Submitted by Sandy Graham
Toronto-based music historian, multi-instrumentalist, and radio host Bob Wegner scours the archives over countless hours to bring audiences the definitive guide to one of Canada’s most prolific rock bands of all time, Max Webster, with the new book entitled, “Max Webster: High Class” — available now!
Wegner’s latest authorial pursuit sees him wearing many hats as he documents Canadian music history with an unprecedented look at infamous Toronto rockers Max Webster. “In the case of this book, you’re a journalist, fact-checker, designer, audio engineer, and archivist,” says Wegner.
“I relentlessly scoured the world for anything I could find on the subject. Interviewed most of the band members and various other people in the fold and on the periphery,” says Wegner, who would sometimes spend hours researching a single footnote. Wegner also oversaw the digitization of photos, audio, and video, including nearly 400 pages of photos and text.
After nearly a decade in the making, “Max Webster: High Class” came together due to the sheer will of Wegner himself, who oversaw almost every aspect of the project from conception to distribution. From coordinating venues for release events, finding printers for both the books and box sets, a customs broker, and a warehousing/fulfillment company, there was nothing Wegner didn’t touch. “Add project manager to the list of hats you have to wear. There’s a lot of ‘hurry up and wait’ on the business end in between all the joyful moments. But I have zero regrets.”
The indisputable testament to the quality of “Max Webster: High Class” came from Max Webster founder, and Canadian music legend, Kim Mitchell.
“For a guy who claims not to have a great memory, he remembered literally every guitar seen in the photos, where he bought it, for how much, and how much he sold it for,” says Wegner.
“In the 1973 chapter, there’s a photo of a reel-to-reel tape box of their first demo, mostly containing early songs that didn’t even end up on a Max Webster album. Some of these tunes he probably hasn’t even thought of in 50 years, and sitting across the table from me, he sang a couple of them. It was beautiful.”
A limited run of 100 numbered box sets with the book and a few fun trinkets inside are being produced as a special offer. The first ten include a genuine vintage backstage pass obtained from Rob Gunn, Max Webster’s road manager and head of lighting—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the most ardent fans to own a piece of history.
Perhaps the most significant revelation for author Bob Wegner as he worked on the book is that Max Webster fans are massively loyal and dedicated to their music. “I encountered literally hundreds of people without whose generosity this book would have been impossible to complete. Photos, posters, ticket stubs, and high school yearbooks showed up regularly in my inbox and even on my doorstep,” says Wegner.
“I drove all over Ontario to meet many such helpers, plenty of whom are now friends. My biggest takeaway from this entire project is that nobody in this world truly does anything on their own. It takes a village, literally every time.”
The common thread from speaking with fans and people in the business alike is the agreement of how utterly brilliant Max Webster were as composers, musicians, and performers. “I have spoken with people about music for my entire adult life, and I have never come across such a high concentration of people who deeply love and miss a band as much as this one,” says Wegner.”
Wegner has spent fifteen years of experience playing in theatres, on the road, and in the studio, beginning with being selected by Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor to play guitar in the Toronto production of the “We Will Rock You” musical. Wegner’s involvement ultimately led to approximately 1,300 performances of the show worldwide.
Wegner has also played in several tribute bands, including Simply Queen and The Genesis Experience. He has also played hundreds of solo acoustic guitar shows where he often performs complete albums by Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Yes. In 2022 he scored an opening slot for Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel).
Not only a brilliant musician, Wegner as an author has also been credited for everything from fact-checker to photo archivist in numerous publications and products, including “Rush: Wandering the Face of the Earth: The Official Touring History” (Skip Daly, Eric Hansen, 2019) and Max Webster’s box set “The Party” (ole label group, 2017). The first season of his radio show and podcast “Bollocks with Bob” aired in 2022.
Book Launch With Bob Wegner In Q&A With David Marsden
Tuesday June 20 @ Revival (783 College St) from 6-10pm