- Highlife Magazine - Max Merritt

One of Australia’s most celebrated Rock ‘n’ Roll musicians, Max Merritt, is returning to Australia to play as a part of a legendary line-up for Go!! Show Gold. It is Max’s first time returning to Australia in nine years, as he has been unable to travel prior due to an autoimmune disease.

Max Merritt has had one incredible career in music along with his band, Max Merritt and the Meteors. With modest beginnings in Christchurch, he and his band were originally inspired by Elvis Presley and, “of course, Bill Haley & His Comets. That’s where we got ‘Meteors’”, he explained with a laugh. Max told of his first musical outlet, performing at the local ‘Christchurch Teenage Club’. The Teenage Club was originally his mother’s idea, who “started it to keep the kids off the streets,” but it quickly transformed into a hub of rock n roll for the youth in Christchurch.

Garnering interest around New Zealand, Max Merritt and the Meteors moved to Sydney and there received recognition for the soul influence that Max bought into his band; soon Max was hailed the ‘soul king’ of Australia.

An international venture to England followed, where Max supported English bands including the Moody Blues and Slade, but when remembering his ultimate career highlight Max speaks of St Kilda, Australia. “My highlight has to be the response from the crowd after we returned from England. We were performing in the Palais Theatre; it had been a while since we played, and I was throwing up I was so nervous. But we walked out on stage and the whole room stood up and gave us a standing ovation – the band and I looked at each other with big smiles, and the nerves went.” It is sure to be a sentimental occasion for Max and the band when the upcoming Go!! Show Gold tour returns to the Palais Theatre later this year.

The progression of Max Merritt’s incredible career has seen him play not only with The Rolling Stones, but also Wilson Pickett, James Brown and Ray Charles. However, his touring and performing with Max Merritt and the Meteors has had to be postponed due to Max’s autoimmune disease, Goodpastures Syndrome, which attacks his lung and kidneys and means that Max needs to go through dialysis every other day. Fortunately for Australia, however, he is well enough currently to travel and tour.

Max is extremely excited to be returning to Australia. “I was resolved to the thinking that it was never going to happen again.” The Go!! Show Gold tour will feature a line-up of Australian music legends and Max’s friends playing a few of their hit songs. “It’ll be really interesting to see, because we were all so busy we never really got to watch each other perform.” When asked what songs will most likely appear, Max replied, “Most likely the favourites; Slipping Away, Western Union Man and Try A Little Tenderness.”

The Go!! Show Gold tour wraps up in Perth on 6th August, and Max will be flying back to the States. Max Merritt and the Meteors will be at the Empire Theatre, Toowoomba on Sunday, July 24.

Words by Lydia Maranta
Image supplied