CBGB Closes. In Other News, Punk Has Sucked For Years.

Sigh.

If not for Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, I might never have seen the crusty, poster-slathered inside of CBGB. And now it's gone. Check out Yahoo News' article on its final show:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061016/ap_en_mu/music_cbgb_finale

I like that Patti Smith and members of Blondie were there to close it out.

But I gotta tell ya: Hilly Kristal? I'm not a fan.

Don't let the fluff in this piece fool you. Kristal let this happen. To some degree, he even wanted it to happen. CBGB's last gasp as a culturally active institution was sometime back in the '80s, if not earlier. Since then, it's pretty much just been a t-shirt. Kristal never really grasped the cultural significance of his own venue or its meaning in the birth of punk -- he merely wanted to make a buck. So when it began to look like CBGB was going to bite the dust a few years ago, he immediately started talking about moving to New Jersey or Las Vegas. He didn't understand that it wasn't the name CBGB, or the awning, or the logo that made CBs important -- it was the space.

It was the disgusting, awkwardly-shaped, piss-infested, sounds-like-shit space. It's a space only a punk could love. It's a place you can only enjoy if you don't give a fuck about anything, drink hard, and prefer physically intimidating your crowd over performing for them. Kristal, ever clueless, recently said, “For some reason, they want us here. I don’t know why it matters to them, but it does.”

[Read more of that interview here. It's excellent.]

As the interview makes painfully clear, Kristal does not care about the space. It was filled with numerous code violations (a big no-no after the Great White show fire in RI); he didn't pay his rent; he's long viewed the place as an instution to museumify, rather than a living place that can transform music and culture.

CBGB is dead. Long live CBGB.

1 comment:

John said...

I was able to play there a few times before its closing. I have to say, the only thing I really liked about it was that there was always on audience. Be it a Monday or Tuesday night, the place always had a crowd. And not just a crowd. A crowd of music lovers, people who came to actually watch the bands. A far departure from the CT scene.