Max the Axe

#994: An A5 Canada Day

RECORD STORE TALES #994: An A5 Canada Day

From Jen and I here at LeBrain HQ, we hope you had an excellent Canada Day.  For us, we did things a little differently this time, and it turned out aces!

First, I awoke early and began work at 6:00 AM on two separate projects.  Musically:  the hinted-at, overdue Kiss project that I have been working on and must be finished!  This is a collaboration with new contributor Jonathan Lee.  We have taken on the challenge of ranking all 24 Kiss albums, and we (coincidentally!) wrote about 3650 words each.  We were in synch with verbosity, but not rankings!  The final lists will be dropped simultaneously in two posts on July 5, next week!  It was Jonathan who challenged me to take him up on this project and I think you will like what we both came up with.  It took a few hours to format everything right, but by the end of the morning, I had the lists ready to rock.

In conjunction with this, I was seasoning my new cast iron pan.  This had to be done in preparation for our Canada Day dinner’s main course:  a genuine Japanese A5 wagyu steak from the Miyazaki prefecture.  This expensive piece of meat is unlike I have ever cooked before, and I had something of a sleepless, anxious night overthinking it.

By morning, I had a plan.  The wagyu was going in the cast iron pan with some butter, garlic, onions, peppers, portobello mushrooms, and asparagus.  Therefore I needed to season the pan in the oven beforehand, and I spent several hours on that while also working on the Kiss lists.  For never having done it before, I think it turned out pretty well.  Its surface became smoother, and water beaded off.

In the afternoon we headed over to my parents house to use their new barbecue.  You see, having never cooked wagyu before, we decided to bring some backup steaks.  I was going to cook them on the barbecue the normal way, while doing the wagyu in the pan.  Meanwhile, Jen was roasting veggies in the oven with enormous amounts of butter and hand-diced garlic.  The garlic was intense, but to die for.  Her potatoes, carrots and asparagus were amazing.

Timing was everything.  We started at 4:00 PM with the veggies.  By 4:35 the barbecue was warming up for the backup steaks.  Meanwhile, the cast iron pan was warming up in the oven.

Finally, the moment I had been waiting for all week.  The moment that kept me up the previous night.  The moment of truth!  The wagyu was, as all the Youtube videos promised, delicate to the touch.  The fat began melting as soon as I touched it.  Although everyone seems to have different rules about it, I elected to keep the wagyu in the fridge as long as possible to minimise the premature melting of fat.  Then I seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.  In hindsight I could have gone a teeny tiny bit heavier on the salt and pepper, but you can always add that after the fact as well.

The cast iron came out of the oven and onto a hot burner.  Into the pan went a generous amount of butter and my veggies including several cloves of garlic.  A few minutes later, things were smelling wonderful and I flipped the steak – not before touching the handle of the pan with my bare hands though!  Fortunately it had cooled enough that I didn’t burn myself.  These new cooking techniques take some getting used to.  After a couple more minutes I removed the wagyu from the pan, and let it rest.  When sliced, it was somewhere between rare and medium rare, which was what I was aiming for.  Meanwhile our backup steaks were also ready at a perfect medium rare.  It was 5:00 by the time everything was done and rested.


A wagyu steak is a sharing steak.  It is simply too rich to eat like a normal steak.  I served up some portions for each of us, and we delighted in eat bite.  Some went with carrots – Jen’s favourite combination.  I enjoyed the wagyu with the portobello mushrooms, or a clove of garlic.  Because it is so rich, we tended to pair it with other things on the plate.  The cast iron did a nice job of creating a beautiful caramelizing on the vegetables.  The wagyu had a great sear.  The pan also cleaned up easily afterwards.  No stick.  I must have seasoned it right?

We barely touched the backup steaks (they will go into another meal) and we finished just over half of the wagyu.  This is what I expected.  I wonder what that wagyu will become tomorrow?  A stir fry, most likely.  Wagyu stir fry.  Looking forward to it — and many more meals with my new cast iron pan.

