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10-09-2006, 03:10 PM
Punk Venue CBGB's Closing After 33 Years
Oct 09 2:55 PM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer

Legs McNeil remembers the night back in 1975 when he walked into the dingy storefront club perched in the even dingier Bowery neighborhood. The band onstage, four guys in leather jackets and torn jeans, was the Ramones. McNeil sat at a nearby table, watching their set with Lou Reed.
It was unforgettable. But as McNeil would soon discover, it was just a typical night at CBGB's, the club that spawned punk rock while launching the careers of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Blondie, the Talking Heads and the Ramones.

"Every night was memorable, except I don't remember 'em," said a laughing McNeil, co-author of the punk rock history "Please Kill Me."

After Sunday, memories are all that will remain when the cramped club with its capacity of barely 300 people goes out of business after 33 years. Although its boom years are long gone, CBGB's remained a Manhattan music scene fixture: part museum, part barroom, home to more than a few rock and roll ghosts.

The club didn't exit without a fight. An assortment of high-profile backers, including E Street Band guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt, battled to keep the legendary club open. But in the end, it was a simple landlord-tenant dispute _ and owner Hilly Kristal saw the handwriting on the club's dank walls.

"I knew the closing was inevitable, because my lawyers said, `You can't win this case. The law is that your lease is up, and they don't even need a reason to put you out,'" said Kristal.

Kristal sits beneath a platinum record from Joan Jett, a CBGB's clock and a few of the endless band stickers that blanket the interior. Kristal, who is battling lung cancer, wears a black and white CBGB's T-shirt with a matching baseball cap.

He once managed the Village Vanguard, the renowned jazz club where he booked acts like Miles Davis. Things were a bit different at his new club: "In rock, the bands were creative _ but at first, they didn't play so well."

The first punk-scene band at Kristal's nightspot was Television, soon followed by Patti Smith. Punk poet Smith will play the closing night as well, a booking that Kristal described as effortless.

Smith isn't the only veteran playing one last gig. The '80s hardcore band Bad Brains and the '70s punks the Dictators are both scheduled for the final week. Blondie's Debbie Harry and Chris Stein are also stopping by.

When Kristal opened his doors in December 1973, CBGB's stood for country, bluegrass and blues _ three musical styles that wound up in short supply. Tommy Ramone, drummer for the Ramones, recalled how a new breed of bands gravitated to the space.

"At that time, there were no places to play in New York," Ramone said last year. "It was a very dead time in New York City, doldrums all around. But CBGB's allowed bands _ original bands, no less _ the freedom to go and play and do whatever they pleased."

Kristal plans to move the club far from its roots with a new CBGB's in Las Vegas. The owner plans to strip the current club down to the bare walls, bringing as much of it to Nevada as possible.

"We're going to take the urinals," he said. "I'll take whatever I can. The movers said, `You ought to take everything, and auction off what you don't want on eBay.' Why not? Somebody will."

Even a longtime CBGB's devotee like McNeil thinks the best advice for the 74-year-Kristal is go west, old man.

"I always said Hilly should go to Vegas," said McNeil. "Girls with augmented breasts playing Joey Ramone slot machines. It would become an institution."


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I've heard that they're looking for property in Vegas to reopen and continue their traditions. Won't be the same place though.

10-09-2006, 11:19 PM
Sad news.... and whoever the landlord is, he's a fucking dick :mad:

It's like evicting the Smithsonian, for fucks sake!!

10-09-2006, 11:45 PM
I posted a thread about this in here over a year ago....

This has been a long time coming.

10-16-2006, 06:38 AM
Oct 16, 2:07 AM (ET)


NEW YORK (AP) - CBGB hosted its final concert Sunday night after a 33-year residence in downtown New York as the iconic, grungy bastion of punk.
The concert, headlined by rock poet Patti Smith, was to be the final note sounded in a drawn-out battle to preserve the legendary club. A homeless advocacy group that owns the property, the Bowery Residents Committee, is not renewing CBGB's lease, which expired in August 2005. The club will close Oct. 31.
The club's run may be ending at its Manhattan location, but it will continue in different ways, Smith said.
"CBGB's is a state of mind," she said at pre-show news conference. "The new kids have to have their own places."
CBGB's closure has prompted protests, tributes and vigils for more than a year - a cycle ended when CBGB's owner, Hilly Kristal, gave up his legal fight to stay.
CBGB, hailed by many as the birthplace of punk, opened in December 1973 and over the years helped spawn the careers of such acts as the Ramones, Blondie, the Talking Heads and Television. Though the club's glory days are long gone, it has remained a symbolic fixture on the Manhattan music scene.
Blondie singer Deborah Harry performed at CBGB on Saturday, part of a weeklong send-off for the club.
With a capacity of barely 300, CBGB was founded as a place of freedom for different musical acts. Its letters stand for the music Kristal originally planned to present there - country, bluegrass and blues - but it quickly came to represent the physical epicenter of early punk and the storied downtown scene of 1970s New York.
Kristal plans to move the club to Las Vegas, and its store, CBGB Fashions, will move on Nov. 1 to a nearby location at Broadway and Bond Street.
"I'm thinking about tomorrow and the next day and the next day and going on to do more with CBGB's," Kristal said Sunday.
The Bowery Residents Committee, which holds a 45-year lease on the building, houses 250 homeless people above the club. CBGB is its lone commercial tenant.