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). http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/52279
(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 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.)
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.
(Maxwell’s performance space, stage view)
A partial list of shows/musicians I remember seeing at Maxwell’s:
(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.”
(unidentified, Anil Pal, WFMU DJ Stork, WFMU DJ Tamar)