|Address||1039 Washington Street, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA 07030|
|Location||Southeast corner at Washington and 11th Streets|
|Owner||Pete Carr and Evan Dean|
|Type||Music venue, restaurant, brewpub and contemporary art gallery|
|Genre(s)||Punk, grunge, and indie rock|
|Capacity||200 (backroom stage)|
|Renovated||July 26, 1998|
Maxwell's, last known as Maxwell's Tavern, was a bar/restaurant and music club in Hoboken, New Jersey. Over several decades the venue attracted a wide variety of acts looking for a change from the New York City concert spaces across the river. Maxwell's initially closed its doors on July 31, 2013, and reopened as Maxwell's Tavern in 2014, under new ownership. Less than four years later, it closed again in February 2018.
The club was opened in August 1978 by Steve Fallon. When the Fallon family bought the corner building in uptown Hoboken with its street-level tavern, Steve Fallon's sisters Kathryn Jackson Fallon and Anne Fallon Mazzolla along with brother-in-law Mario Mazzola were interested in turning the factory workers' tavern (General Foods' Maxwell House Coffee factory was a block away on the Hudson River) into more of a restaurant. The Hoboken band "a" (featuring Glenn Morrow, Richard Barone, Frank Giannini and Rob Norris; the latter three later forming the Bongos) asked if they could rehearse in an unused back room and play a few gigs in the front for the restaurant's patrons. The live music quickly caught on and Fallon started booking bands in the back room. Over time, his booking taste, freewheeling personality and respectful treatment towards musicians made Maxwell's and Hoboken a stop to look forward to on many bands' tours. By making the blue-collar mile-square city with a rough-and-tumble reputation a cultural gathering place, Maxwell's was instrumental in sparking Hoboken's first wave of early 1980s gentrification — the artists and musicians. In that light, it is also believed that the Mazzolas may have offered the first successful Sunday brunch in Hoboken.
Maxwell's eventually become so successful that it spawned Pier Platters, an independent record store near the PATH train station that Fallon invested in; a whole music and cultural "scene" epitomized by the "Hoboken Sound" (which was featured in an hour-long television special on a local NYC station); and Fallon's own record label, Coyote Records. Fallon hired Todd Abramson to take over the booking of the acts in the mid-1980s. Abramson has, essentially, been booking the venue ever since (except for a short period in the late 1990s after Fallon sold the club and Maxwell's was converted into a short-lived brewpub.)
At a time when one of the Fallon siblings wanted to divest their interest in the business, Peter Buck (guitarist for R.E.M.) bought their piece to help his friend Steve Fallon keep it open as a resource for enthusiasts of new music.
When Fallon wanted completely out, he and his partners sold Maxwell's in December 1995 to William (Silverback) Sutton, who then turned it into a brewpub. Abramson, Steve Shelley (drummer of Sonic Youth) and Dave Post of the Amazing Incredibles and Swingadelic arranged to bring Maxwell's back, and renovated and reopened it on July 26, 1998. While some longtime patrons missed the more freewheeling Steve Fallon days, Maxwell's again became as vital a part of the independent music community as it was in the 1980s and 1990s.
The video for the song "Away" by the Feelies, directed by Jonathan Demme, was recorded at Maxwell's in 1988. After a 17-year hiatus, the Feelies reunited to appear at Maxwell's in July 2008, and they made appearances again every July from 2009 through 2013.
While on tour supporting their debut album Bleach, Nirvana appeared at Maxwell's on July 13, 1989. Early in the day, before the show, photographer Ian Tilton took several pictures of the band around Hoboken while John Robb interviewed them for a Sounds front cover feature. The picture of frontman Kurt Cobain has since been used in dozens of magazines, newspapers and websites before and after his death.
In addition to serving as a concert venue, Maxwell's offered monthly swing music by owner Dave Post's band Swingadelic, provided a forum for local musicians (with its free "New Jersey Songwriters in the Round" concerts), and opened itself up to weekly Tuesday DJ nights. Maxwell's also sponsored monthly art exhibits on its walls, with supporting opening events.
In the 2005 Village Voice Best of NY poll, Maxwell's was voted "Best Reason to Leave the State for Dinner and a Show". Also in 2005, The New York Times wrote that Maxwell's was "so New York that it's in New Jersey".
