Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hilly Kristal, 1932-2007.

Last year I posted about the perhaps temporary demise of the famous new wave rock venue CBGB & OMFUG. At the time, I noted, there was a possibility that the club might reopen at a different location, although that location might be Las Vegas, not New York.

Yesterday, as I was sad to learn, lung cancer counted as its latest victim CBGB's founder and guiding spirit, Hilly Kristal.


  1. Yo.

    Sad, indeed.

    Don't know if you've seen it, but Summer Of Sam (Spike Lee) does a pretty nice job of chronicling the "battle" betwixt the waning disco culture and the rising punk culture. But I have to admit that I hated the movie.

    I'm no great fan of punk rock, but it did allow for some musical "exploring" that wouldn't have been possible without the punk movement.

    I only saw the place once. But at that time, I had absolutely no idea how rich the club's history was. I.e., I was more interested in seeing The Village Vanguard.

    Still, sad.

    (Yankees rule all!)

  2. What a sad development. First, they move the club to a soulless city in the middle of an arid wasteland, and then the man who started it all succumbs to cancer. So many of my favorite bands came out of that dive, yet I've never been there.

    They must have been heady days, though - with Debbie Harry, Talking Heads, and Ramones being regular local features, and all the cutting edge bands of note hitting the place as they came through. Everybody who is anybody played at CBGB's. What an icon.

    Moving it to Vegas will ruin it eventually, of course. The country needs another place for the innovative people to go and be heard, to counter the homogeneity of corporate music - not that it wasn't an issue back then, either, but at least at CBGB's you could hear Heart of Glass done reggae style - the way it was written.

    Thanks for posting this, Claude, I hadn't heard. But I guess the draw of the place was dead to me once they moved it anyway. Now Crystal's real monument is in Vegas, far away from the place where he made something amazing happy. Sad.

    zpwnecr: Zappa was never crowned.