Maxwell’s, R.I.P.

I have been critical of nostalgia, but there is a difference between being stuck in the past and honoring it.

I just learned that legendary rock club Maxwell’s closed last week.  It was once home to the “Hoboken Sound.”

The Feelies pioneered the sound with their quickly strummed guitar sound that owed a whole lot to the Velvet Underground’s third album:

The dB’s grew out of the Winston-Salem group The Sneakers, but they found a home in the Hoboken scene that revolved around Maxwell’s, and the long gone affiliated record store, Pier Platters.  What the VU was to the Feelies, the Beatles and, especially, early Big Star were to the dB’s (group co-founder Chris Stamey even played with Alex Chilton shortly after he left Big Star):

The Bongos added muted T-Rex glam hooks (even covering “Mambo Sun”) to their strumming guitar:

And The Individuals followed Jonathan Richman’s model of personal stories set to post-VU rock:

The reformed Bongos and Individuals played the last shows at Maxwell’s.

Yo La Tengo carry on the Hoboken tradition:.

Many local rockers joined Yo La Tengo for their annual series of Hanukkah shows at Maxwell’s.

I saw all of these bands, but when they played DC.  I did, however, take one road trip to Maxwell’s (I also visited Pier Platters a number of times).  Bert Queiroz (photographer and onetime member of numerous harDCore punk bands) and I drove up to see Brit band Gallon Drunk on their first US tour.  Bert now lives just across the river from Hoboken (or maybe it’s two rivers, since he lives in Brooklyn).

While putting together this post, I learned that a 1985 TV news documentary of The Hoboken Sound has been dug up.  I’m looking forward to watching it: