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Our buddy Max called in from the road to chat about his new single “Still New York” and next album, “House of Divine.” The LP title comes from a lyric in “Lights Down Low,” an song he wrote for and proposed to his wife with. The single is a love letter to Max’s hometown with a number of celebrity cameos in the music video, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, The Chainsmokers and yes – even yours truly.

It was my first weekend without work or travel in over a month, however it was not a weekend without responsibility… or rather, “responsibility.”

My buddy Danny, one of my best friends from Pennsylvania, came in to town for his annual birthday celebration (his actual birthday was the previous Tuesday). What this weekend usually amounts to is three straight days of debauchery. This year wasn’t quite the 5 am-a-night marathon of prior years… at least for three straight nights. Danny had work early Monday.

But all bets were off Friday and Saturday. We met up with my friend Ryan at a private club downtown Friday night where we hung out until last call, then dialed up the venerable West Village dive WXOU Bar for a night cap, followed by a trip to my bodega for sandwiches and wings.

Saturday started with an excellent brunch at Westville’s Financial District location and continued with a few more Bloody Marys at Beckett’s while I screamed at the TV over the Syracuse game (they lost).

After a quick reset at my apartment, we grabbed dinner at Village Yokocho, an awesome Japanese restaurant in the East Village that also contains a speakeasy. From there we ordered a round at Tompkins Square Bar (there was a line at Niagara!) and then met friends at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1. The live set wrapped at 2 am so we walked back to Avenue A and one of my favorite watering holes, Kelly’s, for some late night wings and Blue Lights. Night cap? You bet; it happened up the street at Sophie’s. Danny was craving pizza, so we made that happen at Little Italy Pizza, which is open 24 hours.


Now Sunday started a little differently; I Uber-ed round-trip to Whole Foods to buy the ingredients for my vegan Buffalo Chicken Dip, which I then promptly cooked before hitting the road. We had tickets for the noon Knicks game (they are awful), watching it at The Garden with a round of double-shot Bloody Marys (they are fantastic).

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We bar-hopped a little, with a stop at my old neighborhood standby, The Dead Poet, before hailing an Uber to Ryan’s place so we could watch the Big Game and I could tweet out gems like this.


After the game, none of us could turn away from the live streams of the celebrations (or, rioting) in Philadelphia. Finally at about 1:20 am, we called it and returned downtown.


After all, it was Monday. Danny had work in the morning.

When singer/songwriter Max created “Lights Down Low,” he wrote the song for his now wife, Emily. Max eventually proposed to her with the song before releasing it as a single. The track is now platinum and cracked the top 10 this week at pop radio. Of course it’s significant on a lot of levels to the artist, but what has its success meant to his wife?

“It’s so insane,” Emily told me after her husband performed at Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17 as a part of GRAMMY Week. “It’s coming up on 3 years now when I got first sent the original file. Listening to it in my bed, under my covers by myself, to now we’ve traveled the world because of the song together and met so many amazing people, shared so many amazing stories… it’s insane. I never imagined this life.”

“If a song doesn’t mean this much to me, I wouldn’t want it to be this heard,” Max added. “In that way, it’s been very healthy because yunno it’s like, ‘Oh well, maybe somebody should write your new single,’ or something like that and it makes me realize: no. It has to come from my heart because I can’t imagine spending my entire life, every day talking about a song that isn’t something that means so much to me.”

So as the song continues to climb up the chart, Max, nee Schneider, is embracing the pressure of a follow-up as he continues work on his sophomore album. The artist entered a rare stretch during GRAMMY Weekend where he was actually able to hang out at home in New York for a few days – catching up with family, hitting up the studio and even stopping by The Garden to watch his beloved Knicks.