a rare move, the cassette had the bonus track rather than the CD.  Back in 1995, Max the Axe didn’t have a drummer so the drums on this release are programmed.  That lends it a streetwise but quaint mid-90s nostalgia.

Opening intensely with “Hard Drive”, Max the Axe’s music defies genres from the first track.  Heavy sludge riffs, flute, saxophone, a keyboard orchestra!  Lead vocals on this track by Pam Hammond leap beyond expectation as she bellows powerfully over the complex track.  You get more sax (courtesy Rockin’ Randy Harrison) on “Where’s Pablo?” featuring Mickey Straight on lead vocals.  This has a cool, dirty street vibe groove.

The  cassette bonus track “Guns To Iran” is dead center, and features “Max the Swinging Axe” on distorted lead vocals.  Pure metal on electronic steroids.  I’m immediately reminded of “Manic Mechanic” by ZZ Top, but a thrash metal version.

“I’m Glad Now” has another singer, Tim Rolland, and a completely different vibe.  Straight noctural, memorable melodic hard rock with a growly singer.  But then the screamer “Fair Ophelia” ends the cassette on a seriously heavy note.  Pam Hammond and Max the Axe return on vocals, assaulting the ear with aggressive heaviness.  Max does the metal grunting while Hammond sings in classic screamin’ metal style.

This is good stuff and surprisingly well preserved 25 years later.  Max’s sharp jabs of guitar solo adrenaline still rock the speakers with intended impact.  Maybe the Axe will remaster and reissue his early tunes so the rest of you can hear them too.

4/5 stars

VIDEO: A Drive Around Kitchener / Max the Axe – “Scales of Justice”

Just looking for ways to get some local bands heard.  Seems a drive around Kitchener-Waterloo is a good video background for a band from Kitchener-Waterloo called Max the Axe.

From their sixth record Status Electric comes “Scales of Justice” written by Mike Koutis and Eric Litwiller.  The lyrics tell a truthful tale of why only a fool owns a deadly snake let alone two.

This video is sped up 10x and was filmed on Saturday 9/5/2020 in the afternoon.

VIDEO: Weekend of Awesome

Self explanatory.  Music by MAX THE AXE:  “Livin’ the Country” and “More” from Overload.

#849: Indoor Day

Sunday was what we call an “indoor day” at the lake. This is what I did with my indoor day.

The video took me most of the day, because my poor old laptop (10, this year) couldn’t handle all of the large files at once. So I started over from scratch and figured out a workaround until I was done about 7 hours later. I cooked, I went outside, I played with action figures, and I drank coffee until it finally saved without errors.

This video should scratch itches for a variety of people including:

1) Max the Axe fans – the full song “Randy” is included.
2) Dr. Kathryn Ladano fans – the full song “Masked” is included.
3) Those who enjoy driving videos. This is my first extensive use of my dash cam.
4) Nature buffs. You will hear real lake noises, rainstorms, and waves. You will see more cool underwater footage from the beaches of Lake Huron, and the legendary Greatest Sunset in the World.
5) Marvel / action figure fans. Look for a special “Build A Figure” Hulk.

 

You will not get:

1) Audio of me singing “Kissing Time” by Kiss; this was lost with the first version of the video.
2) Any of my pork chops.

But you can freely:

1) Live vicariously through me and absorb the good vibes through your monitor and speakers.

While visitors showing up on our little private road was not unexpected on a long weekend, it is disappointing when they show such little respect for the people who live here. A guy parked his ATV on our grass and said “Don’t get your knickers in a bunch” when my mom asked several times for him to move it. This came after arguing that he had the right to park there due to a “snow allowance”. There is no such thing.

Then we had Kenny the fireworks guys shooting off a “truck bed” full of firepower at 9:30 Saturday night. That was…distracting. As much as I love this place it certainly has changed in the last 45 years. Enjoy the video — the good the bad and the ugly!

Sunday Video: Max The Axe Weekend

Instead of a Sunday Chuckle, I give you something better: this video (which has a couple chuckles in it) and three Max the Axe songs: “River Grand”, “Overload” and “Gods on the Radio”.

The video above is just a summation of our awesome weekend. Look for a cameo by Superdekes from our Live Streamin’ Weekend. I hope you were able to stay cool in this heat as I was!  Sometimes people talk about the Top Ten Swims they’ve ever had in their lives.  I may have had two of the top ten this weekend.  You be the judge!

And thank you to John Snow of 2 Loud 2 Old Music for the birthday gift below.  I promise I will review it soon!

Also a special Happy Birthday to my Grandma Dolly who turns 96 today!