TIR 77: Singer’s Singer Maxayn Lewis Shares Her Amazing Story


Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott Goldfine — musicologist and author of “Everything Is on THE ONE: The First Guide of Funk” ― “TRUTH IN RHYTHM” is the interview show that gets DEEP into the pocket with contemporary music’s foremost masters of the groove.

Featured in TIR Episode 77 (3 Parts): An amazing female vocalist whose professional music career includes backing Ike and Tina Turner as an Ikette while still just a teenager, fronting one of the best underground funk-rock bands of all time in Maxayn, and going on to record and perform with a long list of rock, pop and R&B A-listers. The woman I am referring to was born as Paulette Parker and became known as Maxayn Lewis — one of the finest and busiest singers of the past half-century. Her sensational namesake band also included the man who she would marry and adopt his surname, futuristic keyboard player Andre Lewis, who would later go on to record for Motown as Mandre, and drummer Emry Thomas, who would go on to become Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s band director and who was himself the focus of a recent episode of TRUTH IN RHYTHM (https://youtu.be/vF9vYXhMXDc).

Maxayn released three albums in the first half of the 1970s, an eponymous debut, Mindful and Bail Out for Fun! The band’s unique blend of soul, funk, rock, progressive keyboard-driven soundscapes, mix of original material and reimaginations of cover tunes, all propelled by Maxayn’s powerful pipes allowed it to cultivate a loyal underground and collegiate crowd following. Strong examples of how they made others’ killer compositions their own can be heard in Maxayn’s versions of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” and Curtis Mayfield’s “Check Out Your Mind.” While similar in configuration to Rufus and Mother’s Finest, Maxayn was less commercial than the former and not as hard rocking as the latter — and yet was at least equally compelling. Maxayn Lewis’ sweet and husky voice and style has been referred to as a cross between Roberta Flack and Aretha Franklin.

After splitting up with Andre Lewis and leaving the Maxayn band behind, Maxayn Lewis went on to sing with a host of stars that included Bonnie Raitt, Sammy Hagar, Billy Preston, the Gap Band, Rosanne Cash, Donna Summer, Tower of Power, Smokey Robinson, Rita Coolidge, Simple Minds, Leon and Brenda Russell, Celine Dion, Jon Bon Jovi, the Doobie Brothers and many others.

In this very in-depth interview, Maxayn comes darn close to providing a comprehensive first-person account of the golden era of 1960s-1980s soul, blues, funk and rock — with several astounding and poignant personal stories mixed in. She also talks about the amazing Maxayn box CD set released last year and new music in the works, some of it with former Rufus bassist Bobby Watson. While this is a lengthy TRUTH IN RHYTHM with a few technical hiccups, set aside the time, even if not all at once, to take it all in because Maxayn Lewis pulls few punches in laying out her incredible life story. It’s informative, inspirational, heartbreaking and yet still a lot of fun. It’s time to get Mindful with Ms. Maxayn Lewis.



Scott Goldfine

As a fervid lifelong music & film enthusiast / student, I grew up in and around the Los Angeles entertainment industry. I have worked and held many positions in various media realms, since 1998 serving as Editor-in-Chief and now Associate Publisher for Security Sales & Integration, a trade publication serving the electronic security industry. I love several genres of music & film. The former includes funk (Parliament-Funkadelic, Prince, Ohio Players, etc.); blues (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Eric Gales, etc.); rock (Jack White, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, etc.); hard rock (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, etc.); jazz (Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Crusaders, etc.); R&B (Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Gil Scott-Heron, etc.); and more. I was a club disc jockey and ran a mobile DJ company (Musical Moods) for more than 15 years, which is where the name Dr. GX originates (Doctor Good Times). Fave film genres include horror (Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.); science fiction (Aliens, Terminator, 2001, etc.); action (Warriors, Road Warrior, Die Hard); westerns (Outlaw Josey Wales, Showdown at OK Corral; Wild Bunch, etc.); suspense (Jaws, Inception, Silence of the Lambs, etc.); drama (Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, etc.); and comedies (Life of Brian, Superbad, Ruthless People, etc.). I have attended many hundreds of concerts and movies (in theaters or screenings). I may as well also throw in a few favorite TV shows to give an even broader taste of my sensibilities. A handful would be Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Lost, Justified, Fargo, Seinfeld, Sopranos, South Park, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Key & Peele, Monty Python, Inside Amy Schumer, Louie, Modern Family, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Last Man on Earth, Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family and The Office. Fave authors are Stephen King, Clive Barker and Michael Crichton. I am also a big sports fan and lifelong supporter of the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB). Also enjoy my family of course, electronics/computers/AV gear, and animals, nature and outdoor activities. Graduate of Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica College and California State University Northridge (Radio-TV-Film, Psychology minor). Also studied at UCLA for kinesiology/psychology and earned post-grad Certificate in Accounting from Santa Monica College. Present main occupation is as Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Security Sales & Integration (SSI), which I joined in 1998. I am responsible for overseeing all editorial content in print. online, electronic, in-person and any other media or products for the electronic security industry's leading business-to-business trade publication. SSI is part of Framingham, Mass.-based Emerald Expositions.