Irene Trudel

Permalink Irene’s WFMU Faves 2013 on Flickr.Today at noon @WFMU, more than a few 2013 faves.

Clouds over Newport

Today at noon on WFMU, I’m counteracting the caterwauling and puffery of politicians (too much of it in NYC this week due to tomorrow’s primary election).

Permalink themuseumofrobynhitchcock:

…will be once again
Permalink Wayne Shorter - Newport Jazz Festival 2013 on Flickr.At noon today on WFMU, a jazzy Newport report, and Xenia Rubinos plays live.
Permalink Today, noon to 3 on WFMU, getting words in edgewise to the music, with Linda Draper live.
Permalink The Tiger Lillies
Permalink Speed the Plough, live on WFMU on Flickr.At noon today on WFMU, A good day to move slow, except to Speed the Plough (who play live).
Permalink Sundown waterfall in The Catskills on Flickr.
Today at noon on WFMU, I bring you a cooling waterfall of sounds.
Permalink Today at noon on WFMU, memories of a house and a home, with a live set by guitarist Glenn Jones.
Permalink Today at noon on WFMU, get caught up in my musical web!
Permalink Today from noon to 3pm on WFMU, cradle your head in my musical pillow.
Permalink Today at noon on WFMU, we’ll be spending some time in the grass.

Maxwell’s Memories

Bill Kelly's WFMU30th-Maxwells10

(Maxwell’s performance space bar)

I heard the news today that Maxwell’s in Hoboken is closing. So many of my best musical memories are wrapped up in that place. The famed club was a lifeline to twentysomething me, who lived an hour’s drive from NYC in a seemingly ultra-backward suburban NJ town. It was a destination as comfortable as going to a friend’s house for a few beers and to listen to some tunes, only the music was live and more eclectic than I’d ever hoped for. It was as if my college radio station had come to life.

WFMU-Hoof & Mouth 2009

 (WFMU engineers: Scott Konzelman, Irene Trudel)

I’ve been to Maxwell’s more times than I can remember, lived within walking distance in the early 90’s, met one of my best friends there, recorded my first radio interview there with Peter Buck and Mike Mills of R.E.M. after one of their early live shows, even tried out to be a fill-in soundperson (which I thankfully decided wasn’t for me), engineered many live broadcasts there for WFMU. (Club co-owner Todd Abramson sometimes hosts fill-in shows on the station as Todd-o-Phonic Todd. He’s been incredibly generous to WFMU, letting us use Maxwell’s as our performance home for the Hoof & Mouth Sinfonia, which closes out our annual fundraising marathon.)

WFMU-Hoof & Mouth 2009

(Todd Abramson)

It was a club I never felt out of place in, with good food and beer, a jukebox filled with the best indies and oldies rockin’ the front bar, and lots of great live music.


WFMU-Hoof & Mouth Sinfonia 2011

(Maxwell’s performance space, stage view)

A partial list of shows/musicians I remember seeing at Maxwell’s:

  • The Mekons, best New Year’s Eve I can remember, 1992, their singer Sally Timms wearing a sparkly tiara and chewing gum, the band rocking our brains out, so hot in there that our collective sweat dripped off the ceiling.
  • Richard Thompson, first time I saw him play solo acoustic in the early 90’s, squeezing into a spot near the front of the tiny stage, Vic Chesnutt his opening act, a totally unexpected delight.
  • Mark Eitzel, fronting American Music Club many times, and many times drunk out of his skull but still superb, guitarist Vudi once let me hold his custom-made guitar because I admired it.
  • Dragging my (now) husband Peter there so I could record Kevin Ayers in a rare appearance, Gary Lucas and David Thomas opening in March of 1993, and doubling the night as a date.
  • Robyn Hitchcock, on many occasions both solo and with a band, one especially great show March 26, 2005 singing Kung-Fu Fighting as he walked into the audience, with guitar in hand, getting the crowd to sing along.
  • 1988?, Throwing Muses blown away by their opening act, The Pixies.
  • The Fleshtones, early 80’s, the band churning out surf-style garage rock, frontman Peter Zaremba singling me out of the audience, cradling my head and singing/testifying about giving me “a personal Fleshtones experience.”
  • The Bongos, Tiny Lights, The Feelies, Yo La Tengo, Speed the Plough, R. Stevie Moore, Husker Du, Bob Mould, The Fall, The Incredible Casuals, NRBQ, The Smithereens, Pylon, The Wygals, The Schramms, The Shams, Amy Rigby, The Primitons, The Neats, Galaxie 500, The Mommyheads, The dB’s, Continental Drifters, The Bats, The Chills, The A-Bones, Silver Apples, Wreckless Eric, Richard Lloyd, Hazil Adkins, Alex Chilton. So many others, too many forgotten.

WFMU Hoof & Mouth Sinfonia 2012: The audience, with many WFMU DJs

 (Maxwell’s performance space, WFMU DJs BT, Rich, Evan “Funk” Davies)

I’ll admit my patronage of the club diminished once I married and moved to Manhattan. Parking near the club became an impossibility, which became a deterrent to my going more often. But I’d also fallen out of love with Hoboken in general as drinking fans, not music fans, seemed to be overtaking the town near the PATH station and spreading. Maxwell’s had fallen on bad times in the 90’s as well, sold to some people who tried to turn it into a microbrew pub with an unimaginative booking policy. Todd Abramson, along with Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley and Dave Post of The Amazing Incredibles, rescued the club, bringing it back to its former glory. Unfortunately all good things come to an end and the club owners feel it’s time to close the club for good. As my friend Irwin Chusid described it, “It’s like a death in the family.”

WFMU-Hoof & Mouth 2009

(unidentified, Anil Pal, WFMU DJ Stork, WFMU DJ Tamar)

Permalink Richie Havens at Newport Folk Fest 2010 on Flickr.Such a beautiful spirit and musician. Richie Havens was a big influence on my musical development. His rich baritone was liquid gold to my ears. May he find peace in the hearafter.
Permalink WFMU in Exile
On October 29th, 2012, as Superstorm Sandy wailed outside my window, I made the decision not to travel to the Jersey City studios of WFMU to do my regular Monday show. Good thing I didn’t! The roads were closed by 2pm, as were the tunnels under the Hudson River. That evening power to the WFMU studios went out, as it did at the transmitter sites. I certainly would’ve been stuck at WFMU, which came within a few feet of the floodwaters. Station Manager Ken was in a bind for programming for the web, which was the only place we could air things. The next day I couldn’t go to work at WNYC. Soundcheck, the show I engineer for, was cancelled, and the station had a skeleton crew, running off generators until power was restored late Friday night. So I created a radio show at home that Ken could air it if needed. As it turned out, he was able to get enough people to do shows “in exile” remotely so this show was never broadcast. I decided to post it as a holiday gift for New year’s, along with some photos on Flickr, which document the time surrounding the storm.