Mr. Max’s Message 3/10

– MARCH 2010


I’m still working the recordings
for Why Do We Go To War?, a collection of war-related songs I’ve
been writing and performing for the past three years. There are just
a couple more songs left to record with Jason Duguay at
Project Sound.

This week I worked on a collage-type
piece (“Why War? Reprise”) which, besides including parts of other
songs from the collection, also pays homage to Brian Eno and Bobby Kennedy.
I used a guitar solo idea from Eno’s “The True Wheel” [Taking
Tiger Mountain (by Strategy)
], in which multiple guitars play the
same insistent repeating riff that slowly transitions. Eno’s guitarist
for that song was Phil Manzanera. Bobby Kennedy enters the picture at
the end of the collage-type song, wherein I adapt words of his from
a speech made on April 5, 1968, after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

This week I also reworked “Children of America” (the original is
on Sgt. Maxwell’s Peace Chorus Military EP,
2008). Where the 2008 recording had fists pumping to a Ramones-type
three-chord rocker, the new version is a bit more soulful. This is the
song a close friend reprimanded me about, because she thought I was
verbally attacking our soldiers. It’s an anti-recruiter song. Hey,
if recruiters try to drag kids into the military, I can at least tell
American children to reject all branches of our armed services. The
song was inspired by an Albert Einstein quote—“Nothing will end
war unless people themselves refuse to go to war.” I figured the only
way this would ever happen in the future would be to plant the idea
in kids’ heads now. The song is surrounded by a lilting instrumental
entitled “Miss Son.” So the full title is “(Miss…) Children
of America (…Son).”

Then there is a little (less than one minute)
radio play called “Alien Observation” that also plays off the Einstein
quote but is delivered from the point of view of aliens. It kinda sounds
like a Saturday Night Live skit.

(Family Jeweles)
created artwork specifically for Why Do We Go To War that hung
in Passim throughout January. Last month I showed you the cover artwork.
This month it’s another piece by Asa that will most likely be used
on the inside or back of the CD package.


One thing that is cool about living
out in the sticks of Georgetown, MA, is the birds that visit my backyard
regularly. I’ve put up many birdfeeders and birdhouses and recently
added a heated birdbath. We have a flock of goldfinches that visit every
day. Other regular visitors include mourning doves, nuthatches, juncos,
and three different types of woodpeckers (hairy, downy, and my favorite
). Where there is
bird food, there are squirrels. And though I once published seven issues
of a squirrel fanzine, I do what I can to keep them at bay. They’ve
actually been pretty good this winter. Last year they ate or tore apart
almost every birdfeeder we put up. I think they must be picking up the
vibe of peace that emanates from within the house.


Ahh! I’ve found a new sport to obsess
over and burn off a few calories while I’m doing it. A week ago I
didn’t know the rules of racquetball. I’ve been playing every day
and developing the skills to keep up with this fast-paced game. This
all happens at the Haverhill YMCA—a great place with a nice mix of
people. It’s just a couple of blocks away from where I record. Who
knew that Haverhill, MA, would be a town with so much to offer?
If you read the live reviews in this online-only issue, you’ll also
see that I meet musicians at the Y and go see them perform.

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


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