ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Longtime Hoboken Music Venue Maxwell’s Closes

By Madeline Orton
NJ Today

Nirvana and R.E.M. played here. Bruce Springsteen shot his “Glory Days” video here. The Hoboken music scene sprang to life here. But tonight ends Maxwell’s 35-year legacy — one that began with a factory workers’ tavern.
 
“Whenever we got to Maxwell’s, it was never open, so we finally said to the owner, ‘Why aren’t you ever open?’ So they would only be open an hour in between each break of the Maxwell House plant,” said original owner Steve Fallon.

In 1978, Fallon and his family bought Maxwell’s and transformed it into a music venue.
 
“We were pretty lucky that the first day we opened, we were packed. And it was just packed from then on,” Fallon said.
 
“You went there and you felt like you belonged in a way that you just didn’t feel like you belonged in your hometown,” said Star-Ledger music critic Tris McCall.

Bands like Blue Oyster Cult, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Smashing Pumpkins all played Maxwell’s. Fifteen years ago, Todd Abramson and two friends bought the business. Abramson recently decided not to renew their lease.

“The timing was right. I was just feeling that it was too difficult for me to continue operating in town,” Abramson said.
 
“You don’t have that same local base to draw from of bands in Hoboken, people in bands in Hoboken, the type of people who go to check out an independent band,” McCall said. “And the other main reason — and this is a huge thing– is that parking in that part of town, because of the condominium development, is impossible. You just can’t park in Hoboken any more.”

Tonight the music comes full circle, as a band called “a,” the first group to play on Maxwell’s stage, becomes one of the last, and Maxwell’s closes its doors for the final time.