The band was formed in 1973 in Sarnia, Ontario and consisted of guitarist and vocalist Kim Mitchell, keyboardist Terry Watkinson, bassist Mike Tilka and drummer Paul Kersey. Mitchell, joined by Pye Dubois, would write the majority of their material with Mitchell writing the music and Dubois writing lyrics.
Kersey left the band after their self-titled debut album, to be replaced by Gary McCracken. After recording and touring for their second album, High Class in Borrowed Shoes, Tilka would follow suit and leave the band, being replaced by Dave Myles. Recording for their third album, Mutiny Up My Sleeve, began with this line-up which would last through to their fourth album, A Million Vacations. Prior to Universal Juveniles Watkinson and Myles left, to be replaced by various musicians to record the last album and then tour for a little while longer before Kim Mitchell decided to end it in 1981 for a solo career.
The band was respected by fellow Canadian musicians Rush. In a 1979 interview Geddy Lee commented that he enjoyed their music and Rush toured with them frequently. The song "Battle Scar" was recorded live with all three members of Rush on the Universal Juveniles album. "Battle Scar" was written by Pye Dubois and Kim Mitchell. Pye Dubois was co-author to a handful of Rush songs, such as Tom Sawyer.
The band was successful in Canada, with hits such as "A Million Vacations," "Let Go The Line" and "Paradise Skies", although they never made it big outside of Canada. Kim Mitchell's subsequent solo career, however, reached a much broader audience and he achieved popularity beyond Canada during the 80's.
Among the highlights of the band's career were their New Year's Eve shows at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens.
Max Webster reunited for the Q107 30th Anniversary Concert and Live Radio Special on Thursday, May 24th, 2007 at The Docks in Toronto. A one-off gig, the band played a set of their hits (Oh War!, The Party, Waterline, Let Go The Line, Toronto Tontos, Diamonds Diamonds, High Class In Borrowed Shoes, A Million Vacations, In Context Of The Moon, Paradise Skies, Charmonium, and Battle Scar, with Hangover as an encore) and featured the classic Max Webster lineup from the "High Class in Borrowed Shoes" era of Kim Mitchell, Terry Watkinson, Mike Tilka and Gary McCracken (who sang "A Million Vacations" with drummer Robert Sibony on Drums for the tune). Longtime Kim Mitchell bandmate Peter Fredette joined the band onstage to sing Geddy Lee's part on "Battle Scar".