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Thursday
Jul252013

Musicians say goodbye to Maxwell's

Maxwell's Hoboken

Maxwell's is set to shut its doors for good in a few days ending a phenominal run as one of the nation's best clubs. We here at Fake Walls have covered several shows at the beloved venue and will surely miss going there for some delicious food and memorable shows. Many bands, both local and national, feel the same way. Without this rock institution around, many musicians will lose their home away from home. Numerous bands who cut their teeth at 1039 Washington St have gone on to make their mark on the music world. We reached out to some musicians to get their thoughts about the club's closing.


Tory Anne Daines (violinist/vocalist/keyboardist, Those Mockingbirds)

Maxwell's has been a haven for hard working and upcoming bands since I moved to Jersey. That back room has given me some of the fondest memories of performing that I have ever had. That room holds for me the total growth of Those Mockingbirds. I remember starting out opening up shows then working up to selling out as the headliners. It's also the first place I remember hearing the audience singing our lyrics back at us. Aside from the positive performance memories it has offered up such amazing local and national networking opportunities for the scene. Maxwell's has introduced me to so many bands on a personal level. Not ever have a found or played a venue like it. The crowd and performers were mixed together in a way that it just bred friendship and creativity. No egos were allowed in there. The venue also took care of their bands, giving them food and drinks. I remember being so surprised to find out that our waiter was the owner and was happily and quietly working his own tables. That place was really a labor of love and is bowing out before it's time, I am sincerely hoping for an encore whatever that might be.

 

Jerry Jones (vocalist, Trophy Scars)

Some of my fondest memories of my 11+ years of playing live were at Maxwell's. Trophy Scars has toured the US and Canada countless amounts of times, and there are some truly spectacular venues out there. But sincerely, I can't think of a venue that provides hospitality, dynamic sound, and heartfelt good vibes quite like Maxwell's. The amount of consideration paid to the artist by Maxwell's staff is not only a rarity - it's almost unparalleled in the hundreds of venues Trophy Scars has played over the years. Above and beyond the hospitality, Maxwell's was never lacking in the food and beverage department either. Savory eats and reasonably priced brews added to that good-vibe atmosphere. It wasn't just a place to see fantastic music - it was a wonderful spot to meet with friends and share more than a barrel of laughs.

My favorite memory would be playing two back to back sold out nights at the club. This might be my favorite memory of my musical career thus far. It wasn't that the shows were sold out, it wasn't that the sound was killer, it wasn't the delicious food both evenings; no, it was that Maxwell's became a beacon of camaraderie and hope in a scene that has long since passed its golden era. Everyone on both nights were elated with passion and saudade. Even when the crowd would get out of control, the Maxwell's staff handled the situations professionally and courteously. Drinks were drunk, smiles were smiled, hugs were had, and I've never felt more proud to be a musician in my life.

 

Vlad Holiday (vocalist/guitarist, Born Cages)

Maxwell's was the first venue Amanda, Steve, Dave and I played together. It was also the first venue Born Cages headlined. It'll always have a special place in our hearts and I'm very sad to see it go.

Tony Clark (vocalist/guitarist, Prawn)

Maxwell's hands down was our favorite place to play in New Jersey, if not the whole country. The actual show space of Maxwell's was a perfect size for a band like us towards the end. The first time we played Maxwell's I think 10 people were there and no one really cared to watch us. However, the last time we played in May we were close to selling the place out. Even though our first show was a total bust, Todd booked us again and multiple times after that. In fact, Maxwell's became our 'hometown' venue that we ALWAYS looked forward to playing. Maxwell's was the only venue I can remember, other than European venues, that gave the bands a free, delicious meal and 4 drink tickets. That in itself should make every band want to play there haha. Aside from playing Maxwell's a handful of times, I've seen a bunch of shows there and gone just for the food. It's a sad day for the New Jersey music community seeing Maxwell's close and I hope Todd and all the staff the best of luck in their futures.

 

Kevin Devine

Maxwell's was one of "those" places for a kid interested in independent music culture growing up in the New York area.  An outpost that acquired a kind of mythology; you wanted to play there to be part of some kind of elusive larger story, to cement your place in line.  I've seen and played many, many memorable and formative shows there over the past 15 years, and I'm sad to see it go, especially while the neighborhood around it continues its steroid-addled real estate monster march towards Real Housewives of Hoboken territory.  Its absence will be felt.

 

Dick Valentine (vocalist, Electric Six)

I suppose what always stands out was settling with Todd at the end of the night and watching him hand over a cash amount that would far exceed what we would be getting paid from any similar-sized venue on the tour.  Once when I asked him, "How come you pay bands so much when you don't have to?"  His response: "Because I'm an idiot!"

Other than that, just the memories of sitting down in the basement waiting to go on.  We'd be there drinking beer amongst the industrial-sized cans of ketchup and garbanzo beans, constantly being asked to move for a second while an employee comes to grab something for upstairs.  In the back of your head is "I heard Moby played here.  I heard Madonna did a secret show here.  Ringo Starr too, probably."

 

Brandon Asraf (vocalist/guitarist, Brick + Mortar)

Maxwell's is piece of music history. If you are from NJ you already know it. Maxwell's always gives bands like ours a shot. Venues like these are needed to help cultivate new bands.

 

Lou Panico (bassist, Socratic)

Maxwell's always took care of their bands. Any performer out there can testify to how rare that is. Maxwell's always welcomed their talent with open arms. For example, they provided their bands with a free meal. Not only that, but Maxwell's consistently provided their artists with great live sound. A sound guy who actually cared. Imagine that! This is one of, if not the biggest pet peeve of every band or performer. At Maxwell's the front of the house never suffered. Artists and audience alike were given a truly enjoyable experience. Nothing but mutual respect and great people. Todd, you and your place has always been great to us. We wanted to thank you once again for the ongoing hospitality and wonderful memories. We will miss you immensely.