Having enjoyed wagyu at one of the best steakhouses in Toronto, my own steak stacked up well.  I would rank them just about equally.  Theirs had more seasoning, but our side dishes surpassed theirs by far.  Miles.  No comparison.  Our sides were incredible.  Modesty?  This is me being modest!  And all told, our meal was about a third of the price of the steakhouse.  With  more steak and more leftovers.  Jen and I both worked hard Canada Day, and it paid off.  Best meal we ever made, and we did it as a team!  She picked up all the meat, veggies, and even the pan.  We timed everything perfectly.  It went so well that we determined we don’t need backup steaks next time.

With the Kiss project, Stranger Things, and a massive dinner taking up my time, it was the end of the Canada Day before I realized, “Hey, I haven’t listened to any Canadian music today”.  So my friends, here’s some Max the Axe.  Turn it up.

#992: Long Weekend of The Lizard, Water, and the Scales of Justice

RECORD STORE TALES #992: Long Weekend of Lizards, Water, and Max

We rolled in Thursday night and it was so hot that we cranked open all the windows.  And that was it with any kind of warmth!  The rest of the weekend was cold, windy and required long sleeves!  Regardless of the hot and cold reception we received, I watched Brent Jensen and Alex Huard discuss Appetite for Destruction on Thursday Night Record Club outdoors as planned.

The music on the road up was, as always, good!  We started with Saigon Kick’s The Lizard, in anticipation of Friday night’s big interview.  It was tremendous fun to listen to such a great album, 30 years young, in the car.  Upon conclusion we played a tape of Max the Axe’s first gig with the present lineup, recorded August 4 2017.  Five years of Meat, Dave, Mitch and Max creating music together.  While the years have made them better, the live cassette of the first gig is good enough that we hope it will form the basis of their first live album.  The setlist consisted of eight tracks from the then-unrecorded Status Electric album, a Black Flag cover later finalized for Oktoberfest Cheer, and the Max classic “I Don’t Advocate Drugs” with Meat singing lead for the first time.

All Friday and Saturday, music took over the cold front porch.  It is hard to type with frozen fingers.  I am working on a major Kiss project that I will not reveal yet, but in preparation I played a ton of old Kiss on the porch.  Lick It Up, Creatures of the Night, Hotter Than Hell, Paul’s solo album, and plenty more.  When the Kiss was concluded, I moved on to Judas Priest (Point of Entry).  As always, it was a magical retro soundtrack that acted as a mental time machine.  I would have been playing those same albums back in ’87-’88.  The big difference being – I was stuck in my room!  Now the porch is my room.

One thing for certain. I would have loved it if I had the technology to do stop motion animation in 1987. All I had were my Transformers toys, comic books and imagination. Now I have that plus cameras and computers. I spent several hours working on animation. Let’s face it: It’s just an excuse to play with toys as an adult!  There’s nothing wrong with that and it was damn fun, especially with Judas Priest blasting in the background just like they would have in the 80s.

Saturday night we went for some nice walks and I shared stories of the old days.  No phones, no cable, no digital music back then.  The only way to was to haul all my physical music, and associated players, up to the lake to enjoy.  And enjoy we did.  Nothing has changed there except convenience and sound quality.  Playing the music that I bought at the cottage originally sure brings the memories back.  White Lion’s Big Game and Jon Bon Jovi’s Blaze of Glory were two such albums that I spun again in the old original setting.  I bought ’em both in Kincardine on cassette.  Hanging out with Bob Schipper and picking our favourite new tunes…great memories!  I remember putting the sticker for the JBJ cassette on the bottom of the top bunkbed.  Jen and I talked a lot, and perhaps there’s a number of stories there to tell in the future.

