The Max Webster Transfusion: A Little (Canadian) Blood for America’s Veins

  • Mark Spielmacher
Part of the Pop Music, Culture and Identity book series (PMCI)


Spielmacher begins with a young man’s discovery of a progressive pastiche of incongruous elements, the magic of a Max Webster cassette glinting seductively within a sister’s boyfriend’s vinyl-covered case. He investigates the music of Max as a polyphony of sounds and sentiments, ranging from hard rock to progressive eclecticism, transporting themes from the pen of the inscrutable Pye Dubois – at one moment celebrating the motifs of a distinct Southwestern Ontario hoser identity and its take on jolly-seeking and the mating ritual, the next slyly provoking notions of American uptight patriotism, status seeking, and warmongering. The band produced five of the most exciting records of the late 70 s and early 80 s, guitarist/singer Kim Mitchell the heart and Dubois the anti-romantic soul. Trailing Canadian rising stars Rush around North America and the world, trying hard to ‘put a little blood in America’s veins’, Max Webster sought but never found the acceptance they deserved. The band’s wonderful weirdness may be what made wider success impossible for them, yet, it allowed their regional audience to discover, in the music and in themselves, something exuberantly different from mainstream American culture.

Works Cited

  1. Lamont, John. ‘Max Webster: Zen Archery’. Roxy (June 1978).Google Scholar
  2. Max Webster. Max Webster. Anthem Records, 1976.Google Scholar
  3. Mitchell, Kim. Interview by Rick Ringer. CHUM-FM, Toronto, 1977.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Spielmacher
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishSt Jerome’s University in the University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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