Max's Kansas City

Max's Kansas City
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Restaurant and music venue Max's Kansas City in New York City was legendary in the 1960s and 1970s. Max’s back room was Lillian Roxon's second home, with rock writer Loraine Alterman describing her as the ‘Dorothy Parker of Max’s Kansas City’.

Alongside her friend, record executive Danny Fields, Roxon presided over the comings and goings of famous stars including Andy Warhol and his Factory entourage, David Bowie, Judy Garland, Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, Candy Darling, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, The B52’s, Mick Jagger, Janis Joplin, Tim Buckley, Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Considered the birthplace of punk, glam rock and pop art, it was a place where gender-bending, poetry, art, rock, pop, reggae, folk and new wave music all coalesced. Poet William S Burroughs called Max’s ‘the intersection of everything’.

Many acts got their break at Max’s. Bruce Springsteen, for example, performed there early in his career with Bob Marley & the Wailers. Debbie Harry waited on tables at the restaurant before she became the famous face of Blondie.

In this excerpt, an unidentified journalist interviews Lillian Roxon for radio station 2SM in Sydney. Roxon talks up her beloved venue for the benefit of Australian listeners, proudly showing that she is at the epicentre of American music culture.

Used with permission from the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.

The cover image for this title is from 'Patti Smith - Patti Smith at Winterland, San Francisco, 13 May 1978'. Published under Creative Commons 2.0. Photographer: Stephen L Harlow.

Notes by Beth Taylor