Three days came and went as quickly as a cool summer breeze.  All I have left now are the photos and videos to keep the memories fresh.  You can watch them now too, all edited together to the sound of a new remix of “Scales of Justice” by Max the Axe!  I think it’s the best cottage video I’ve ever made.  What more could you want?

Sunday Screening: Transformers “Overload!” A new original animation featuring the music of Max the Axe

VIDEO: May 13-15 Weekend / Max the Axe “Space Marine”

Amazing weekend at the lake once again, and you can see it all right now, to the tune of “Space Marine” by Max the Axe from Trillion Dollar Threats!  This short metallic blitz of a song is a condensed and concentrated rewrite of “Hard Drive” from their 1995 EP Bodies of Water.  It’s a fantastic tune from Max with another killer riff.

This year represents the earliest “first swim of the year” on May 13, a record.  A sign of a hot summer to come.

In this video you will see my new Fender acoustic bass.  This originally belonged to Don Simmons of Helix and I am fortunate enough to have bought it from his sister Donna.  This will provide many hours of summer entertaining at the cottage as I slowly become acquainted with this lovely instrument.  Tomorrow you’ll get the full story of the weekend in Record Store Tales #987:  The Summer Awakens.

Sunday Screening: Last Day of April 2022 / Max the Axe – “I’m Glad Now”

Visual accompaniment to Record Store Tales #985: Do You Know How Quickly a Pair of Glasses Melts in a Fire?


Music:  “I’m Glad Now” by Max the Axe, from Max the Axe (2004)

Sunday Screening: Morning Summer LakeCam x 64 speed

Here’s just what you needed on this cold, windy Sunday morning: a sun coming up on a July summer webcam! This is from the July 20, 2021 morning LakeCam, but two hours compressed into under two minutes. Feel the rays of the sun drift across your face in this fun time-lapse video. Stay warm! Music is a sneak preview of “Randy” by Max the Axe, remixed in 2022 by Robi Banerji.

#964.5: The Lists – 2021 Year in Review – Part Two

Here We Go Again:  End of Year Lists 2021

2021:  the year of the hamster wheel.  It sure felt like we were spinning our tires all year!  Sometimes inching a little forward in the mud, only to slide right back.  What a year.  But we did get some great music out of it.

Here at LeBrain HQ, if you go strictly by the numbers, there were two bands that dominated the year, both oldies acts from the 1980s:  Coney Hatch and Iron Maiden!  They (or members thereof) appear numerous times in the lists you’re about to read.  Not so “oldies” after all eh?  Five appearances for Iron Maiden, and a whopping seven for Coney and its members!

Even I was surprised by the lists this year!  All my favourite things, and the stats of 2021, are curated below.

Top 11 Albums of 2021

11. PolychuckShadows Exposed EP
10. Suicide StarIsolation
9. Max the AxeOktoberfest Cheer EP
8. Mammoth WVHMammoth WVH
7. Danko JonesPower Trio
6. AcceptToo Mean to Die
5. Smith/KotzenSmith/Kotzen
4. Iron MaidenSenjutsu
3. Lee AaronRadio On
2. Coney HatchLive at the El Mocambo
1. StyxCrash of the Crown

Top Five Box Sets of 2021

5. KissDestroyer
4. WhitsnakeRestless Heart
3. Def LeppardCD Collection Vol 3
2. TriumphAllied Forces
1. MetallicaMetallica 

My Favourite Movies of 2021

5. Black Widow
4. Eternals
3. Free Guy
2. The Suicide Squad
1. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

(placeholder) Spider-Man: No Way Home – you have to assume it’ll be my new #1 when I see it!

