A final farewell to Maxwell's

The last day for a venerated rock club in Hoboken, N.J.

July 31, 2013

The day after the sad news that it was closing at the end of July became public, I paid tribute to the venerated Hoboken, N.J. rock club Maxwell's in this space, and I thought it would be my last word on the place where I learned what it means to be a voracious music lover.

Then my old friend Margaret Schmidt, the editor of The Jersey Journal, the newspaper where I began my career as a beat reporter covering the Hudson River town known as "the Mile Square City" (and, I always love to point out, the place where Jack Kerouac began his odyssey in On the Road), asked me to take one more stab from the perspective of a musician who played there, as well as a fan who virtually lived at the place from age 18 to 23.

That piece is up now on NJ.com on this, the final day of the club's existence, concluding a month of incredible farewell concerts from a few of the many bands that called the place home.

"Margaret saved the best for last," my lifelong friend Jim Testa emailed this morning. (I met Jim in 1982, in the back room of Maxwell's of course, and he was the first person to publish my music writing, in Jersey Beat fanzine, which is running strong to this day). But Uncle Jim was being unduly kind: Dozens of writers have penned eloquent tributes to Maxwell's in the last few weeks (though Testa himself is waiting for the very end, after "a," the first band to play the club before splintering into the Bongos and the Individuals, performs as the last band tonight).

Here are links to a few of those pieces.

A Farewell to Maxwell's, in Reminiscences, by Maxwell's booker Todd Abramson in The New York Times

Maxwell's, the Beloved New Jersey Venue, Closes, by Joel Rose for NPR

Maxwell's Prepares to Say Goodbye with Final Shows Today, by Tris McCall for The New Jersey Star-Ledger (See this piece, too, and the very powerful video here)

R.I.P. Maxwell's, by Ben Greenman for The New Yorker

Memories of playing Maxwell's: 'The bar in "Cheers" for music geeks,' by Jim DeRogatis for The Jersey Journal

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