Mr. Max’s Message 6/09




The foundation has been poured. This
foundation will hold the extension on my girlfriend’s house in Georgetown.
That’s where I’ve been living lately. The vegetable gardens are
moving along—the big trees surrounding the property don’t let in
as much sunlight as the budding vegetables would like. The crop will
grow slowly, but everything is looking hearty at this point. We’ve
already had one salad dinner from the garden that we added store-bought
tomatoes and carrots to. Besides seeing to the garden, I enjoy building
rock retaining walls. I’ve built seven of them so far.


My favorite softball league has begun.
In the first game I batted .000, but the second week I hit my first
triple in this league since I joined four years ago. Funny, I used to
hit extra base hits all the time in the late, great Noise Board softball
“league.” Saturday Morning Softball is tougher—the outfielders
can actually catch long flies and hit the cutoff man. I love the league.
I sang with the commissioner at Al Janik’s annual polka party. This
year it moved to the American Polish VFW hall in Cambridge—a match
made in Warsaw!


Preparations are ongoing for
the 40th anniversary/ CD release party for Mr. Timothy Charles
Duane. I built a prop—Mr. TCD is big on entertainment. The prop will
be used during the “secret song”—only a few chosen audience members
will hear the secret song. but the rest of the audience will get to
experience the prop. I guess since I’m not telling you what the prop
is—it must be a secret. Hint: It will fall through a hole in the ceiling
and appear to be singing the secret song. The 40th anniversary/CD
release party is on Saturday, July 18, at Che’s Lounge (38 Main Street,
Vineyard Haven, MA).


Urban Caravan has one public performance
on its plate for June. We’re doing a Paul McCartney tribute on the
Beatle’s birthday, Thursday, June 18, at Clear Conscience Café (581
Mass. Ave, Central Square, Cambridge, MA). This gig was laid on us because
the Lennon night we did at the same café was packed.



by T Max

I’m invited to the Rounder 30th anniversary
luncheon (this was in 2000) at the Regal Bostonian Hotel. I know maybe
two people at Rounder and they both hold peon positions. I exit the
elevator on the 4th floor and I'm immediately greeted by three or four
people and asked to sign in—they have no idea who I am. I give them
my name—it's not on their list, but they write it in, anyway. Free
drinks are being served to this formal-looking group. I pass on the
drink and walk into the small but very high-class dining room. There
are four large tables with 10-12 settings at each table. I realize that
I'm going to have to sit at one of these tables and converse with a
bunch of total strangers. Okay—maybe I should get a drink. I go back
to the free bar just when everyone starts to sit. I walk back into the
dining room with my ginger ale (I remembered my recent hangover) and
most of the seats are taken. A French waiter in a tux scoots me over
to this table with no one I've ever seen in a rock club. Luckily the
entertainment for the luncheon is also sitting at this table—Merrie
Amsterburg and her husband Pete. My brain is working—ahh—she was
just on the cover of the Noise. And I thought I had absolutely
nothing to do with Rounder. So I introduce myself to the gentleman to
my right. I didn't catch his name but his title was something like head
VP of A&R. The younger guy next to him shakes my hand and says he's
the president. I turn to the guy on my left. He gives me a friendly
smile and says he's the vice president of A&R. How did I end up
at this table? Steve Morse (the Boston Globe) walks in a little
late and I feel like I should offer him my seat.

I better look at my menu—the French
waiter is coming around asking our choice. I hear someone say salmon—so
I say salmon. It was easier to do it that way—the menu looked so much
like a wedding invitation, I couldn't focus enough on the swirly script
fonts to actually figure out my choices. Next thing I know some
guy who looks like John Denver stands up at the podium two feet from
the back of my head, starts thanking everyone for coming, and reads
a best-wishes statement from Mayor Thomas Menino. Then he introduces
two important guys who have something to say. They're the two guys to
my right. They start talking about two new businesses that Rounder will
start making donations to. One is some arts group for children, the
other is Berklee's College of Music. A rep from the art group comes
up and promises to spend the money wisely (I couldn't help but wonder
if some of it would end up in his pocket). An oversized Rounder check
appears with $$$$$$$$$ placed in the payment amount area instead of
a big number. Everyone smiles as cameras flash—it looks like
a Publisher's Clearing House photo. The Berklee rep gets up with his
big check and says the scholarship set up in Rounder's name will be
added to the long list of other scholarship donors—did that "thank
you" smell of sarcasm?

Plates of "seasonal mixed greens
with balsamic vinaigrette" are properly placed in front of everyone
and I have to figure out which fork to use—it must be the small one!
I start figuring out that the woman two seats to my left is mighty important—like
the Queen of Rounder. I decide to ask the fellow to my right (who's
already told me he's produced many Rounder records) what his primary
instrument is. "Chromatic harmonica," he tells me, and the
Queen chimes in that an instrument that can fit into your pocket doesn't
count as a real instrument. Why did I get the feeling she was telling
me that this guy had a small dick?The head of A&R to my right excuses
himself—his flight to San Diego is warming up its engines. Ahh—Merrie
and Peter start playing. Their light melodies are perfect dining tunes.
Plates of salmon appear and Peter loses his musical focus—another
starving artist. As more of the main dishes appear I realize that many
of the royalty have left the table and are up refreshing their drinks—so
I'm trying to tell Frenchie who gets the salmon and who gets the chicken.
The Queen returns and switches her seat to the other side of the table—equal
flirtation time for all the heads. The small-dick VP returns and I can
sense his pain that the Queen has moved from his side. I feel worse
when I find out that my instructions to Frenchie weren't so accurate.
SmallDick eats chicken even though he ordered salmon. It's like he's
punishing himself because of the Queen's rejection. Ahh, dessert is
being served—and it's tiramisu—my favorite! No, wait, what is it?
It looks expensive… wow, it's some kind of creamy cinnamony cappuccino
pudding. And the coffee served with it is strong. I scoop up the extra
tiramisu-dessert thing left for the San Diego-bound VP. By the time
I'm heading down in the mirrored elevator I feel like I'm just getting
off on some kind of intense drug (sugar and caffeine). Thank you to
Rounder for the chi-chi feast and legal drugs—and congratulations
for running an independent record label for 30 years. I guess I've got
11 years [make that only two years now in the present year, 2009…
ed. That’s me.] to go before I get my letter from Tommy Menino.

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


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