I'm the one that's got to die when it's time for me to die,
so let me live my life… the way I want to. --- Jimi Hendrix
It’s safe to say that at my age (closer to 70 than 60) saying goodbye to family and friends takes up a much greater part of what time is left. That old saying, “With time comes wisdom” joins all those other tidbits from youth like “these are the best years of your life” and “they grow up so fast” that prove over and over that at least my parents were absolutely telling the truth. Max and I had drifted apart in recent years, mainly due to my entire life exploding in 2018 and the pandemic kind of sealed it, arriving just as I was starting to recover. We always think we’ll have enough time but rarely do, and now that has run out with utmost finality. Classmates through Grammar and High School, music and the counterculture brought us together as friends and he served as Best Man when Cathy and I married in 1980. I’m pretty sure I DJ’d his wedding, as I served as resident DJ for a great deal of the Coakley (and cousins the Holton’s) weddings. They were always a hoot with an ages old velvet painting of Elvis Presley being presented to the newest Bride and Groom from the last couple to get hitched. A touching ceremony and one of the best family traditions I have ever encountered.
Max was usually the smartest guy in the room, he excelled at school. I took a different path but he went to College at Rutgers while I played in bands and ran a record store. I was the oldest child but Max had 4 older brothers and through their influence I was exposed to music I would have either never heard, or discovered much later in life. It was an enormous influence. While at college, Max got into a really bad car accident that he was lucky to survive. The constant pain had him seek help from a Chiropractor, the same one my Pop brought me to see when my back locked up playing Basketball, Dr. Alexander. This changed his life, as he decided that’s what he wanted to do, study to be a Chiropractor. Sure enough he moved to Illinois for school and became a Chiropractor. His time in the Chicago area also had a huge influence on me, as he discovered this amazing radio station that was just getting going called WXRT and he would send me tapes of the programming that blew my mind. We would wind up in separate states quite a bit from then on but regularly communicated through mailed cassettes.
Max, now Dr. Max came back to Jersey, married the sister of my Amazing Bolt brother Tommy and set about opening a small office in the little town we grew up in, South Amboy. Max and the Mrs. had two boys and all was well, or so it seemed. Without getting into specifics, let’s just say the marriage didn’t last, and something in Max broke. He changed. Like a switch had been flicked off. The light never fully returned to his eyes, although it broke through in shorter and shorter bursts. It seemed like he just didn’t care and retreated. I missed him. Dr. Max closed the office and headed for the shore. And that’s where it ended. Alone. 66 is too young to go, especially these days. I’ll never forget him.
This show is a musical remembrance of artists and songs we both loved and touches on so many things that were first brought to my ears through our friendship. It really is the only thing I can do and I need to do it. Hope you enjoy the show.
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