From the infuriating city rat race to the open roads of the country, a beautiful drive is to be viewed here, all to the tune of the classic “Scales of Justice” by Max the Axe.
Best rock band in Kitchener, best sunsets in the world. Enjoy.
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:
- “River Grand”
- “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”.
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.
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!
Given everything that happened in 2018 (cancer, more cancer, death), I wasn’t as tuned-in to rock and roll as I normally would be. I missed a lot of new releases, some on purpose, others by accident. Therefore, this year I’m doing something different from my Top Lists of 2018. Before we get to the lists, let’s talk about the past 12 months.
2018: RELEASES IN A NUTSHELL
January saw new CDs by Joe Satriani and Corrosion of Conformity, finally reunited with Pepper Keenan on vocals. There was new Loudness, and a release by Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa. Def Leppard had a low-key EP exclusive to iTunes (The Lost Session). In February we got the return of the mighty Saxon. March was a big month, featuring Judas Priest, Stone Temple Pilots, Jack White and Myles Kennedy. The rock kept rolling in April. The big metal one here was Stryper‘s God Damn Evil, along with new Godsmack and Thirty Seconds to Mars. During this time I was personally only able to get the Stryper and Priest.
As temperatures warmed in May, Bad Wolves came out with their novelty cover of “Zombie” by the Cranberries which became a predictable hit. Frank Turner and Five Finger Death Punch also released new records in May. News in June was unfortunately dominated by Kanye West and Drake, but don’t forget Ghost, The Darkness (with their first live) and Nine Inch Nails! In July, Halestorm came out with the critically acclaimed Vicious. Alice in Chains made their long awaited return in August with Rainier Fog, an album I bought but have not yet fully penetrated.
Autumn began with the biggest name in rock and roll, Sir Paul McCartney himself. Slash, Paul Simon, Lenny Kravitz and Suicidal Tendencies had records out on the same day. VoiVod, Therapy?, Metric and even Rod Stewart returned in September as well. October featured two big soundtracks: Bohemian Rhapsody, and A Star Is Born. Ace Frehley, Greta Van Fleet, and The Struts came out with new music the same month. In November we got Mark Knopfler, the Smashing Pumpkins, Ted Nugent and yet another live Beth Hart. The month closed with the latest Def Leppard best-of. December boasted Metal Church but not a lot of rock. Thank the Metal Gods that Max the Axe swooped in with Status Electric to save the year.
I spent most of 2018 checked out mentally. I missed most of the new releases and have a lot to catch up on. The summer was spent on Highway 401, and a flash drive loaded with music helped me survive it. New releases were not the be-all and end-all for me. Therefore, my Top Albums of 2018 list includes some oldies that just helped me get through it all. It seems right to do it this way, since I can’t really do a well-curated list of new releases without absorbing them properly.
TOP 10 ALBUMS THAT GOT ME THROUGH 2018
- Blotto – Combo Akimbo (1982)
- Max the Axe – Status Electric (2018)
- Ghost – Prequelle (2018)
- The Darkness – Live at Hammersmith (2018)
- Judas Priest – Firepower (2018)
- Blotto – Tonight At Toad’s (1982)
- Ace Frehley – Spaceman (2018)
- Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson & Steve Vai – G3 Live in Concert (1997)
- The Sword – Used Future (2018)
- Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds (1978)
- Fu Manchu – Clone of the Universe (2018)
- Hello Hopeless – Dark Pasts, Brighter Futures (2018)
- Mike Slayen – Dude: A Guitar CD (2018)
TOP MOVIES OF 2018
Can’t do a movie list this year. Not possible. I didn’t see ’em all, but one movie blew away all the rest.
- Avengers: Infinity War
A PEEK AT 2019
What’s hot for 2019?
- Star Wars: Episode IX
- Motley Crue‘s long awaited movie The Dirt, and new songs too.
- Dream Theater – Distance Over Time
- Avengers: Endgame
- Queensryche – The Verdict
“Hey Winner winner, love that chicken dinner, put it in a briefcase to go!” – Max the Axe, “Next Plane to Vegas”
WE HAVE A WINNER the Max the Axe CD draw! Congratulations to…
LEAH from Waterloo, age 8!
Way to go Leah! She was even able to name Max the Axe by his real name, Mike Koutis! We’re not saying she had any help with this, but even if she did, it wasn’t against the rules!
Your Max the Axe Status Electric CD and Nancy Vicious button are on their way!*
* Mail strike notwithstanding!
The Boathouse was rocked again this past weekend as Max and his legendary Axe stormed the place with heavy riffing, some friends, and a brand new album called Status Electric.
