Mr. Max’s Message 5/09



Last month my copy editor, Sandi, said
she thought this column could have been in Yankee magazine. She’s
right—and I think I’ll stick with this approach for now. Of course,
I’ll be adding updates about the bands I play with too, but I’ll
start off with the homesteader news.

Remember that I made a nice-looking
woodpecker house? It was set high in a tree in the yard. I was hoping
the interesting woodpeckers that I had spotted would move into this
new rent-free home, but instead a pair of nuthatches stole the place
right from under the woodpeckers’ beaks. Like they say, the early
bird catches the abode… or something like that.

As of April 22 (my today) I have broccoli,
cabbage, chives and collard greens growing in one garden bed. Then I’ve
got an assortment of strawberry plants in the circular strawberry patch.
The rest of the six-dozen seedlings are patiently waiting under grow
bulbs to go outside. I’ve also planted seed outside for a variety
of lettuces, peas, beets, oregano, parsley, arugula, cilantro, and probably
some other herbs I can’t think of now. From the outdoor seeding, nothing
has come up yet. It’s still been pretty cold, but as soon as we get
our first warm spell, I’ll see those little seedlings peeking out
and they’ll probably catch up in size to a lot of the indoor seedlings
that were started as early as February.


Now you probably think it would
be hard to transition between gardening and music, but on Friday, April
10, and Saturday, April 11, Mr. TCD conducted its second recording session
for our 40th anniversary CD release party—and the song
we worked on most intensely was “Chop Chop Chop”—a tune about
chopping vegetables. Move over Beach Boys’ “Vegetables,” TCD has
invaded vegetable land with a new melody that has the likes of Andrew Sisters’ harmonies.
The song originated from when I had to chop up vegetables for the salad
station while working as a waiter at the Black Dog on Martha’s Vineyard
(between 1975-1980). We’ll be performing “Chop Chop Chop” on Saturday,
July 18, at Che’s Lounge (38 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, MA). And
another project has naturally popped up because of “Chop Chop Chop.”
Anne Brown and I will be putting together a food compilation—all songs
about food. If you’d like to submit your song, send an MP3 to me via Only the tastiest tunes will make it to the
dinner table.



On April 18th Urban Caravan
played the Menino Art Center (in Hyde Park, MA) and the show was recorded
live. Rumors of an Urban Caravan live CD are circulating.
We have a lot of shows in May. Here’s
the schedule—
Saturday, May 2, Black Moon Lounge
(37 State Street, Rt. 202, Belchertown, MA)
Saturday, May 9, Blackburn Performing
(1 Washington Street, Gloucester, MA)
Saturday, May 16, the Magic Room
(155 N. Beacon, Brighton MA)—the Noise presents Sound Museum
25th Anniversary “Let’s Roast Des” Party with Casey
Desmond and host Dave Tree
Thursday, May 28, Gulu-Gulu
(247 Essex St, Salem MA)



by T Max

As a kid, I was kinda slow. My mom
admitted that she thought I was mildly retarded up until the fourth
grade. That's when my teacher Mrs. Bellons took a liking to me and helped
me wake up. She made me realize that I was good at art (well, I thought
I was). I remember my mom complaining to my fifth-grade art teacher
for giving me a C. In the sixth grade I had a crazy teacher—Mr. Hanson.
He'd give us seven or eight tests every Friday. If you passed them all
you sat in a group called the jets; failed one and you were in
the sport cars; failed two—the trucks; failed three
or more—the airfield. If you made it into the jets four
weeks in a row—you reached the super jets and won a pizza to
share with your friends right after school. Luckily at that time I was
the smartest of the dumb kids and I was the only one in the class to
win a pizza. I did it twice in a row and missed winning the third pizza
by one week—when I landed in the trucks (the only time ever).
Mr. Hanson had strange ideas on how to discipline his students. If he
was mad at you he would ask you to come up to the front of the room
and offer you his hand to shake. He'd grip your hand and squeeze it
until he'd see tears. He did it to me once and I wouldn't let him see
my pain—he practically broke my hand. One time I forgot to bring my
eyeglasses to school—not being able to see the chalkboard wasn't punishment
enough—he had me put on a girls’ dress and wear it for the rest
of the day. I really didn't mind, even though the other kids thought
it was funny. When my dad found out about this, he went through the
roof—I thought he was overreacting, but it was nice to know he cared
about me.


Somewhere around that same time my
brothers and I would play sports in our backyard, which was connected
to our neighbors’ (the Dee’s) yard, making it a nice-sized open
space. We'd play baseball, track, and football. One day my older
brother, Jimmy, and I challenged all the younger kids to a football
game. Since the two of us were bigger than the eight of them, our big
play was "the bomb." I'd hike the ball to Jimmy and take off
running down the field. Jimmy would toss it as far as he could. I remember
running out as fast as I could. I passed all the small kids with my
younger brother, Johnny, being the only one to push my speed. I saw
the football flying. I ran faster. I remember it in slow motion—I
dove into the air, focused on the ball. Then WHAM! My head crashed right
into the cross pole on a chain-link fence. I bounced off that poll the
way a baseball cracks off a bat. I stood up shaking, holding my head.
I began to cry—not so much for the pain, but for fear that I had just
totally fucked up my head. My mom didn't even take me to the hospital,
though I'm sure I received some kind of concussion. I looked like Frankenstein
for a week—then undramatically returned to my normal, slightly under-average
American-boy status.

T Max/the Noise
74 Jamaica Street,
Jamaica Plain MA 02130

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