19 October 2006

Buried underground

CBGB
Coolest club on Earth
1973-2006

How did this happen without anyone telling me?

Of course, I should have known. Last year, my soul sister told me a story from work. She's a high school principal, and some of the kids were speculating about what kind of music she favoured. No jokes about Lawrence Welk from them; I'm sure that they have never heard of him. Or of Cole Porter or Frank Sinatra, or of Trent Reznor or the Red Hot Chili Peppers, any of which would have been correct. She refused to answer, and one kid finally closed the issue with a snort, “She probably listens to rock ’n’ roll.”

Rock, the music of old people.

Just hearing that said will make a fella feel old, well before his time.

What can I say about CBGB that hasn't been said already? That I'm even qualified to say? I was there exactly once, in the company of a dazzling young woman who stopped by to say hello to friends who worked there. This was when I was very young so I hadn't heard of the place ... though I have a hazy memory of being stunned by the names of the bands on some old flyers that were posted somewhere.

I found out through James Wolcott, who was there.

It never occurred to any of us then that someday the CBGB's t-shirt would be a ubiquitous cultural signifier, Richard Hell's byline would grace the op-ed page of the NY Times, the Ramones' “Hey ho/let's go” would rev up car ads, Please Kill Me would be as much a classic of oral history as Edie or Studs Terkel's books, and Deborah Harry would achieve her dye-job dream of being a Warhol superstar in a post-Warhol world.
If that gets ya, he has more, as does Neddie of By Neddie Jingo!

3 comments:

d a r k c h i l d e said...

I'm sorry. I didn't know that you didn't know...or I surely would have filled you in! Yes...it's been put to bed. One last major month of hurrah and huzzah and that's it.

Another lease pulled by a wealthy landowner...another truly american icon bites the dust.

Agnieszka said...

Eh, I think it became little more than a t-shirt store. I'm not sad that it's gone. Now they are talking of moving it all to Los Vegas to continue to capitalize on the tourist attraction aspect of things. Crass and commerical and not punk and hasn't been punk in a long long time.

batojar said...

Oh, sorry. I guess I was supposed to tell you, but it was such a big deal here, I kind of thought it was a big deal everywhere.

I'm afraid agnieszka is right - the last couple of times I popped my head in nothing amazing was happening there. T-shirts did, in fact, rule the day. A move to Las Vegas seems to prove that out.

But oh, what I wouldn't give to slip back down the thread of time to hear Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee bangin' out those three chords like they were all you'd ever need.