CBGB OMFUG 1973-2006



Once upon a time, way back in 1973, long before pop stars had decent hair straighteners, a bunch of people began hanging out in a dirty little bar on The Bowery in New York City and invented something called 'punk' so that one day we would have Busted. If they had known then that 'emo' would cock the whole thing up they might have done something else. Perhaps they would have invented Steps.

For several years CBGB played a significant part in providing us with some of the most exciting acts pop music has ever known. For the past two decades, it has contributed precisely nothing except a line of t-shirts for stylists to provide to clueless celebrities. Now, following a failed attempt to save the club by selling candy bars, CBGB is being evicted and setting up a franchise in Las Vegas, effectively putting them on the same level of integrity as The Pussycat Dolls.

Regardless, this is the very sad passing of an important landmark and all the fans of popular music that have made the pilgrimage to smell the magic (along with those that will never have the chance) shall miss it. This Saturday evening, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein will return to their very first stage for an 'acoustic set' (probably 'keeping it simple' to avoid more embarrassing encounters with former members of Blondie). On Sunday evening, Patti Smith, who started it all by reading poetry about piss set to music, will be the final ever performer. Patti is now pushing boundaries by growing a slight mustache, which is actually quite endearing.

In a year when pop lost Smash Hits and TOTP, it is perhaps only fair that indie also take a blow. So long CBGB! Thanks so much for the good bits.


(Plausible But Probably Not True) Great Moments in CBGB History
1973 - Tom Verlaine writes the name of his band 'Television' on the wall while taking a shit.
1975 - Richard Hell accidentally injects Cheetah Chrome's medicated shampoo into his arm
1977 - DeeDee Ramone thinks he was given head by a 'chick' in the back hall
1978 - Stiv Bators hangs himself six times trying to perfect his microphone swing. He dies each time.
1979 - Teenage Jesus and The Jerks destroy the sound system and invent 'No Wave' when James Chance accidentally steps on Lydia Lunch's big toe. Brian Eno records the entire thing on a dictaphone.
1983 - Stephen Malkmus announces that Agnostic Front is "The Greatest Band Of All Time" at a Sunday hardcore matinee
1987 - The entire audience of a sold out Swans concert go missing for three years
1996 - Four people declare "This is the future of music!" at an Atari Teenage Riot show
1999 - Six friends, one girlfriend and two sets of parents from New Jersey make up the entirety of the audience for the CBGB debut of Curtis Gable and Chuckie Simmons' band Lemonade Machine. They break up the band afterwards when they discover the minivan was stolen and blame one another.
2003 - Matt Willis and James Bourne flee the basement in horror upon discovering (probably Tom Verlaine's) shit on the toilet at 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon. They film the experience for their reality tv show.


CLICK HERE to buy your dog a CBGB t-shirt.

Don't worry pop purists, the place would never have been a very good disco anyway.
I've mixed emotions.

On the one hand, CBs wasn't doing anything to harm me, so I've no reason to be happy that it's gone.  Music history, etc. etc.

On the other, when my sister and her roommate (who constantly moan about the 'trashy europop you listen to') call me up and ask if, despite my having lived in Manhattan for three years and never having set foot inside that smelly poseur-filled dive, I'd like them to buy me a commemorative T-shirt before the wrecking ball hits, I kind of chuckle.


RIP, CBGB OMFUG.  Here's hoping they don't evict any of the great American pop clubs!*

NEW YORK (Reuters) - In a vibrant farewell to the legendary punk-rock venue CBGB, Blondie singer Deborah Harry played a final show on Saturday in a tribute to the club that was a launching pad for her career, but is due to close at the end of the month.

Taking the tiny stage at the dank, crumbling club wearing red gloves and swaying her now strawberry blond hair, Harry sang many of the hits that made Blondie a wildly successful band in the 1970s an 80s.

She kicked off with "Hanging on the Telephone" and the 1980 hit "Call Me.

"This is a little weird, you know, but anything for old CB's," she told the capacity crowd that included young musicians, Blondie groupies and aging rock fans.

"What are we going to do now? Where are we going to go?" she asked before launching into "Tide Is High."

Harry, 61, played the acoustic set with Blondie guitarist Chris Stein that included "One Way or Another" and a cover of the Ramones song "I want to be your Boyfriend."



Patti Smith also covered Blondie's 'The Tide Is High' on Sunday night during the final show.

"Kids, they'll find some other club," Ms. Smith insisted during her set. "You just got a place, just some crappy place, that nobody wants, and you got one guy who believes in you, and you just do your thing. And anybody can do that, anywhere in the world, any time."

So that's all done, then.