Max Heinegg
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Max Heinegg

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2004
Solo Alternative Singer/Songwriter


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Max Heinegg @ Chevalier Theater

Medford, Oregon, United States

Medford, Oregon, United States

Max Heinegg @ Northeastern University

Sudbury, Massachusetts, United States

Sudbury, Massachusetts, United States

Max Heinegg @ The Plough & Stars

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States



"Live CD release review 9/2007"

Max Heinegg’s CD release party
Lizard Lounge, Cambridge, MA
I walk in on Tom Savant and get a front row seat. Tom has a cool, warm presence and is not afraid to strip his songs down to the lonely accompaniment of a ukulele. He almost avoids playing anything too catchy. I get the feeling he’d rather you listen to his songs a number of times to warm up to them instead of them grabbing you on the first listen. He keeps his banter light and funny, and quips with his band mates in the audience about song arrangements and upcoming gigs. He ends with his best—“You Kiss Like a Russian,” which goes to his extreme of catchiness.
Reviewing The Snowleopards in their two-piece mode is painful for me. Their material is great. Heidi’s vocals are more than impressive. Mike’s guitar playing is superb… with the exception of the volume he chooses to play at. Heidi’s mic feeds back throughout most of the performance because Mike’s guitar pushes the volume up so high (remember it’s only the two of them) that the soundman has to ride the vocal mic volume to keep Heidi heard. This is very frustrating when there’s so much talent on the stage. It ruins my appreciation of the material and talent. This same problem existed when I last saw the full electric version of The Snowleopards. The soundman confirms the reason for the sound problems with me at the end of the set.
I notice there are a number of Bang Camaro members in the audience and then remember that the CD release boy, Max Heinegg, is one of those many masculine lead vocalists. He takes the stage by his lonesome and does two songs in singer/songwriter mode. Then he tries something new. He puts down his guitar and brings out John Damask to back him on electric guitar. Soon bassist Justin Day and drummer Robert Gaggin join in and the full band of Jetlagger plays Max’s solid melodic material while Max limits himself to crooning. This band, once known as Say Hi To Lisa, is so good they practically steal the show from Max. But without Max’s strong material that might not be the case. The presentation is warm and family-like, which adds to the strength of this music community. (T Max) - The Noise

"2007 Cd review"

Wheelkick Records
These Familiar Days
12-song CD
This is a strong, consistent collection with melancholic yet upliftingly touching songs. At times the arrangements are lush and expressionistic, as on “Echo,” and the extraordinarily touching “Stella.” At other times, as on “Failsafe” and the title track, the arrangements are notably spartan and minimalistic, ala Morphine. Dana Colley contributes saxophone on a few of these numbers, with Ian Kennedy adding strings and Maclaine Diemer and Jason Dunn taking turns on keyboard. Heinegg’s vocals are frequently evincing, as on the pick hit “Straightaway” and the touching “Alibi.” This is one of those albums that reveals new subtleties with each listen; you get a whiff of prog and of ’70s singer-songwriter balladry, but mostly, owing to the strong vocal line throughout, and the exceptionally melodic values which imbue nearly every song, this is quintessential chamber rock, thoughtfully arranged and produced. Heinegg varies the fare with texture rather than tempo, and as a result, this collection as a whole offers a subtlety more akin to jazz than rock. A keeper. (Francis DiMenno) - The Noise

"review of 2007 new cd"

These Familiar Days presents a familiar departure for steadfast Boston singer Max Heinegg. Those who knew Max’’s first band, The High Ceilings, (in which, yes, I had a cup of coffee on bass) could sense that quieter elements were percolating under the surface of the bombast. 2004’’s By June came closer to realizing those Nick Drake and Neil Young influences. With this latest release, Max takes yet-another step away from psychedelic-emo-band-leader toward folk-rocker poet. What is surprising is the depth of new instrumental color, namely keys and sax, which appear here. I’’m not sure it all works: the playing of Morphine sax player Dana Colley feels like something of a paste-on afterthought. Then again, if I had Dana Colley available, I’’d probably use him too. The keyboard work of Maclain Diemer, Jason Dunn and the organ of Ian Kennedy is quite effective, and Ian’’s string arrangements and playing are gorgeous. Max’’s singularly haunting voice is in fine form, if a bit less expansive than in the past, and his poetry-as-lyric craft is profound. These Familiar Days finds Max Heinegg continuing to follow new sonic paths. Future releases should end up in intriguing destinations. (Brian Westbye) - Low Budget Superher (.com)

"By June CD review"

