Interview: The Transgressions of Max Furek
Interview conducted by Nolcha Fox
For more than two decades, Max Furek has been a chronicler of the rock music scene. With a keen eye for detail and a talent for storytelling, Max has established himself as a trusted voice in the world of rock journalism. From the rise of new talent to the comeback of classic rock legends, Max has been at the forefront of it all, delivering insightful and thought-provoking coverage to fans around the world with his signature style and insightful commentary.
In this interview Nolcha Fox sits down with Max to discuss his journey as a rock journalist, his thoughts on the current state of rock music, and his interests in the paranormal.
NF: Max, you have a truly amazing background. First, why did you decide to pursue a degree in psychology?
MF: As a baby boomer and 60s activist, I wanted to do my part to help make the world a better place. We truly believed that we could make a difference on so many different levels — Vietnam, Civil rights, Women’s Rights, Gay Rights, the environment, and all of that. Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, have been recognized as the Idealistic Generation. There were a lot of us, and many of us protested, demonstrated, and tried to make a change. Sadly, we don’t see that same kind of passion in the younger generations, and that is so difficult to accept. But, too, that is their decision to make, and yes, times are different.
Psychology appealed to me. I was attracted to Behaviorism and the idea that we could help individuals make positive behavioral changes in areas of addictions and mental health. Albert Ellis, who founded Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), and BF Skinner, who developed Radical Behaviorism and believed that all human action is dependent on consequences of previous actions, were some of the academics that we looked up to.
NF: What drew you into rock journalism?
MF: The lyrics, the beat, the culture. I lived and breathed rock and roll and probably entered an altered state through music. Psychologists use the term sublimation, and that’s exactly what I did. Instead of being on stage with a Stratocaster, I evolved into a rock journalist and wrote about the music, and especially the culture. It was a language that spoke to me and one that I was able to master on at least a basic level. Later, I coined the term Celebrity Blood Voyeurism, to explain society’s fixation with celebrities who self-destruct, such as Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain.
NF: You mentioned that Timothy Magazine evolved into the highly successful Pennsylvania Musician and Maryland Musician through a strange sequence of events. What was Timothy Magazine, and what was the strange sequence of events?
MF: I founded Timothy Magazine, a tabloid created “to promote Northeastern Pennsylvania’s musical talent,” including The Buoy’s (from Wilkes-Barre). At that time, and to this day, The Buoy’s “Timothy” (1971) has been the region’s most successful rock song. After I stopped publishing, Whitey Noll, who later published Pennsylvania Musician and Maryland Musician, met with me. I shared my formula and vision with him. He had the staff and resources to complete the vision I had of what “Timothy” could represent. It was bitter-sweet, but that was something I had to accept.
NF: So, the name of your magazine was based on the “Timothy” song. Tell me more about what attracted you to this song.
MF: “Timothy” was penned by Tony Award-winning playwright Rupert Holmes. The song was banned on major radio stations due to inappropriate content — ugly references to cannibalism connected to the infamous 1963 Sheppton, Pennsylvania, mining disaster. Fate Magazine described Sheppton as “unmatched in the annals of psychic research.” The disaster has been associated with miraculous and paranormal elements.
NF: Your book, Somebody Else’s Dream, is about The Buoy’s “Timothy.” Can you expand on why you wrote this book?
MF: Somebody Else’s Dream was my pandemic project. I completed the book during the pandemic of 2020. The book explores the song “Timothy” and aspects of censorship. Frank Zappa, whom the Buoys toured with, advocated for free speech in popular music. Zappa famously debated Tipper Gore, whose group, Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), placed parental-warning stickers on allegedly obscene and violent songs, calling them the Filthy Fifteen.
The book celebrates Zappa’s stance on the perils of censorship and the price of free speech. “Timothy” is relevant and an example of the censorship that still exists today with libraries, politicians, and school board directors.
There was a bit more to the story. After The Buoys morphed into Dakota, they opened for Queen on a sold-out 35-city tour, ending in a 3-day, standing-room-only Madison Square Garden concert. Dakota’s Runaway (MCA, 1980) has been considered a landmark Album-Oriented Rock (AOR) album, especially in the European market.
NF: What was your path from rock journalist to paranormal researcher?
MF: My journey into the paranormal came as a surprise. It was quite unexpected, and I was not prepared for the impact. Sheppton: The Myth, Miracle & Music, opened up the doors to the paranormal realm. Sheppton investigated supernatural events during the 1963 Sheppton mining disaster.
As a result, I was interviewed on a number of popular paranormal radio shows and podcasts, such as “Exploring the Bizarre,” with the legendary Timothy Green Beckley (Mr. UFO) and Tim R. Swartz (Commander X). I was also interviewed on “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” “Darkness Radio,” “Dark Sun Rising,” and “Midnight in the Desert” (with Heather Wade).
I’ve been a contributor to Fate Magazine, Normal Paranormal, and Paranormal Underground, and interviewed celebrity demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. But I always considered myself a rock journalist and never thought that I could make an impact in paranormal circles.
NF: Tell me more about the book you’re working on now.
MF: I’m completing a book about the paranormal, The Coal Region Hoodoo: Forbidden Tales from Inside the Pit. I believe I’ve discovered my writing style and a potential market. Coal Region Hoodoo looks at paranormal themes that are unique to Pennsylvania. For example, Pennsylvania has the third-highest Bigfoot sightings in the US, after California and Washington. Not too many people know that, but after reading my book, they will.
NF: Any thoughts on what your next project will be?
MF: I’m writing my first fiction piece, a psychological thriller called Florida Rapture. It’s been a lot of fun, especially creating the characters and the interactions. I read poetry every morning to expand my literary style. I look at poetry as a different language, but a language that I feel I need to learn and use. Poetry adds another dimension to my writing.
End of Interview
Nolcha Fox has written all her life, starting with poop and crayons on the walls. Her poems have been published in Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Alien Buddha Zine, Medusa’s Kitchen, and others. Her three chapbooks are available on Amazon.
Maxim W. Furek is a rock journalist, paranormal researcher, and motivational speaker. His eclectic background includes aspects of psychology, addictions, and rock journalism. He has a master’s degree in Communications from Bloomsburg University and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Aquinas College. He has contributed to Fate Magazine, Normal Paranormal, andParanormal Underground, and was a regular columnist forCounselor: The Magazine for Addiction and Behavioral HealthProfessionals, and The Sober World.