Top 11 Interviews / Unboxings of 2021 (by YouTube views)

11. Robert Lawson interview
10. Sean Kelly interview
9. Suicide Star interview
8. Coney Hatch live LP unboxing
7. Andy Curran round three
6. Andy Curran part one
5. Paul Laine interview
4. Mike Fraser interview
3. Martin Popoff interview
2. Andy Curran + Mike Fraser interview
1. Iron Maiden Super7 figure blind box unboxing

Top Five List Shows / Deep Dives 2021 (by YouTube Views)

5. Top Concept Albums
4. 5150 Deep Dive with Tee Bone
3. Desert Island Discs
2. Top Maiden Art
1. Top Five King’s X with Martin Popoff

Top Reviews of 2021 by Hits

4. STYXCrash of the Crown
2. IRON MAIDEN – Senjutsu 
1.  – Off the Soundboard – Tokyo 2001

What’s in store for 2022?

  • The Book of Boba Fett
  • Jethro Tull – The Zealot Gene
  • Marillion – An Hour Before Its Dark
  • Guns N’ Roses – Hard Skool EP
  • new Sven Gali
  • Scorpions – Rock Believer
  • new Coney Hatch live with two new studio cuts
  • new Journey?
  • new Def Leppard?
  • Bryan Adams – So Happy it Hurts
  • Liam Gallgher – C’Mon You Know
  • Thor: Love and Thunder
  • Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  • Disney+: Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, She-Hulk, What…If? season 2, Secret Invasion, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
  • The Mandalorian season 3
  • New albums from Ghost, Rammstein, Ozzy Osbourne, King Diamond, Weezer and more



Friday December 31, 9:00 PM E.S.T. on YouTubeFacebook and also Facebook!

Sunday Screening: “Fort Max” unfinished clip

On Friday night’s LeBrain Train, G1 Fortress Maximus was my #4 favourite Transformer of all time.  I don’t have a G1, but I have an (even better) Encore reissue.  I mentioned during the show that although the figure is now in storage, I did film an animated Transformers movie starring the toy.  He featured in a big battle scene with Galvatron, an homage to their original fight in Marvel’s Transformers #79.  I filmed the whole thing on the May long weekend in 2013 but lost my script and never edited it together.

However I’ve dusted off a couple shots, edited them together and I present to you a clip from the unfinished film Transformers 4:  Fortress Maximus.*  Music is “Immortal” by Max the Axe, from Trillion Dollar Threats.

* The series is as follows:

  1. The Transformers:  Death and Rebirth of Optimus Prime (unreleased)
  2. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Schnauzers
  3. Transformers 3: The Ghost of Starscream (unreleased)
  4. Transformers 4: Fortress Maximus (unfinished)


Sunday Screening: Max the Axe – Thirsty and Miserable

As premiered on the Friday November 12 episode of the LeBrain Train, here’s the new video for “Thirsty and Miserable” by Max the Axe — a Blag Flag cover via Lemmy Kilmister. From the new EP Oktoberfest Cheer.

This Is Max the Axe, on the LeBrain Train

Max the Axe went off the rails of the LeBrain Train, and we were hanging on for the ride!

This wide ranging interview with all four Max the Axe band members included the following subjects:

  • How they got their nicknames (fan question from Jeff Taylor and Tee Bone)
  • Drinking
  • Recording on 1″ analog tape vs. digitally
  • Trying to make a record during the pandemic
  • Gigs (or lack thereof)
  • Cover tunes
  • A 40 year-old tune that sounds current today
  • New track “Iron Cross”
  • New track “Droid” (which neither Meat nor Dave heard of before tonight)
  • Remixes of “Scales of Justice” and “Randy” for a new release
  • Lyrics, storytelling and getting political
  • LeBrain’s Cinco De-Listo Top Five Max the Axe songs
  • Meat’s “retirement” & future of the band

Thank you to Harrison the Mad Metal Man who helped me helm this car crash that you just can’t look away from!


Harrison and Uncle Meat back to discuss key albums of the year 1981!  This is both a sequel to a show I did least year with Superdekes, and also a sister show to Scotch On the Rocks’ own special on the year 1981 featuring Deke and Muc.  I was unable to participate in that show myself, but still wanted to celebrate four decades of great albums from that year.  Join us next week!