Opening the show was singer was former Max singer Mickey Straight (“from Guatemala” as he was introduced, but I think Guatemala is Toronto). Mickey has a rock star stage presence and together with Max the Axe, they played some of their oldies such as “Mutant Mind” and “Belljar Party”. Mickey played bass as a trio with Max and Dr. Dave Haslam on drums, which we quickly learned was going to be a common theme going forward.
Second up was the biggest surprise of the night: Nancy Vicious and the Nasty Bitches. Punk rock was expected, and punk rock we had (including some Pistols and Stooges with originals). On drums…the newly rebranded “God Damn Dave” Haslam. Guitarist Mike “Mitch Bitch” Mitchell surprised us by ripping off his shirt revealing a corset. But the real surprise was Nancy Vicious herself, a young powerhouse with lungs of fucking stainless steel. Classic punk mixed with new-breed bands like Dilly Dally. I learned that Nancy has been playing the bars for years, though only 19 years old. No CDs for sale unfortunately — Nancy told me their first album was “really bad” but that they are working on a second one with (hopefully) about 13 songs. They did have merch for sale in the way of stickers, buttons and postcards.
We were under the impression that the Hellen Keller Band had changed their name to the Delusionals. This was Fake News. What is the Hellen Keller Band? An instrumental trio led by Mike Mitchell on guitar, God Damn Dr. Dave on bass, and Eric “Uncle Meat” Litwiller on drums. Mitchell’s incredible picking was quite stunning to watch. He’s got chicken pickin’ going on, and plenty of ability. And it turns out Dr. Dave is even better on bass than he is on drums. This trio was plenty of fun to watch, as they mixed covers and originals. They closed the set with a blistering Dead Kennedys “Holiday in Cambodia”.
Finally the game of Musical Chairs came to the end when Max the Axe hit the stage. Lineup: Max on lead guitar, with Eric Litwiller’s voice, Dr. Dave’s drums and Mike Mitchell’s bass. He played his entire new album, the stellar Status Electric in sequence with a break in the middle. Now, we’ve been quite clear here how great Status Electric is. Hearing it played live for the first time? Brilliant.
Litwiller opened up his powerful lungs on “River Grand”, a grungy rocker. He blasted consistently through all of “side one” while Max ripped hot licks on his Axe. After the vocal tour-de-force “Sick of Living”, they played “Mexican Standoff” from Trillion Dollar Threats, some Black Flag, and then gave Litwiller a break as Mickey Straight was invited back for two oldies. “Daddy Was a Murderin’ Man” and “I Don’t Advocate Drugs” (also Trillion Dollar Threats) were a treat. The final side of the Status Electric album was then laid out, with “Gods on the Radio” and “Scales of Justice” being the obvious best tracks. Unfortunately by this time all four band members had already played full sets with other bands, and they flubbed a few lines in “Uptite Friday Night” and “Scales”. Not that this detracted from the show. It seemed everybody was aware of how hard these guys had been playing all night!
CD and MERCH GIVEAWAY!
WIN YOUR OWN COPY OF STATUS ELECTRIC! Bonus NANCY VICIOUS STICKER AND BUTTON!
How, you ask, do I win?
It’s simple! Just answer the easy question below by submitting it directly on the form. All correct answers will be put in a hat and one lucky winner will be drawn at random! Please remember to include your complete mailing address so we can send your prize!*
QUESTION: Name all four current members of Max the Axe.
This contest will run for one week, from December 10 to December 17, when we will draw the winner.
*Disclaimer: Canada Post is on strike and we can make no delivery guarantees.
Heed the “Call of the Wild”! Max and his legendary Axe are hitting the Boathouse in Kitchener TONIGHT (57 Jubilee Drive, Kitchener, Ontario) for the release of his sixth record Status Electric. Though a late arrival in 2018, Status Electric is so bloody good that it’s likely to (spoiler?) make our Top 5 of 2018 list. When nine songs get stuck in your head for weeks on end, that’s a good sign.
Opening acts include Mickey Straight (ex-Max the Axe singer), Nancy Vicious and the Nasty Bitches, and The Delusionals (formerly the Hellen Keller Band).
$5 at the door, $10 for a CD.
If you’re anywhere near the “River Grand”, you won’t need the “Next Plane to Vegas” to join Max the Axe at the Boathouse. Even “Randy” may be there, screaming the “Call of the Wild”. If you are “Sick of Living”, don’t go to “The Other Side”! “You Gotta” go to the Boathouse instead. If you had an “Uptite Friday Night” then the best cure will be to rock with Max on Saturday. Witness the “Scales of Justice” tip forever in Max’s favour.
At the very least, you’ll hear the cautionary tale of why “Only a fool owns a deadly snake, let alone two.” That’s how it goes…so go to the Boathouse and catch them live.