In June 2013 it was announced that Maxwell's would not renew its lease and the club would close in July. The club closed its doors on July 31, 2013, preceded by an afternoon block party on 11th Street between Washington Street and Hudson Place, beginning that afternoon, to commemorate its final night.
In early 2014, it reopened under new ownership (a group of investors headed by Pete Carr and Evan Dean), with the name changed to Maxwell's Tavern.
The new group decided to refocus the tavern from music to food, converting the "venue's fabled backroom—which in the '80s and '90s had proved a launching pad for up-and-coming bands like R.E.M., Husker Du, the Replacements and Nirvana"—into a dining room. The front room was fitted with large flatscreen televisions. However, when Maxwell's Tavern opened as a family-friendly pizzeria in April 2014, the owners realized it was a mistake, and for the next sixth months, retooled the premises to again present music. It reopened in October 2014, but was only able to book cover bands. By 2015, the owners gave up the pizzeria idea and engaged local promoter Dave Entwistle, who redesigned the sound stage and booked local talent.
The tavern continued to struggle, however. One cause was Carr's "disastrous interview" with the Hoboken Reporter, in which he slammed the previous ownership's maintenance of the building. The interview alienated many locals, who withheld their patronage. The owners were never able to book the up-and-coming bands that the older venue was known for, and eventually focused on trivia nights and country music. In early February 2018, the tavern announced on Facebook that it would close, and the final performances took place on February 10.
The first band to play at Maxwell's was "a", which included the three original members of the Bongos (Barone, Norris and Giannini; the latter was Maxwell's cook and devised their first menu), fronted by Glenn Morrow (later of the Individuals and founder of Bar/None Records). The Bongos rehearsed in the club by day, were the first from the new crop of bands to be signed to a major label (RCA Records) after a series of British singles and tours, and were seen at the time as ambassadors of the new Hoboken pop scene. The Cyclones, the Individuals, Urban Allies, WKGB, Gut Bank, the Fleshtones, the Raybeats and the dB's were also mainstays in the beginning,[dead link] with the Feelies playing frequently towards the later half of the 1980s.
The club was important to emerging 1980s and 1990s trends as diverse as punk, grunge and indie rock. Bands like New Order, Husker Du, the Replacements, Pixies, Firehose, Meat Puppets, Sonic Youth, Fugazi, Archers of Loaf, the Cynics, Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, Neutral Milk Hotel, the Juliana Theory, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Tad, Melvins, Mod Fun, Nirvana, Hole, the Afghan Whigs, the Posies (including solo shows by Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer), the Smashing Pumpkins, Tiny Lights, G Love and Special Sauce, Buzzcocks, Blue Öyster Cult, the Fall, the Minutemen, Robyn Hitchcock, Katrina & the Waves, Flipper, Rain Parade, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Cowsills, Wire, the Pogues, Los Campesinos!, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Joe Jackson, Schoolly D, Crime and the City Solution, Killing Joke, Kevin Ayers, John Cale, Snakefinger, Living Colour, David Byrne, the Slits, U.S. Chaos, X, Joan Jett, Dick Dale, the Psychedelic Furs, Royal Crescent Mob, the Strokes, Matt Nathanson, John Doe, Mary Lou Lord, Marshall Crenshaw, Jeff Buckley, Electric Six, Ian Hunter, Wreckless Eric, Amy Rigby and the Ataris all played at Maxwell's.
Abramson also presented country, rockabilly, garage rock and 1960s rock and roll shows at Maxwell's, including acts such as Sleepy LaBeef, Junior Brown, Radney Foster, Pete Anderson, Larry Collins, Wanda Jackson, Freddie Cannon, Hasil Adkins, Dave Edmunds and Arthur Lee.
The club continued its tradition of booking new bands into the 2000s, including the Dirtbombs, Lemuria, Crooked Fingers, the Wrens and My Chemical Romance. 2010s performances at the venue included Cuban reggaeton band Máxima Alerta.
Several bands recorded live albums at the venue, including Guided by Voices (For All Good Kids), the Reigning Sound (Live at Maxwells), the Meat Puppets (Live at Maxwell's 2.08.01), My Chemical Romance (The Black Parade Is Dead!),, the Wedding Present (Live Tape No. 7 - Hoboken, 10th June 1990), Imperial Teen (Live at Maxwell's) and the Replacements (For Sale: Live at Maxwell's 1986).