Max Heinegg "By June", 2004 Ex-High Ceilings singer soars on this impressive solo debut, blending pastoral, folksy cuts with concise, four-to-the-bar post-grunge rockers. Embracing deeply personal themes, Heinegg's resonant baritone is complemented by a clever repertoire of atmospheric sustained chords, legato vocal melodies, moody orchestral counterpoint, and Mike Piehl's stellar percussive work. The first three tunes hit hardest, with the lead-off title track emerging as the stuff of U2 in theory and execution, followed by the modern rock radio-ready "Coming of Age" and "Seamless." Other highlights include the inventive angular guitar counter-melodies in "Sedona," and Ian Kennedy's puckish mandolin accompaniment throughout "La Belle Dame Sans Merci." A lonely dirge "Wave" ends the disc on a soulful, haunting note. "By June" serves as calling card to the majors, no questions asked. © Tom Semioli -

"Splendid E-Zine CD Review"

By June blends anthemic rock with orchestral folk, yielding fairly pleasant results. The guitars are powerful and soaring, reminiscent of early U2; in fact, the title track's minimal but powerful chord progressions sound as if they were plucked directly from The Joshua Tree. Elsewhere, the instrumental accompaniment is just as emotional, but slightly sonically softer. "Sedona"'s sweeping strings and Ian Kennedy's lilting mandolin solo on Heinegg's adaptation of John Keats's poem "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" are grandly orchestral; they're stuck in the midst of a bunch of angular, guitar-driven songs, but they're no less powerful, matching the louder tunes melody for melody, emotion for emotion.
The thing that really buoys By June is Heinegg's rich, unrestrained baritone and the literate, observant lyrics he delivers. He belts out surprisingly poetic sentiments with heartfelt sincerity and earnest intensity, steeping the album in vibrant, allegorical imagery. The strummy, simple "Sunlight Lies" and the sparse, soothing "Wave" showcase Heinegg's ability to craft beautiful lyrical landscapes. "From the crest to the fall / We rise than we recede / Still I'd like to be more of a wave / Than the undertow," he croons on "Wave", lulling us into the ebbing tide with his gentle, haunting performance. Like "Wave", the album excels in crafting pensive, evocative songs destined to please listeners on melancholy, sunless summer days.
-- Jessica Gentile - Splendid E Zine

"MUSIC SCENE: New baby softens rocker Heinegg's musical style"

The Patriot Ledger

Songwriter Max Heinegg could have the perfect focus group for his rock tunes - if he really wanted to take advantage of his day job.

That's because Heinegg teaches 10th-grade English at Medford High School. But while he likes to spice up his classes with a songwriting workshop once a week, Heinegg doesn't like to audition material for his students.

‘‘I try not to turn the class into my own little cult of personality,'' he said from his Somerville home. ‘‘Sometimes the kids want to hear the new stuff, and I do try to integrate popular music into the great tradition of poetry. Right now we spend half of Friday's class on that, which makes a nice change of pace from our regular studies.-''

Heinegg will be presenting songs from his latest album, ‘‘By June'' (released Dec. 3 on Boston's Primary Voltage label), on Wednesday when he performs with his band at The Abbey Lounge in Somerville.

The new CD is a highly personal record, with Heinegg's love of poetry evident in the depth and craftsmanship of his lyrics. The music carries a reflective tone, and Heinegg's soulful baritone eschews big dynamics for more subtle, inviting shadings. On some cuts, like the compelling title cut, his gradually building passion evokes the best of Bono and U2. In other places, like the jangly and mystical ‘‘Sedona'' or the ethereal, almost Indian-sounding ‘‘This May,'' Heinegg produces entrancing music that might remind listeners of the softer side of Smashing Pumpkins or latter-day George Harrison.

Heinegg has been working the Boston rock vineyard for a few years, as frontman of the rock band The High Ceilings, which released four albums and was compared to Bush and Creed. The High Ceilings disbanded by mutual agreement about a year ago.

‘‘Two of us had children on the way,'' Heinegg explained. ‘‘The High Ceilings were a lot of fun, but I wanted to be in a position to determine my own schedule and personal life, and be able to make more family time.''

His solo record was recorded last winter, largely in his home studio with Ian Kennedy. Later, the rhythm section of bassist Jim Gilbert and Mike Piehl on drums joined the project. At that point, Heinegg wasn't sure he'd be staying in the Boston area, as his wife Wendy, an attorney, pondered some career options. As it turned out, Mrs. Heinegg decided to become the second schoolteacher in the family.

‘‘We had been contemplating a move to upstate New York,'' he admitted. ‘‘So a lot of these songs were done with the thought of my getting solo shows in that area. But they all work out pretty well with the full band treatment. If there is a new direction I'm following, it's that now I'm more focused on the songwriting, rather than just on being in a band with a cool sound.''

