Tuesday, October 24, 2006


CBGB's is dead.



ti said...

Don't worry, you'll be able to go to the Las Vegas reconstruction of it soon. Richard hell has a very interesting take in the NYT. Free registration is required though. here.

ti said...

$5!! well, here's the text from the article

Op-Ed Contributor

Rock 'n' Roll High School


October 14, 2006

CBGB'S shuts down this weekend.

There's not too much left to say about the character of the joint.
It's the most famous rock 'n' roll club in the world, the most famous
that there ever has been, and it's just as famously a horrendous
dump. It's the archetypal, the ur, dim and dirty, loud, smelly and
ugly nowhere little rock 'n' roll club. There's one not much
different from it in every burg in the country.

Only, like a lot of New York, CBGB's is more so, way more so. And of
course, for three or four years in the mid-70's, it housed the most
influential cluster of bands ever to grow up -- or to implicitly
reject the concept of growing up -- under one roof.

On practically any weekend from 1974 to 76 you could see one or more
of the following groups (here listed in approximate chronological
order) in the often half-empty 300-capacity club: Television, the
Ramones, Suicide, the Patti Smith Group, Blondie, the Dictators, the
Heartbreakers, Talking Heads, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and the
Dead Boys. Not to mention some often equally terrific (or equally
pathetic) groups that aren't as well remembered, like the Miamis and
the Marbles and the Erasers and the Student Teachers. Nearly all the
members of these bands treated the club as a headquarters -- as home.
It was a private world. We dreamed it up. It flowered out of our

How often do you get to do that? That's what you want as a kid, and
that's what we were able to do at CBGB's. It makes me think of that
Elvis Presley quotation: "When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I
was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic
book. I saw movies, and I was the hero in the movie. So every dream I
ever dreamed has come true a hundred times." We dreamed CBGB's into

The owner of the club, Hilly Kristal, never said no. That was his
genius. Though it's dumb to use the word genius about what happened
there. It was all a dream. Many of us were drunk or stoned half our
waking hours, after all. The thing is, we were young there. You don't
get that back. Even children know that. They don't want their old
stuff thrown away. Everything should be kept. I regret everything
I've ever thrown away.

CBGB's was like a big playhouse, site of conspiracies, orgies,
delirium, refuge, boredom, meanness, jealousy, kindness, but most of
all youth. Things felt and done the first time are more vivid. CBGB's
is where many things were felt with that vividness. That feeling is
the real identity of the club, to me. And it's horrible, or at least
seriously sad, to lose it. But then, apparently, we aren't really
going to lose it.

CBGB's is going to be dismantled and reconstructed as an exhibit in
Las Vegas, like Elvis. I like that. A lot. I really hope it happens
as intended.

It's occurred to me that Hilly's genius passivity is something he has
in common with Andy Warhol. Another trait of Warhol's was that he
fanatically tried to keep or record everything that ever happened in
his vicinity, from junk mail in "time capsules" to small talk to
newspaper front pages and movie star publicity shots to 24 hours of
the Empire State Building.

We all know that nothing lasts. But at least we can make a cool and
funny exhibit of it.

I'm serious. God likes change and a joke. God loves CBGB's.

- - - - -

Richard Hell, a musician, is the author of the novel "Godlike" and
the film critic for BlackBook magazine.

- - - - -


Anonymous said...

Grass &

4 of my favorite things. They are all safe in Vegas? How nice.