Last week it became national news that the great Maxwell’s would be “shutting its doors”:http://www.nj.com/entertainment/music/index.ssf/2013/06/maxwells_a_hoboken_rock_instit.html for good on July 31.
We are not part of the institution that is Maxwell’s. Not in the way that the club’s outstanding staff are, or the Hoboken regulars that are there nightly, or the great indie bands that were launched from the club, like the Feelies, the Trypes, Yo La Tengo, Tiny Lights, Yung Wu, Speed the Plough, Human Switchboard, the Cucumbers, The Bongos, The Individuals, and so many others.
At the same time, we have also called Maxwell’s “home,” for nearly all of our 20 years. The thrill of seeing a Melting Hopefuls or Footstone show there in the early 90s is no different than the thrill of seeing Stuyvesant or The Mommyheads play there today. That they opened their doors to us for two Camelfest events, and allowed us to do shows pretty much whenever we asked is not a testament to us, it’s a testament to *them* – how cool and accepting they always were of local music and local labels. Over the years, literally _thousands_ of New Jersey bands have owed Maxwell’s a debt, as have thousands more touring bands who came into town hungry and were treated to the venue’s famous free meal, accepting environment, and warm fans.
There was never a time I went to Maxwell’s and found the environment to be tense. I never saw a fight there. The friendly staff was easily the nicest and most accommodating of any club in the area, and the room, despite being legendary, never had any airs about it. The menu was always excellent.
I don’t pretend to be someone on the “inside” with Maxwell’s; I’m just a fan who goes there for burgers and beer, just like everyone else. All it’s been is my favorite place to go hang out and see consistently great music for most of my adult life.
The best thing about Maxwell’s, to me, was that everyone was treated with respect, whether it be a well-known, national act; a small, touring band from out of town; or one of the many local bands that made the place home over the years. Every band got a good, free meal, professional treatment from the staff, a solid mix, and a nice chunk of the door. Everyone there was always supportive, and treated us like our show was important. As a supporter of original music in New Jersey, there has been no cooler venue.
Over the last 20 years or so, I’ve seen some of my favorite bands play on that stage, and I’ve also been amazingly fortunate enough that they’ve let Dromedary bands and our friends play there pretty frequently. As wrecked as I am over this, I can’t do anything but thank the club and its staff, most importantly Todd, Karl, Andy and Carson for being so amazing, and of course Steve Fallon as well. Thank you all so much for creating such a special place, for supporting our bands and friends, and for being such an inspiration.
We will all miss Maxwell’s terribly.