It's possible to detect a touch of melancholy in Heinegg's work, although there is also plenty of warm affirmation, too.

‘‘There is definitely a melancholy vein to some, and all of these are acoustic-based songs,'' Heinegg said. ‘‘But I think things like ‘By June' are perfect driving music, and also perfect morning music. I wanted to make a CD that people could wake up and get in their cars and play on their way to work, feeling good. Whereas The High Ceilings was mostly night music, stuff for after 6 p.m.

‘‘I like the U2 approach, in that their music is very melodic and also very inclusive. It can rock, but it also draws you in with other things. If my music tries to draw you in, like U2's, it is not ever on the basis of negativity.

‘‘Like Nirvana, for instance, a great band that I liked, but the entire ethos of the band was basically ‘life s---s,''' he added. ‘‘That's not how I feel. I'm happily married, I like my job, and I have a new baby. This is music to chill out by, because I'm very happy.''

The song ‘‘Sedona'' stemmed from a vacation last year in the Arizona desert. ‘‘I was consciously trying to fool around with things in the studio, to come up with a guitar sound like they had on ‘Led Zeppelin III,''' he said. ‘‘I was trying open tunings, and a chiming kind of tone, and the song itself is written in waltz time.

‘‘‘This May' was written about our daughter's birth, because her due date was May and she ended up not being born until June. You can hear that tribal element in the drums, which is a direction I want to expand more upon, more like Peter Gabriel has done.''

When Heinegg decided to put a band together to play live dates, he simply reached out to some old pals in Boston. ‘‘I hand-picked this band, from my own secret wish list of musicians,'' he said. ‘‘Jim Gilbert, from the Sheila Divine, is on bass, Alex Necochea, who plays with Bleu, is on guitar, and Michael Morrissey from The Good North is our drummer.

‘‘My goal is to settle here, and play music at my own pace,'' he said. ‘‘That's a pace that's conducive to having kids and a job. I've also wanted to start playing music that's not locked into the rock genre, so that it's not a great leap to the kind of music that Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Lou Reed have been playing for years.

Heinegg's musical vision has produced a riveting work of finely nuanced rock 'n' roll, with the kind of deep, thoughtful lyrics that his English students might enjoy digging into in some future class.

Jay Miller can be reached at

Copyright 2004 The Patriot Ledger
Transmitted Friday, December 17, 2004
- Patriot Ledger

"Harvard CD Review"

CD Review - By June
Published on Friday, December 17, 2004

The first solo album from Max Heinegg, former vocalist of the
Boston-based hard rock band The High Ceilings, comes to fans this month as a
pleasantly mellow surprise. The release is a welcome departure from the
old-yet-successful Heinegg rock style, as the artist seeks to transform
himself into a singer-songwriter with this emotion-rich set of tunes.
But the soulful frontman doesn't entirely leave his rock roots behind, as
most of these songs are thickly coated in layers of electric guitars
and instrumental ornamentation.

By June, which Heinegg describes on his website as "the first record I
had made that really sounded like me," gains strength from the meshing
of emotive rock sounds with simple melodies resounding with soft,
heartfelt messages. Despite the departure from his long-standing metal band
status, Heinegg insists that his band's recent break-up wasn't strictly
from creative differences: in fact, many of the members of The High
Ceilings offered their musical abilities during the production of their
old comrade's debut. The new album that Heinegg had been working on
since the band split up is not so much an insult to his old faithful
metal-rock fans, but merely an expression of his overlooked stylistic soft

How soft? The songs were inspired by the birth of Heinegg's daughter,
and much of these tender emotions are unveiled with simple melodic
acoustic guitar and vocal solos in gently titled songs such as "Sway" and
"La Belle Dame Sans Merci."

The disc begins with the title song, a sweet and somber ballad, where
Heinegg's uniquely silky vocal intonations infuse an ethereal element to
the percussively-accented melody. From then on, the tempo varies
between solemnly slow and slightly upbeat among the songs, though a strong
rhythmic presence reigns powerfully throughout each of them.

The album's strongest number is "This May," a smooth mid-tempo piece
perhaps best enjoyed on a crummy day, with congo drum-peppered beats
paddling through a sea of harmonic voices.

Upon the backdrop of accusations of "sellout" from his former hard rock
fans, Heinegg's new album of soulful meditations is hardly cause for
alarm. His talented musicianship stands on its own as a force full of raw
emotion, vivacity and somber eloquence. Regardless of its place amidst
contemporary music trends or past musical associations Heinegg might
have, this recording stands its ground as a singularly affecting work.

