Mickey Ruskin Sells Max’s

Mickey Ruskin Sells Max’s

When Mickey Ruskin sold Max’s Kansas City in 1974, it was renovated by new owner Tommy Dean, who made it resemble an airport lounge, complete with a bad disco band. “He asked Wayne County, ‘What have I done wrong? Why is my club empty?’ and Wayne referred him to me,” recalled Peter Crowley, who booked bands at Max’s from 1974 to 1981, after working at the Living Theatre and managing coffeehouses in the 1960s. “I told him everything he did wrong. At first he gave me Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, and I started bringing in all the CBGB bands. Basically I just stole all Hilly’s acts—Television, Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, all the usual suspects.” During this time, Zone became the new house DJ at Max’s, along with Wayne County (who changed her name to Jayne in the late 1970s). “Wayne was heavily focused on early British invasion, but also played comparable American records,” Crowley recalled, “and the same more or less with Paul.” Zone added, “When I was the DJ with Jayne at Max’s in ’74, ’75, ’76, the only music we were playing was sixties music and glam music. There was no other music. There were no punk records yet. All we played was sixties girl groups, British Invasion, Beach Boys, and we were playing the Dolls and some other glam, T. Rex and Bowie. Or I would play disco songs I thought were really good, like ‘Waterloo’ by ABBA and things like that.”

From Chapter 30 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


Max's Kansas City
213 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10003