Maxxxwell McHugh Carlisle (AKA Max Carlisle or Guitar MAX) is an American Heavy Metal guitarist, YouTuber, songwriter, producer, bodybuilder, photographer, and science and aviation enthusiast. Carlisle was born and raised in Woodinville, a suburb of Seattle, Washington. He started studying music in elementary school, beginning at age 8 on the violin. As he grew older he transitioned to playing bass and piano and then eventually guitar. In 1998 at the age of 15 he formed the band Graceful Chaos with several of his local school friends. The band played around the Seattle area until 2004, recording an EP (Wall of Thunder) in 2001 and a full-length album (The Right to Rock) in 2003. For the next 3 years he focused almost exclusively on bodybuilding, fitness and Pro-Street style drag racing.
After moving to Los Angeles in 2007, Carlisle released several solo albums over a period of about 6 years. These albums included Ramming Speed in 2008, Speed Force (instrumental) in 2010 and two EPs with different singers, Visions of Victory in 2012, and Full Metal Thunder in 2013, with Caro Lion and Michael Yancy, respectively. In 2015 the German metal label released a full-length compilation album Visions of Speed and Thunder which featured tracks from all of the aforementioned releases. He also released several recordings of classic metal cover songs including “Like Hell” by Loudness, “Black Widow” by UDO, and “Queen of the Reich” by Queensryche. He has also appeared as a guest soloist on a track by Lords Of The Trident.
Carlisle also played on the Karma’s a Bitch album by veteran LA metal band Hellion and associated tours in 2014 and 2015. Additionally, he has appeared as a guitarist and writer / producer on multiple Michael Angelo Batio songs, and has appeared in several other artist’s music videos. He also played in LA Industrial Metal act Society 1, in 2018 and 2019, and appeared on the band’s release of the single and music video for the song “No Control”.
Currently, Carlisle plays in Raptor Command, the self-proclaimed “heavy metal tribute to Elon Musk”, which successfully funded their debut full-length album Elon through Kickstarter in 2017. Additionally, Carlisle does photography and video work for other artists and bands, including Michael Angelo Batio, Dan Mumm, Deakon Lekross and others.
In 2017, with a renewed interest in YouTube and demoing guitars and related equipment, he began building up his YouTube channel Guitar MAX which has now grown to well over 100,000 subscribers. He posts videos weekly or bi-weekly, specializing in affordable music gear. Carlisle is a private pilot, and in 2020 he launched a 2nd YouTube channel, Heavy Metal Horizons, which features aviation and automotive videos.
Additionally, Carlisle is a member of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest privately run space exploration advocacy group. He occasionally performs at various charity events such as Rockers Against Human Trafficking and Metalheads for Homeless Veterans Foundation. He has appeared or been featured in Music Connection Magazine, iGuitar Magazine (Asia), HeavyRiff Magazine (Mexico) and Muscular Development Magazine. Carlisle married in August of 2015 and lives with his wife Cindy, in Los Angeles, CA.