Mourn, punk rock fans…

Last night, Patti Smith performed the final concert (see here as well) at punk rock Mecca CBGB. Today, they are planning on beginning to dismantle the club. The club’s demise was the result of a prolonged landlord-tenant dispute, and the landlord declined to renew the lease.

Many bands that I grew up to love, like Talking Heads, Blondie, the Ramones, and the Patti Smith Group got exposure there and grew into national acts.

It is truly a sad day in music history, and owner Hilly Krystal’s solution just won’t be the same:

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.”

As blasphemous as it may be, my suggestion is that, if CBGB must move to Vegas, the only appropriate place for the new CBGB to relocate would be at New York, New York.


  1. #1 Raymond
    October 16, 2006

    As much as I love the music that came from CBGBs, the linked article really only tells part of the story. It was more than a simple landlord tenant dispute.

    Hilly Kristal has owed his landlord quite a lot of money for a long time. And this isn’t some faceless moneybags landlord, the building is owned by a homeless shelter and outreach program. A settlement was agreed upon a few years ago, when Kristal owed months of back rent. But Kristal refused to live up to the agreement.

    Really, I love what came from that venue in the 70s and 80s, but this is really CBGBs and Kristal’s fault, at the expense of a very needed social service organization.

  2. #2 RPM
    October 16, 2006

    I think CBGBs died long ago, and ABC No Rio took its place.

  3. #3 RPM
    October 16, 2006

    …and 924 Gilman St.

  4. #4 PhysioProf
    October 17, 2006

    According to a NY Times article, Kristal has come to an agreement with the mayor of Las Vegas that CBGB would relocate to a free-standing building in the Fremont Street district, which is supposedly intended to become the Las Vegas version of Beale Street or Bourbon Street.

    As far as blame goes, these kinds of disputes always are spoken of as “well, tenant owed all this back rent”, “well, landlord didn’t keep the property in proper repair”, “well, landlord is looking for an extortionate rent”, “well, tenant is looking for a free ride”. These kinds of disputes always really come down to, current tenant can’t afford the rent that landlord thinks he can get from different tenant.

  5. #5 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    October 18, 2006

    Fremont Street district, which is supposedly intended to become the Las Vegas version of Beale Street or Bourbon Street.

    Isn’t Freemont St. where the big overheard light display / screen is? If it’s where I am remembering from Vegas this seems like a horrible idea.

    Ugh, seems like a really anti-punk kind of place for CBGB and OMFUG to go.

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