This is Maxine. She likes soba on rainy days, her Jacuzzi, and a nice hot cup of Green tea. She tries to relax in her down time as much as she can. See, her professional life is pretty hectic. She travels the world a lot and her industry demands creativity on tap. Maxine is in a band. You may have heard of them, they're called Playground Poindexter.
Maxine Myagumi Higa
Max, Maxie, 2 Tha Max
Bass Guitar, Piano, Viola, Backup Vocals
Toe-Tappingly Tragic, The High Beams, My Knew Knephew Kirk, Playground Poindexter
Single Straight Female
Censorship is Offensive.
Max was never not in love with music. She would stay at the record store for hours at a time, getting up to sample new tracks. She probably had 100 posters for her walls of different bands. When she was finally tall enough to hold a bass guitar, she would spend hours on end at the music and instrument store a few blocks from where she lived. She would begged for a bass and lessons but her parents did not have the money. Whatever they did have, they spent on Max's younger sister Marcy. Marcy was sick a lot. In and out of the hospital all the time. While she loved her sister, Max always knew that she was destined to tour the world, perform for screaming crowds and be on the cover of countless magazines.
The owner would let her plug a Fender Precision Bass into an Amp and practice her basslines from sheet music in exchange for some of her mom’s Asian cooking. Max even resorted to saving some of her own dinner for Mr. McMillan. Spending all that time in the shop paid off eventually. BJ Ferguson walked in just for some spare guitar strings and heard her play. His bass player had just quit his band to focus on his education and he was looking to replace him. Toe-Tappingly Tragic was formed that night.
Realizing she needed proper lessons but not having the money, his family paid for a professional music instructor to teach her. The two became fast friends. “Everyone thought we were dating but it just wasn’t like that. It took people to find out our ages before they got it, of course back then I looked older and he looked younger. He was seven years older than I was, making me Jail-Bait!”
Most of what was played at first was just free concerts. Their biggest fan base just being at a local coffee shop owned by the band’s drummer’s brother. They accepted donations in an old top hat that was used in a Halloween costume. Of course it was way too big for her to wear but that is where the idea came from. Jimmy’s brother even offered a 5% discount if paid in cash if the patron would use the change to put in the hat. All of that spare change was collected and bought just one hour of studio time.
They had just one chance. Knowing this, they practiced for 2 weeks almost non-stop with a goal of getting one song right. It paid off. They were able to record three songs. “That was great because now in addition to taking spare change, we could sell something too.”
Eventually she had to move with her family. In her new high school, she immediately formed a band. This time it was all girls. Originally calling themselves My Knew Knephew Kirk, but their vice principle figured out the anagram and forced them to change their name before they could enter the battle of the bands. “It was crazy how it worked out, all three of us were briefly dating the three members of another band that was at that school.” This love story would only last until homecoming. At the competition, everyone was betting on the boys to win. But in the end, The High Beams would come out on top. The friction this caused eventually broke up both bands.
Shortly after graduation, her father got a position in his company that had him working in an office in Japan. Although she could have stayed in the states, she opted to follow her family to learn more about her Asian heritage. The decision proved a smart one. Their new neighbor saw her moving her music equipment and began telling her he was involved with scouting out new musical talent. She was set up in another all-female group whose name translates to Playground Nerd which she suggested be changed to Poindexter for western sales.
Work came slowly. All-female acts face a lot of discrimination in Asia. Not one to allow that to be an obstacle, Max contacted some old friends who were about to start the Asian portion of their world tour. Playground Poindexter opened for every Toe-Tappingly Tragic concert in Japan, Korea, Thailand and two cities in China. After that, record sales skyrocketed, appearance requests flooded in, as well as merchandising, sponsorship deals and most importantly, live performances.
Sometime later, while doing a music festival in Ireland, the band met U2 and front man/philanthropist, Bono. “Meeting him just absolutely inspired all of us. The guy’s heart is just larger than life. I think the biggest moment in my career at that point was when he gave me a pair of his trademark sunglasses. I mean the only other musical icon of that level is Michael Jackson’s rhinestone studded glove.”
At Bono’s suggestion, the band set up a series of benefit concerts for women and children who were victims of violence, forced into prostitution and being recruited as child soldiers. Project TINAA (This Is Not Africa Anymore) kicked off from there.
Originally, three Platinum Albums in a row but online music sales makes that hard so now it’s guaranteed rights for women in Africa.
Has been playing bass for 15 years almost constantly. Also plays piano and viola. Two gold albums, four number one singles (two on one album), seven top ten singles. First Asian band to earn Best Video in MTV Music Video Awards. Two Grammys for band, one personal.
Vocalist/Rhythm Guitar – Kinuko Takahashi
Lead Guitar/Backup Vocals – Sachiko Matsumoto
Keyboardist/Backup Vocals – Ayako Aoki
Drummer – Kaminari Okamoto
Tyson Ritter (All American Rejects)
Victor Wooten (world class bassist)
Nikki Monninger (Silversun Pickups)
Rivers Cuomo and Scott Shriner (Weezer)
Mike Inez (Alice in Chains)
Michael Balzary (Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Mike Dirnt (Green Day)
Jason McCaslin (Sum 41)
Kimberly Dahme (Boston)
Preferred instrument models
Fender Jazz Bass, Rickenbacker 4001 C64, Yamaha TRBJP2
Small top hat cocked off to one side. "Everyone thinks it's glued on. It's not! It's just an elastic band. Can you imagine having glue in your hair every night?"
What You Probably Didn’t Know About Max
Her fourth toe on her left foot is missing due a hiking accident. She’s never had a Driver’s License. "There's never been a good Driver's License photo, I wouldn't want to be anything but photogenic. Besides,why do I need one? I get a ride everywhere I go."
Dressing Room Requests
Lilacs, Jasmine, Lotuses, Bamboo plants; Soiree Sake; Fiji water; Tuna and egg Sushi, Kimbap, Kim-chee and one fun-sized Butterfinger.
Tribal design along the bottom of her back, the first bass line she wrote on the left shoulder blade and a lotus on her ankle.
Navel and Tongue
Two of her Great Grandfathers fought and died on opposite sides of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It is entirely possible that one killed the other, either the pilot that dropped a bomb or the machinist mate that manned a 50 caliber anti-aircraft gun.