The Scene at Max’s Kansas City

The Scene at Max’s Kansas City

Several future stars and cult artists also passed through Max’s Kansas City. New York Dolls frontman David Johansen and the Modern Lovers’ Jonathan Richman worked as busboys, and country singer Emmylou Harris was a waitress in the late 1960s. Jayne County recalled another waitress who “was always stoned and regularly dropped cheeseburgers in people’s laps. Her name was Debbie Harry.” She had sung backup vocals in a short-lived hippie band named Wind in the Willows, then quit the group and worked as a waitress at Max’s. “I had fun and I certainly had friends there,” she said, “but I wasn’t part of the Warhol crowd. I wasn’t part of any single crowd. I was pretty much the fly on the wall, so to speak.” The back room crowd was always trying to one‑up each other and gain Warhol’s attention—like Andrea Whips, who might jump on the table and announce, “It’s SHOWTIME,” then insert a wine bottle in her vagina. “Max’s back room was everything you’d think it would be,” said Play-House of the Ridiculous actor Michael Arian, “with art on the walls and people freaking out and jumping up on the tables, throwing chickpeas everywhere, wagging their feet at people, and fucking on the floor in the back. It was a great place.”

From Chapter 18 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