Two simple words: “You gotta”.
Max the Axe is back with possibly his most potent lineup yet. Led by Max and his thrilling axe, the band now boasts Dr. David Haslam on drums, Mike Mitchell on bass, and powerhouse lead vocalist Eric “Uncle Meat” Litwiller.
Full disclosure: I know these guys. I love these guys. But I also just love hard rock and heavy metal. So, out of integrity, I swear that if I did not like their new album, Status Electric, I would be straight up and tell you. But I do like it. A lot. How much of that is due to friendship? I don’t know. Read the review and decide for yourself. This is a good album. I have bought way worse albums, for way more money.
I’ll give you some honesty right from the start. “River Grand” is a good song, but not for an opener. I rarely like when an album opens on a slow grind like this. It’s enough to throw some people, but the song kicks by chorus time. Eric Litwiller pours it all on, his lead vocal being the highlight of the track. What’s he sound like? He’s like an amalgam of many. You can hear some Tenacious D, some Anvil, some Maiden.
As for Max, his solos are simple, memorable and to the point. Pure rock and roll with a side of Ace Frehley. His lyrics almost steal the spotlight though, as many are clever for the genre, and catchy as fuck. “Next Plane to Vegas” is one such example, a pure blast…win place or show.
Who is “Randy”? What’s your real name, Randy? One of the weirdest choruses you’ll ever hear also happens to be one of the catchiest. I can’t help it though. I was sitting at my desk going, “Randy! Randy! What’s your name, Randy?” Musically, we’re at debut-album Maiden, or reasonably close to it. This is one of two semi-epic tracks on the album.
Max the Axe goes pop metal on “Call of the Wild”, nothing but a Motley Rokken good time. The decent chorus is mashed up with a verse that doesn’t quite mesh. But then things go full-on metal with “Sick of Living”. This fuel-injected track has Eric singing at his most Bayley with a dash of Dickinson. Litwiller’s roots include thrash metal, and there are healthy doses of that along with his best David St. Hubbins screams. “Sick of Living” smokes the competition, besting several tracks on the great new Judas Priest album! More great metal: “The Other Side”. The lead riff sounds as if bequeathed by Lord Iommi himself, with a modern slice. And like any good Iommi track, it boasts two solid riffs, and a smokingly Sabbath solo.
Sometimes you hear an album and know right away which song should be the single. That is “Gods on the Radio”. Punctuation error aside, this track is winning 110%. It shall henceforth be known as “You Gotta”, since that is the vocal hook that will be rattling inside your head for days. The lyrics (Litwiller’s first writing credit) are borderline genius for being so goddamn memorable.
God’s on the radio,
With the world in his video,
Phil Collins in the studio,
Phil Collins in the Su-su-su-su-sudio.
The song itself is punky Queens of the Stone Age, with vintage 1977 Ace Frehley lead guitar and maybe a hint of Mike Patton. Yes, this is the single, absolutely. I’ll say it’s one of the best songs to come out this year. At least, if the amount it’s stuck in my head is anything to judge by. In fact I’m gonna go back and play it again. “You gotta,” as the man says.
Yeah, even on repeat listens, it remains as fun as the first. I only wish for a better sounding recording; it would be brilliant with full-on studio fidelity. “You gotta turn it up louder,” says the man, so that helps.
Garage rock is embodied with the sloppy “Uptite Friday Nite”. Stupidly catchy, it’s not one of the best tracks but it’s the noisiest. This is the kind of jam you’d put on before going out for the night. It sounds like the guys shoutin’ out the chorus are already halfway there.
The second, and superior album epic is “Scales of Justice”, Litwiller’s other co-write. Vintage 1976-era Judas Priest (circa Sad Wings) meets a slick Zeppelin groove. Jimmy Page definitely sounds like an influence in parts, while others are jagged riffs of metal. Max uses his Axe to carve music from pure granite, and it’s all very satisfying. The song snakes in and out with different sections and grooves. As a closer it is suitably climactic and leaves you wanting more.
I played some tracks for some friends. One disagreed with my praise of “You Gotta” and thought “Scales of Justice” was far better. Another commented, “You know what this sounds like? A bunch of 40 year olds in a basement.” And I responded, “What’s wrong with that?” Here are some guys in their 40s that are still passionate about rock, and after many years, have written a collection of nine good songs. With regular-Joe money, they made an album. And it’s a good album. I hear things on this album that keep me coming back. I ask myself, “am I biased”? Of course I am. But I wouldn’t have to listen to it if I didn’t want to. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve played this album in totality. It’s a lot. You don’t do that unless you like it. Whatever it is that I am hearing on Status Electric by Max the Axe, I can only hope that you can hear it too.