HigterFrequency OVERSEAS NEWS



international news _ 6th November, 2006

New York’s CBGB’s Closes Down

Text by Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

America’s most influential club of the last 30 years CBGBs closed permanently last weekend, becoming New York’s latest nightlife institution to disappear from the once legendary party town,

The infamous down-at-heel Bowery bar is often cited as the birthplace of punk, becoming the heart of New York’s alternative, artistic counter culture in the 70s and beyond, though is unlikely to be replaced, Village Voice club critic Trish Romano predicted.

“There is no better example than CB's of a nightclub positively affecting art and culture—without it, would the Ramones, Television, Blondie, and Talking Heads have been so important?” she mused,

“If you tried to open CBGB today, it would never happen. Neighbourhood residents would bemoan adding another club in an already saturated area. Yuppies would complain about the noise and the smokers outside. Authorities would deny it a liquor license or a cabaret license or both.”

Chatting to Skrufff two years ago, Talking Heads/ Tom Tom Club duo Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth went even further declaring ‘had there been no CBGB's there might not have been any Talking Heads or Ramones or Blondie or Television.’

“When we were performing at CBGB's, there was never any doubt in my mind that something unforgettable was going on,” Chris added.

“To me it was obvious that history was in the making; in no small part thanks to Hilly Kristal who owned CBGBs and gave these bands a stage to play on when no one else would.”

Chatting to Skrufff in 2002, Hilly Krystal stressed the club’s musical remit was always broad, declaring, ‘we never booked just punk. Everybody calls music different things but I never considered Talking Heads as punk. Truthfully even years ago Mink De Ville and the B52s weren’t punk, though they called it New Wave. We used to call groups like Talking Heads ‘art rock,” he added.

He also revealed one of his great regrets was that neither the Clash nor the Sex Pistols played at the club, though both groups visited to hang out.

“The Clash used to come in a lot, then Johnny Lydon came in after the Pistols broke up and sat in the corner for two weeks,” he recalled.

“Sid Vicious also came in, and I kicked him out a couple of times. Vicious was a perfect name for him. He had problems,” said Hilly.

CBGB’s website, meanwhile, stressed the club will be re-opening ‘in the near future’ with press reports suggesting Las Vegas is the most likely location, ironically the same city where Prince is reportedly planning to open a club, at former topless revue bar Club Rio.

Related Link