As a music venue, Maxwell's was not very large. In fact, it only held about 200 people and was considered dark. The live music at a club in a residential area led some neighbors to complain about the noise as well as dancing in the streets during the early days of the club, before the expansion into the back room for appearances by musical acts. A Hoboken restaurant survey website gave Maxwell's a rating of 3.33 out of a possible 5 in October 2008.
- "Maxwell's in Hoboken — Let there be (minimal) light — Photo 1/6 — Metromix Jersey Shore". Retrieved 2009-06-28.
- "Maxwell's Hoboken rock club sold, will reopen with same name". NJ.com. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
- Sisario, Ben (August 30, 1998). "ON THE MAP; In Hoboken, Out Goes the Microbrewery, Back Comes the Music". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- Fraser, Caroline (November 20, 1989). "Anniversary: Good to the Last Drop". The New Yorker: 44. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
- Schoemer, Karen (May 3, 1991). "Pop/Jazz; A Crisis for a Hoboken Institution". The New York Times: C 15. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
Maxwell's has nevertheless become one of the most famous spots on the small-club circuit in this country since it opened in 1978
- Scott, Bruce (September 14, 2008). "Silver Jews: Show Review (Maxwell's, Hoboken)". Retrieved 2009-06-28.
- See the description of Melissa Holbrook Pierson's book The Place You Love is Gone: Progress Hits Home as reviewed in: Sharpe, Katherine (March 7, 2006). "Books". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- The special appeared on channel 5 according to Pareles, Jon (October 18, 1985). "Movie Review - - 'Hoboken Sound,' A Rock Documentary". The New York Times.
- Pristin, Terry (September 10, 1996). "A Nightclub's Return". The New York Times.
- Todd Abramson is identified as an "owner of Maxwell's in Hoboken" in an article about the breakup of a Hoboken based band in: Woliver, Robbie (April 1, 2001). "A Hoboken Musical Force Is Breaking Up". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- "Glory Days Video". VH1 Classic. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
- Pareles, Jon (July 3, 2008). "A Low-Profile Band Reaches Its Next Stage After a Break of 17 Years". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
“Endless possibility/Time is right for us to be,” Glenn Mercer sang when the Feelies performed at Maxwell’s on Tuesday night, at this New Jersey band’s first public show in 17 years. “Time — right — now — tonight.”
- "The Feelies at Maxwell's (Hoboken) on 3 Jul 2009 – Last.fm". Retrieved 2009-07-03.
- "07/13/89". Live Nirvana!. Archived from the original on 2013-01-28. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- "The New Yorker Digital Reader". The New Yorker. January 21, 1991. Retrieved June 4, 2013. (subscription required)
- Doughten, Kevin (October 9, 2005). "MUSIC; Shed a Tear for CBGB, But Maxwell's Is Still Rocking Hard". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
But when the fanfare fades and the lights finally dim at CBGB, at 315 Bowery on the Lower East Side, the region's lovers of underground music will still have Maxwell's, a club so New York that it's in New Jersey.
- Ratliff, Ben (December 23, 2008). "Music Review: Hanukkah With Love and Noise". The New York Times. p. C5. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- Thompson, Elizabeth (December 13, 2008). "Calendar: HANUKKAH IN HOBOKEN Light the Menorah with Yo La Tengo". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- "The Best Clubs in America". Rolling Stones. March 28, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
- McCall, Tris (June 3, 2013). "Maxwell's, a Hoboken rock institution, to close at the end of July". NJ.com.
- "Maxwell’s Live Music Venue In Hoboken, N.J. Closing After 35 Years". CBS News.
- McCall, Tris (September 3, 2013). "Maxwell's to temporarily reopen as a restaurant only". Inside Jerseyh. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-07. Retrieved 2013-12-14.
- Testa, Jim (October 21, 2014). "Maxwell's Tavern bringing live music back to the venue, working with Hoboken scene insiders". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
- Testa, Jim (February 4, 2018). "Looking back at Maxwell's roller coaster as club announces closing, two final send-off shows". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
- Testa 2014.
- Testa 2018.
- Tessta 2018.
- Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: The Mekons:The Tindersticks: CG: The Individuals". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
- "The Feelies: Biography". allmusic. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
- "Pylon: Biography". Perfect Sound Forever. Archived from the original on June 6, 2017. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- Shows on January 30, 1982; October 28, 1982; and November 27, 1982."R.E.M. - Maxwell's, Hoboken, New Jersey". Retrieved 2009-06-28.,"R.E.M. at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ Setlist on October 28, 1982". Retrieved 2009-07-01., and "R.E.M. at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ Setlist on November 27, 1982". Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- Firehose appeared on April 19, 1991. See: "Internet Archive: Free Download: fIREHOSE Live at Maxwell's ? on 1991-04-19". Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- Fugazi appeared on October 8, 1989. See: "Internet Archive: Free Download: Fugazi Live at Maxwell's on 1989-10-08". Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- Nirvana appeared at Maxwell's on at least July 13, 1989 and April 28, 1990. See:"Nirvana at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ Setlist on July 13, 1989". Retrieved 2009-07-01. and "Nirvana at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ Setlist on April 28, 1990". Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- The Smashing Pumpkins appeared on February 8, 1991. See: "Internet Archive: Free Download: Smashing Pumpkins Live at Maxwell's Pub on 1991-02-08". Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- Blue Öyster Cult appeared November 16, 2008. See: "BOC Fans Only Show at Maxwell's — Hobokeni.com - Hoboken, NJ". Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- The Minutemen (band) appeared on October 27, 1985. See: "Internet Archive: Free Download: Minutemen Live at Maxwell's on 1985-10-27". Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- Robyn Hitchcock appeared on at least October 27, 1990; December 30, 1990; January 9, 2004; November 14, 2004; March 26, 2005; November 18, 2006; and November 19, 2006. See: "Internet Archive: Free Download: Robyn Hitchcock Live at Maxwell's on 1990-10-27". Retrieved 2009-07-01.; "Internet Archive: Free Download: Robyn Hitchcock Live at Maxwell's on 1990-12-30". Retrieved 2009-07-01.; "Internet Archive: Free Download: Robyn Hitchcock Live at Maxwell's on 2004-01-09". Retrieved 2009-07-01.; "Internet Archive: Free Download: Robyn Hitchcock Live at Maxwell's on 2004-11-14". Retrieved 2009-07-01.; "Internet Archive: Free Download: Robyn Hitchcock Live at Maxwell's on 2005-03-26". Retrieved 2009-07-01.; "Internet Archive: Free Download: Robyn Hitchcock Live at Maxwell's on 2006-11-18". Retrieved 2009-07-01.; and "Internet Archive: Free Download: Robyn Hitchcock Live at Maxwell's on 2006-11-19". Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- The Strokes appeared on May 28, 2001. See "The Strokes". Retrieved 2009-07-02. and "The Strokes at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ Setlist on May 28, 2001". Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- "Tour: North America/ Australia 2008". The Dirtbombs. Archived from the original on July 31, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
- Lemuria (band) appeared June 7, 2009 and on May 9, 2006 with Kind of Like Spitting. See "hearts and crap: past shows: 2009". Archived from the original on 2009-07-19. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
- Crooked Fingers appeared on October 19, 2004. See "Crooked Fingers Live at Maxwell's 10/19/2004 mp3s". Retrieved 2009-07-03.
- "The Wrens celebrate 20th anniversary at Maxwell's in Hoboken". Retrieved 2016-09-18.
- Sullivan, Al (October 16, 2016). "Trash truck worker competes for a Latin Grammy: Local Cuban exile fulfills dream as musician". The Hudson Reporter.
- "Everyone's invited to a special concert by Maxima Alerta". The Hudson Reporter. August 5, 2017.
- "Reigning Sound". Grunnen Rocks. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Live at Maxwell's 2.08.01". allmusic. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
- "My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade is Dead!". Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- "Maxwell’s Bar & Restaurant - Hoboken 411 » Hoboken's Leading Web Community". October 19, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- Pierson, Melissa Holbrook The Place You Love is Gone: Progress Hits Home (2006, ISBN 0-393-05739-9)
- Barone, Richard FRONTMAN: Surviving the Rock Star Myth (2007, Backbeat/Hal Leonard Books, ISBN 0-87930-912-1, ISBN 978-0-87930-912-1)
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