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Maxwell's to Close at the End of July

Beloved Hoboken, New Jersey, club chose not to renew its lease

June 4, 2013 8:50 AM ET
Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Tracy Allison

Maxwell's, the beloved rock club, restaurant and longtime anchor of the rock scene in Hoboken, New Jersey, will close when its lease is up at the end of July. Co-owner Todd Abramson told The Star-Ledger of Newark that changes over the years in Hoboken have made it more challenging to run the venue.

"We were offered a renewal with rates that weren't necessarily onerous," said Abramson, who started booking the club in 1986, and became a co-owner along with Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth and Dave Post of Swingadelic. "But after much thought, given the changing nature of Hoboken and the difficulties of trying to run a business in this town, we decided it was time."

Best Rock Clubs in America: Maxwell's

Maxwell's, Number Three on Rolling Stone's list of the best rock clubs in America, opened in August 1978, when rents in Hoboken were comparatively affordable, finding a place to park was more than just a theoretical possibility and patrons were still drawn by the promise of live music. 

"The culture in Hoboken is driven by TV now," said Abramson, who also books the Bell House in Brooklyn. "A lot of the bars downtown are fighting with each other for who has the most giant TVs. That's what Hoboken nightlife has become."

During 35 years, interrupted now and then by gambits including briefly transforming into a brew pub, Maxwell's hosted countless bands. The club helped to incubate key players in the Eighties indie-rock underground, including the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Sonic Youth and the Minutemen; and played a role in shepherding the alt-rock explosion of the Nineties by providing gigs for Nirvana, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and many more. Bruce Springsteen filmed part of the video for "Glory Days" there, and Yo La Tengo began playing an annual series of Hanukkah shows at Maxwell's in 2001.

The club plans to finish on July 31st the same way it began, with a performance by the band "a," featuring members of Bongos and Glenn Morrow, who later started the Hoboken-based label Bar/None Records.

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