Mr. Max’s Message 2/10




Why Do We Go to War?, the collection
of songs I’ve been writing and performing for the past three years,
is shaping up into a fully recorded project. There are just a few more
songs to record with Jason Duguay at
. This collection
is theatrical, stemming from my work with Boston Rock Opera. More than once
my dad advised me to combine rock and opera—though he wanted me to
sing like Mario Lanza. I’m not quite crooning like Mario, but I love
singing—it is the foundation of these songs. Some of the tunes tie
together stories about relationships during wartime. “Oceans
of Love” and “Five Mo’ Daze” connect the lonely woman waiting for
her man to return home to his story of serving out his one-year tour
of duty only to have another year unexpectedly slapped on. “Public Servant” and
“You Don’t Know Me” relate to each other. The former is everyday
people pleading with elected officials to put the servant back in public
servant. The latter is about the man who pulls the strings, making decisions
from which he profits and for which others literally die. “Come on
Home” is a song I performed regularly with Urban Caravan. When I first
sang it, it got so much response from the other performers, who encouraged
me to record it and asked to participate in the process. Getting the
magic in the song to translate to the digital grooves took more work
than I expected. “Forgive Me” is told in three parts: the lone soldier
realizing the wrong he did after killing a young man; the politician
seeing the soldier as having done his duty under the safeguard of God
and country; and the group of soldiers coming to the realization that
the wrongs done in war affect everyone on earth. The title track, the
equivalent of the elephant sitting in the room, offers the most basic
moral question about war—how can we ignore “thou shalt not kill?”
Looking forward, I intend to assemble a choir for the gospel tune, “We
Don’t Want Your War.” If you’d like to add your voice to the recording,
contact me. tmax(at)thenoise-boston(dot)com

(the Family Jewels)
created some artwork specifically for Why Do We Go to War that
hung in Passim throughout January. I’m thinking of possibly wrapping
the CD in an 11” x 14” sheet to have a large surface area for art,
lyrics, notes, and thanks. Shown on the top of this page is the piece
Asa specifically did for my project.

Here’s another excerpt from a book I’ll publish one day…


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 fourth grade 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
, failed three or more—the airfield. If you made
it into the jets four weeks in a row—you reached the super
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 got 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 eye glasses 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.

Around that same time my brothers and
I would play sports in our backyard, which was connected to our neighbor's
(the Dee's) yard, making it a nice-sized open space. We'd play baseball,
track & field, 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 just like Patriot’s Randy Moss. I passed all the
small kids but my younger brother, Johnny, would challenge 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 pole 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 re-shaped 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 slowly returned to my normal "slightly under-average American boy" status.

T Max/the Noise
24 Beverly Drive
Georgetown, MA 01833


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