Mike Tilka Interview
Music genres: Hard rock, progressive rock, pop rock.
Formed in 1973, Max Webster soon became one of the most original and popular rock bands in Canada. Their first three albums, MaxWebster (1976), High Class in Borrowed Shoes (1977) and Mutiny Up My Sleeve (1978) achieved gold status in Canada. Max Webster were also close friends of fellow Canadian rock icons Rush. In a 1979 interview, Rush bassist and vocalist Geddy Lee, commented that he enjoyed their music and both bands frequently toured together in Canada, the USA and the U.K. during the 1970s. The band went on to be twice nominated for JUNO Awards for ‘Group of the Year’ in 1980 and 1981 respectively.
ole Label Group on the September 29 release of the definitive 8-disc vinyl and CD box sets, for Canadian hard rock icons Max Webster. The Party (ole Label Group / Anthem Legacy / Universal Music Canada), will feature newly re-mastered albums, exclusive unreleased studio and live songs, the long-out-of print Kim Mitchell self-titled EP and a comprehensive booklet packed with rare photos and memorabilia.
The Party is now available for pre-order via Musicvaultz.com:
Q) What’s new in the world of Mike Tilka?
A) Every day is something new. I’m older, hopefully a bit wiser and I continue to count on more time to continue enjoying family, friends and music.
Q) Where did the idea come from to make a Max Webster 8-disc vinyl and CD box sets?
A) I believe that Andy Curran and his crew at ole Majorly Indie Label Group are responsible. It was a surprise to me up until a few months ago. Definitely was a great idea.
Q) To make the booklet that will go along with the box set how much work was it to find the right photos and memorabilia to add? I’m sure it was not easy?
A) A while ago I got a call from Catherine McRae, the designer doing the package, asking me what photos etc. I might have, that she could add to the mix. I found a few things to send over that I didn’t even realize I had. I have most likely lost more stuff over the years then I found.
Q) Since your days with Max Webster what have you been doing in the music scene?
A) I always continued to play bass on a part-time basis when I was a working stiff. I gigged on and off in a band called Antlers with Terry Watkinson and Sam Boutzouvis on guitar. Lots of original tunes in a Pop/Rock vein – lots of fun! When I retired a few years ago, I thought I would try being a “jobber” since I never did that before – I only always played in one band at a time. It was interesting (Celtic music one night then Jazz the next) but it was not really my deal; although I did play 97 gigs that year with nine different acts. Now I play upright and electric bass with a fantastic guitar player, Shane Cloutier. He is a very talented composer with a wonderful voice. Our band is ODD CLUE. We have a new CD coming out in a few weeks – exciting stuff! Let me know if you want to check it out. We hope lots of people check it out.
Q) Looking back on the tours and recordings for Max Webster what do you miss the most?
A) The catering! Seriously, I miss playing live with the Max Machine – in both large and small venues. That is not to diminish the joy of producing, rehearsing, arranging, and laying it down in the studio. All great, but performing was/is the ultimate for me.
Q) How big is your bass or guitar collection and did you keep any of the amps and stuff throughout the years?
A) I certainly have sold more basses over the years than I own now – I am down to seven. I mainly play my Lakland P- five string and a NS Design – electric upright. My nephew in Florida, had my old Max Fender Precision. Unfortunately, it was stolen out of his car which was parked in front of his house, about ten years ago. So it goes. I did get a few emails over the years from Windsor about my first SVT head from the Max touring days. Kind of strange since I don’t have any idea as to its whereabouts.
Q) Where do you see music going in another 40 years?
A) I don’t have any idea how things will shake out. Live music clubs are either struggling or just disappearing. Outside of some mega-act tours and the over-sized, multi-act festival events, a lot of the live music concerts now are presented by casinos – usually with nostalgia groups (not necessarily a bad thing, since Max would fit in that category) and clone acts (mainly about song recognition and not much else – I favor hearing the records). Not a lot of interesting, new acts featured in live venues presently. The whole social media thing seems to be the way it is going. I
have seen a few good, new acts playing live in front of their cell phones in their living rooms but this is not best way to experience live music. I miss seeing a great band kick it out all night in a bar. I have been to a few house concerts in the last while – intimate, but not the type of venue to rock-out in! Obviously, I am not the guy to predict how music and its presentation are going to change in the next 40 years. Hell, I couldn’t have answered that question in the 70’s either. All I know is music will not disappear. We all need it in our own peculiar way and some of us will continue to make.
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