MR. MAX’S MESSAGE – November 2008
This is a new thing I’m doing with this section. Besides the regular promotion of the show I play, I’m going to share with you a short story from what I call The Book. The Book has about 30 stories of real experiences from my life. Some of the short stories would be pretty embarrassing for the people that they’re about. So I’ll have to stick with the publishable ones. The story I’m going to share with you this month is about a friend of mine called Cisco.
It took a long time to get close to Cisco. He was my neighbor’s black cat who didn’t trust people. I’d talk to him frequently but he always kept his distance. I got the feeling that at one point in his life he wasn’t treated well by humans.
One night I got home late from the clubs and Cisco was out patrolling the street. That night I sat down next to him on my porch and we made a pact. I spoke out loud to him as if he was another human. I told him I would come to his aid if he were ever being attacked by a dog in exchange for him protecting me from human predators late at night on the street.
It was the beginning of a great relationship. Sometimes when my neighbors, Anne and Esther, would go on vacation they’d leave Cisco in my care. We grew very close and he would frequently visit me even when he wasn’t in my care. He would sit on my porch next to my downstairs door and let out a loud siren-like meow if he wanted to be let into the house. He’d even sleep over semi-regularly. We developed a little tradition at bedtime—I’d be in bed and lift the covers up for him. He’d go down through the long tunnel I created and he’d turn around near my knees and rub all the way up the side of my body and nestle into a comfortable spot besides my chest. He’d stay there for the whole night.
One time after Anne and Esther’s weeklong vacation Cisco refused to return to their house. We all talked it over and agreed on sort of a joint-ownership, letting Cisco stay at wherever he chose. I went away for a couple of days and when I returned I didn’t see Cisco at all. I felt glad that he was spending more time with his real owners. Then Anne called me and said Cisco was very ill. I went over to see him. He was under a chair up on the third floor—kinda hiding from everyone. We got him out and took him to the vet. After an examination the vet figured out that Cisco must have ingested some anti-freeze on the street—it was crystallizing his kidneys. The vet said it was a quick degenerative situation. Cisco died that day.
SGT MAXWELL’S PEACE CHORUS
The gigs Sgt. Maxwell’s Peace Chorus played in October varied in a lot of ways. On October 4 we held our CD release party at the Cantab. Our friends 27 and Angeline opened the evening in a great way. Then when the Peace Chorus went on, we invited a number of special guests to each come up and play a couple of songs within our set. The guests included Frank Rowe, Randy Black, John Powhida, Kelly Knapp and Simon Ritt, and David Mirabella.
The following week it was a thrill to play on the main stage at the Anti-War Rally and March on Boston Common. After the rally I played an old marching drum for the entire march through the streets of Boston where everyone chanted about their disgust with our current situation in Iraq.
So you’d think those two gigs would be enough to fill this egomaniac’s narcissistic desirers, but no—our most enjoyable gig of the month came on October 18 at the Peace Abbey in Sherborn. This is a very special place and our music was in perfect harmony with the surroundings. We invited one special guest, Phillip Keast, to play 20 minutes of electric guitar between our two sets. He also joined in on our last song, “We Don’t Want Your War.”
The Peace Chorus has a new song on Neil Young’s chart called “5 Mo Daze.” It’s our most intense song. On the recording Chris Mascara (of the band Mascara) does a great job of wailing the vocal lines. Currently the song is at #290 (of almost 3,000 songs)—we’re hoping the song will make it to #1 as did our last song, “Children of America.” You can help make that happen by going to the chart and clicking on the song.
In November we have three more shows—all cool ones. The first is Monday, November 3, at T.T. the Bear’s. The night is called Barack the Vote! and will benefit the Obama campaign. Performers (in order, starting at 8pm) include What Time Is It Mr. Fox?, Pop County, the Bright Hours, Wide Iris, Travis Pullman & Marianne Wells, James Merenda & Vanessa Morris, and Rick Berlin. Then on November 14 we’re part of the Incus CD release party at Spontaneous Celebrations (doors at 7:30). That bill includes Incus, the Well, Kalimba Sound System, Vadalna Tribal Dance Company, Don’t Normally, and Katie Q & the Acronymph. Then the next night, Saturday November 15 we play one of my favorite places in the area—80 Border Street Cultural Exchange Center, in East Boston. The room has a warm sound that inspires great performances. And the people who run the center make us feel like we are part of their family. Please feel free to join us at these shows.
URBAN CARAVAN PLAYED LENNON
Our John Lennon show at the Clear Conscience Café went over great. The audience sang as loud as we did. We’ll have to do some of those songs again. Not much on the Caravan’s plate for November—but we have a big UCUC (Urban Caravan Unplugged Christmas) planned for December 20 at the Cantab. Wow, in between now and then, I might get some down time. But if something does pop up—you can find out about it at
T Max (publisher/editor)
74 Jamaica St.
Jamaica Plain MA 02130