Today is the last day for Oktoberfest…but “Oktoberfest Cheer” goes on and on!
From the new EP Oktoberbest Cheer, written by Mike Koutis, here is the video for “Oktoberfest Cheer”. Have a schnitzel on a bun and a frosty cold one, and get your copy at Encore Records in Kitchener, or by dropping us a line here.
Mike Koutis – guitar
Eric Litwiller – lead vocals
Mike Mitchell – bass
Dr. Dave Haslam – drums
Accordion by Catherine Thompson
Notes: Since Eric deleted the only rehearsal footage of “Oktoberfest Cheer”, I was forced to use the video for “Randy” live at the Boathouse somewhat ham-fistedly. However this works perfect with the punky off-the-rails nature of the song. Speeding things up and slowing things down hides a multitude of sins in the edit, and the Keystone Cops flavour of the high-speed footage lends a comedic profile to the video. Which is necessary for any song that contains lyrics like “don’t crush my smokes, don’t spill my beer.”
Now that the new Max the Axe EP, Oktoberfest Cheer, has been released, I am happy to present to you their new never-before-heard original “Pygmy Blowdart”. Lead singer Eric Litwiller stressed to me (more than once) “I did not write the lyrics”.
Video footage was taken the last weekend of August, but held on to until I could use some fresh new Max music. Check out “Pygmy Blowdart” and let Max and Meat know what you think of this new tune in the comments below!
Pandemics suck, but last year Max the Axe began working on a remedy. Three new songs — one cover, two originals — and a new EP called Oktoberfest Cheer! With this year’s Bavarian festival just around the corner, Max is ready to rock your beerhallen. It’s the second release with the same lineup: Mike Koutis (Max the Axe) – lead guitar, Eric Litwiller (Uncle Meat) – lead vocals, Mike Mitchell – lead bass and Dr. Dave Haslam — lead drums. It’s a much more punk rock affair than the last album Status Electric. Perhaps it’s even a concept record about intoxication!
Opening with the original “Pygmy Blow Dart”, Max sounds like Queens of the Stone Age jonesing for a smoke. Litwiller is in full Homme mode with the groove of the Axe behind him. “I think I’m going downtown, looking for some dope.” Ah, the quaint pre-legalization setting! By the end, the band is in a singalong, looking for some smoke. “Round and round, and round and round…” Hey guys…check the local dispensary! There’s one on every corner now. Great bass solo in the middle, right before Max rips on the six string. Fans of the last album will love it.
The Black Flag cover “Thirsty and Miserable” is outstanding, full-on punkfied Max. Definitely some influence from Lemmy’s version of “Thirsty and Miserable” too. This track kicks and Litwiller sounds legit. They could play it two or three times in a row and you wouldn’t get bored.
Finally the punk-inflected EP ends with the title track “Oktoberfest Cheer!”, a song destined to be a seasonal hit. Feather in cap, beer on tap…October is here so raise up that beer! You can picture the festhallen going mad for this October anthem. This is the clear hit, frantic and haggard as it may be. Adorned with festive accordion, it’s punk rock unlike any other. You can play it year after year…or in August. Don’t crush my smokes, don’t spill my beer!
The great thing about this EP is that it’s under 10 minutes in true punk fashion and perfect for repeat plays.
We promised you tunes, and we brought the tunes! With a special interview with the guy himself, kinda a big deal, Max the Axe! It was not an uptite Thursday night at all. This loosey-goosey interview covers Max’s discography and history as an independent musician for over three decades. Find out about his origins, see rare photographs, and watch the band play live! We even get to look at the cover art and title of the new EP. (Added bonus: running commentary by drummer Dr. Dave.)
Straight outta lockdown, Max the Axe jammed together again for the first time in about a year. The lockdown session was filmed and tonight we played for you three tracks:
“Pygmy Blowdart” (NEW SONG)
“Scales of Justice”
For a band who hadn’t practised in a year, filmed on a crummy cell phone that apparently only does vertical video, these were some fine tracks. Enjoy the show! Rock on, Max the Axe!
Don’t forget – the Easter special streams April 2 at 7:00 PM E.S.T. It’s pure nostalgia as we pull from a grab bag of great memories. Don’t miss it!
*Two more unaired songs were played during the session – “Uptite Friday Night” and the new “Oktoberfest Cheer”.
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!
Gemütlichkeit and willkommen! Love it or hate it, it’s that time of year again: Oktoberfest!
Based on the original 200 year old Bavarian festival in Germany, Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest attracts thousands every year to bask in our glorious beer, Polka music, sausage and fall weather.
It’s also the time of year that parts of the downtown gets closed to traffic, and congestion increases to an undesired, maddening level. With all the construction and destruction this year, Oktoberfest 2015 will be the hardest yet to navigate with your vehicle. I dread my daily commute in and out of town. Add in the potential for drunk drivers and you have a great old time lined up, right? Approximately one million people will show up for the celebrations here, the second largest Oktoberfest in the world.
The climax of the movie Strange Brew was filmed and takes place at Kitchener Oktoberfest. “Take the 401 to Kitchener,” says Doug McKenzie in this clip.
It’s not all bad. Sausage and schnitzel on a bun is always a treat, but people don’t come all this way for anything except the beer. Sample one of the many, many brews while you are here…just don’t make an ass of yourself while you do it. As a local, I’ve never been fond of this time of year. I don’t drink beer anymore so there is very little to draw me to the downtown core during Oktoberfest. However, there are plenty of draws for the rest of you.
Polka music and dancing! If that’s your thing, then put on your lederhosen and dirndls! Get ready to do the Bird Dance and check out the accordion of Walter Ostanek. Sometimes there are some good Oktoberfest shows to be seen, such as the year I Mother Earth played (with Ostanek!). There are beer exhibits and dining experiences. There’s Onkel Hans, Tante Frieda and the tapping of the keg. There’s Miss Oktoberfest and the annual parade.
Actually, forget it – I don’t care about any of these things! I’ve gone to the parade before, but it’s always so cold that you wished you stayed home and watched it on TV. I have done my fair share of Polka dancing. In fact, Polka dancing was compulsory in grade school. Learning such cultural cornerstones as the Bird Dance was deemed important enough to justify teaching kids about a beer festival in grade school. While my opinion is certainly not held by all residents, I was burned out on Oktoberfest before I was even old enough to drink.
By the way: There are plenty of safe transportation options for drinkers, including free busses from the festhallen, free soft drinks for designated drivers, and the excellent company Over the Limit Designated Drivers (1-888-594-9144), who will drive you and your car home safely.
Working the Record Store days, I always hated the seasonal requests for Polka or “Oom-pah-pah” music. Our used Polka CD selection (filed under World Music) rarely had anything in it, and when it did, it would be snapped up long before Oktoberfest. Once, Walter Ostanek came into the store himself looking for Polka music. When I responded that we had nothing in stock, he handed me his card and said, “If you need any, let me know.” I responded, “Hey, I know you! You’re the guy who won all those Juno awards.” He paused and looked at me gravely. “They were Grammies,” he corrected me. Whoops!
Oktoberfest 2015 runs from October 9-17. Come to the festhallen and biergartens, get your Polka on, and get pissed. But please, don’t drink and drive. Use one of the options listed above to make sure everyone gets home safely.