Reason #349 Why The ’80’s Didn’t Suck: Universal Juveniles

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Oh, man, that’s an awful cover, isn’t it?

Yes, guitarist Kim Mitchell does resemble Buffalo Bill from Silence Of The Lambs a bit (“It puts the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again.”), and yes this band were weirdos, but they were accessible weirdos, and also one of the most uniquely enjoyable Canadian bands of all time. And 99.98% of the population, outside their native Canada of course, has never heard of them. That cover may have something to do with it. I mean, what the Hell is up with the skintight, yellow spandex onesy? Mitchell looks like a very confused Ken-doll. It’s a great candidate for worst album cover of the ‘80’s, and there’s plenty of stiff competition in that department!

MW was one of the great hopes for Canadian progressive rock, along with Rush and FM, back in the mid ’70’s. They were a little left of center for true prog-heads, a little too metallic for the pop kids and a little too commercial for everyone else, although I do remember a few songs from A Million Vacations being played to death on commercial radio back in the day (thank you, CanCon!)*

I really wish the debut (informally called the “Blockhead” album), High Class In Borrowed Shoes or especially A Million Vacations landed in the 1980’s instead of the ‘70’s, because this last effort is not their best. Not bad, though. This album contains the Rush collaboration, Battlescar (“with lyrics by Pye Dubois! 2 Drummers! 2 Lead Guitarists! 2 Lead Singers!”), but to me they were treading a little too close to hair metal here for my liking; less weirdness and more typical guitar histrionics from lead axe dude Kim. However, it’s the only Webster album to fall within this decade so it gets the nod. Here’s Battlescar…..

*For those of you South (or East, Or West, or North) of The Great White North, Can Con is short for Canadian Content, andderived from the Broadcasting Act of Canada, that radio and television broadcasters (including cable and satellite specialty channels) must air a certain percentage of content that was at least partly written, produced, presented, or otherwise contributed to by persons from Canada.”–Wikipedia

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