- Harvard University

"Town Online"

Max Heinegg
By June
Grade: B
( Primary Voltage Records )

Review by Ed Symkus
Wednesday, December 1, 2004

This is a straight-ahead brand of folk-rock-pop, pleasantly and powerfully ringing guitars, solid bass and drum support, a taste of violin and mandolin, and Heinegg's strong, clear voice soaring slightly above it, sometimes in falsetto. Yet the tunes have a singer-songwriter sensibility - they would probably still work well with just Heinegg and a six-string. Heinegg is best at presenting a picture of place - as in "Sedona," which has the album's most layered arrangement. The only problem here is that in a few too many instances, he's too loose with his enunciation, and some of the words are hard to understand. Perhaps the addition of lyrics on the nearly blank booklet would have made for a more insightful listen.

- Town Online

"Poetry that rocks"

Max Heinegg ’94: Poetry that Rocks

Listening to Max Heinegg’s rich baritone voice, you can hear his musical influences — Nick Drake, Grant Lee Phillips, and Bono among them. Upon a closer listen, beyond the atmospheric production of the instruments and the metallic sounds of the guitar, are the lyrical, poetic influences of immortals like John Keats, and Union College faculty poets Jordan Smith and Kit Hathaway.

In Heinegg’s most recent release, and his first solo studio album, By June, the singer-songwriter exudes the emotional intensity of a poet. On one track, “La Belle Dame Sans Merci,” Heinegg interprets Keat’s famous poem of the same name. Set to a spare acoustic guitar and layered with strings and mandolin, the song literally amplifies the poem, putting it in a fresh perspective.

Heinegg’s album is so well produced (it sounds quite a bit like the work of Daniel Lanois, the famous New Orleans-based producer who has worked with such immortals as Bob Dylan and U2) and the instrumental so top-notch, it seems hard to believe that Heinegg never even picked up a guitar until his days at Union College.

Heinegg at Union
Son of the popular English professor, Peter Heinegg, Max, came to Union with a love of literature and music that had been engrained in his upbringing. He fondly remembers the classical music in his parents’ house and cites it as a major influence: “I think the key was that music was always playing, in the house, or in the car; it was a mainstay.”

His parents love of language and writing also affected the young Heinegg. His own poetry was encouraged from an early age and at 15, his father introduced him to poets Hathaway and Smith. “It was quite a privilege to be able to meet with established poets when I was just a kid.” Heinegg’s teenage experiences left him with a love of literature and lyric verse and led him to Union College.

At Union, Heinegg pursued his academic interests, studying Marlowe with Prof. Ruth Stevenson, and modern poetry with Smith. At the same time, he was getting an education in rock and roll from his classmates: “I learned how to play guitar at Union from other students, and jammed across campus, learning as I went.” Heinegg recalls setting up (and turning up) the amplifiers outside his dorm and playing as loud as he could with his buddies until he was shut down by Campus Safety.

Soon, Heinegg had formed his own band on campus, Wineapple, named lovingly another English professor and family friend, Brenda Wineapple. The band won a Battle of the Bands on campus, because, as Heinegg says, “we wore suits and dyed our hair, and were the loudest.”

But memorable rock moments and screaming crowds were still several years away for Heinegg. He had his own radio show on WRUC and took a class in music appreciation, but Heinegg was in the beginning stages of what he calls the “lifelong process of songwriting.”

Life After Union
After graduation, Heinegg and his wife, Wendy Pfaffenbach ’95, spent a year traveling around the country before relocating to the Boston area. (Wendy, who practiced law after earning a J.D. at Boston University, is a teacher in Concord Mass.) With an M.A.T. from Boston University, Heinegg began teaching sixth grade English by day and making a name in the thriving Boston music scene by night (including stints in bands with Union alumni Chris Blackburn ’96, John Woods ’95, and Alex Polemeropoulos ’96).

For five years, he sang and played guitar in the High Ceilings, a band he founded in 1998. Self described as “aggressive guitar-driven pop to all-out angular rock experimentation,” the High Ceilings were loud and they put on a powerful show that left Boston-club goers wanting more.

The High Ceilings gave Heinegg an opportunity to record three studio albums, and to work with such Boston punk legends as David Minehan. Most importantly, the High Ceilings was Heinegg’s opportunity to hone his skills as a songwriter and lyricist.

When the group amicably disbanded in 2004, Heinegg began recording By June. For Heinegg, the solo release is the “first record I had made that really sounded like me.”

