The Country, BlueGrass and Blues club was opened in 1973 by owner Hilly Kristal
at 315 Bowery in Bleecker Street NYC, Punk and Hardcore fans around the world simply know it as CBGB
's. This year marks the 40th Anniversary
of the clubs opening, so this article is dedicated to the memory of the iconic venue.
As the name suggests, the club was originally meant for Country bands, but after repeated attempts to bring these bands in to NYC on a permanent basis, Kristal opened out to more Rock 'n' roll minded acts. '74 saw the arrival of both Blondie
(known then as Angel & The Snake
) and the Ramones
, other noteable bands to play at the venue in the early days were Talking Heads
, The Shirts
and The Fleshtones
. An solidifying move by Kristal
to only allow original tracks to be played at the venue (to avoid paying ASCAP payments) only served to grow the popularity of the club in the early stages and act as a platform for up and coming artists.
As Hardcore Punk became the big underground movement of the '80s, CBs began to run Sunday "Matinee" shows, with cheap evening tickets to see some of the finest Hardcore of that generation. Nothing makes a steak go down better than a glass of wine and Sick of It All screaming Breeders of Hate in your ears... Awesome. Other bands to play these shows included Bad Brains
, Beastie Boys
, Gorilla Biscuits
and Agnostic Front
Sadly the club closed its doors on October 15th 2006. With a number of artists in the club's history returning to bid farewell to CBs. Numerous attempts were made to save the club, with Gus Van Zandt
organising rallies, and even New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg staring that the club was "a great New York institution.
" (BBC News - October 2006) Kristal decided to move the club to Las Vegas, taking as much of the venue as he can to try and preserve its integrity. He even mentioned that he wanted to "... Take the urinals, I'll take whatever I can.
" I can even remember reading somewhere that Kristal
wanted to take the one that he and Joey Ramone
pissed in together, I couldn't the quote sadly... As long as they didn't cross the streams. Less than a year after CBGBs closed, Harry Kristal
sadly passed away from lung cancer on August 28 2007.
I hope you've enjoyed this look back at the history of one of the most important venues in Punk and Hardcore history.
Quote Source - BBC News