By June speaks to Heinegg’s experience. One track, “This May,” was written when he and his wife were expecting a daughter (although Ava Simone—now 1—was born in June) and “Sunlight Lies” is a fragmented look at his city, Boston. The solo side of Max Heinegg is a softer and gentler version of the wailing lead singer from the High Ceilings. Love songs like “Assumed” have made their way into his songbook expressing the maturity and sensitivity of a husband and father.

A Teacher, A Poet, A Musician
This fall, Max Heinegg returned to Medford High School where he has taught for the last three years. Busy at home with a young child and working every day in the classroom makes writing and music-making a challenge, but Heinegg remains remarkably productive. He recently finished a new manuscript of poems and is working on a new album that is set to be released in early 2006.

Staying true to his roots in literature, the record will include another poetic adaptation—this time William Blake’s “Poison Tree.” Listeners can expect a wide range of musical styles ranging from pop songs to modern folk, ballads to dirges. The major difference in the new album might well be Heinegg’s new perspective on life. He has a new job which may be more time consuming and rewarding than that of teacher or poet or musician—Heinegg is a father.

For more on Heinegg, visit One of his songs will be on a compilation to benefit victims of the tsunami. For more, visit:
- Union College Magazine

"Live Review by Steve Gisselbrecht"

Max Heinegg & the Nervous are next. I like Max’s stuff, but I’m not often in the mood for it; I have to be calm and well-rested to properly appreciate it, as it’s somewhat low-energy fare. They’re kind of a bar band, kind of Americana, even kind of Springsteenesque. Max has a gorgeous voice, really high and clean, that soars out over the guitars and sells these songs. And the whole band is really solid. - The Noise

"Sand Painting - Jan 2015"

Max Heinegg

Sand Painting (2015)

This week’s new release comes from local singer/songwriter Max Heinegg. On his fourth solo record, Max lays down beautiful soundscapes, deep soulful lyrics, and a voice…oh man, that voice. Something about the way he sings that let’s you know he means every word he says. Sand Painting sounds so familiar, yet brand new at the same time. Songs like Small Hours really get under your skin, letting you feel the hairs on the back of your neck and that familiar lump in your throat.

and I’d try not to count the days
the small hours dry like rain
as our short dreams crack and seem
to be the dust we’ve always been

For the poetry enthusiast, there is an adaptation of W.B. Yeats, He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, done beautifully. Had they taught poetry in school this way, I might have passed English.

Put this record on, go for a drive, thank me later. - Well Done Boston


Sand Painting, 2014

Ruby Saloon, 2010.

These Familiar Days - September 2007 LP, Wheelkick Records

By June, 2004 LP - Primary Voltage Records

Relief Project, Vol.1 - Third Surfer Records, 2006
A compilation for victims of the tsunamis and hurricane Katrina - artists featured include Dispatch, State Radio, Griffin House, Braddigan...

The High Ceilings: THC Discography:
Pass Right Through EP (1999);
Wavelength EP
The Edge Is as Safe as the Ground (2003);
Your New Favorite
CD (Compilation, 2003);
Vinyl Ritchie (Compilation, 2004)

Also recorded vocals for Boston supergroup Bang Camaro - 2007 eponymous CD.



Max Heinegg has played music in Boston since moving from New York in 1998.  First, as co-founder and lead singer of the High Ceilings, an alternative rock band that gigged across the Northeast, playing Boston, Cambridge, and NYC clubs, earning critical acclaim, and waves of college airplay with two CDs and two EPs from 1998-2003, and since then as a solo artist.

In 2004, Max released By June, to critical acclaim; Boston's press and radio welcomed his new artistic direction. The CD featured the song "By June" which earned the daytime local spotlight on WFNX. Excellent press and shows with local standouts like The Bon Savants, Taxpayer, and the Luxury followed.

In 2006, Max sang with Bang Camaro, live and on their debut record.

In September 2007, Max released These Familiar Days; the 12 song CD fused his interest in quiet, moodier recordings - typically 3/4 tunes, with his penchant for melodic pop. The CD received excellent press throughout NE.

In 2010, he released Ruby Saloon, a return to his roots in alternative rock, alternate tunings and time signatures; the CD was played on WFNX and other local stations. 

Cut to 2014: after 15 months in the studio, Sand Painting is due for release on ITunes, CDBaby, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and Spotify.  Featuring the same cast of great Boston musicians: Alex Necochea, Will Dailey Dana Colley, Ian Kennedy, and Kurt von Stetten.  Recorded by Mike Quinn at the Moontower in the great Q Division, these 13 songs represent his best work to date and his reemergence as a Boston artist to watch in 2015. 

Band Members