Stories From Main Street: Rebirth Planned For Manhattan Music Mecca CBGB
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – CBGB was a rock and roll temple. It was the cradle of punk, an incubator for Blondie, the B-52s, the Talking Heads, and the Ramones.
WCBS 880’s Sean Adams On The Story
It was a dark, gritty, cavernous club on the Bowery with a cast of characters as colorful as the graffiti-covered walls.
But it closed in October of 2006 following a rent dispute. Owner Hilly Kristal died the next year.
His daughter Lisa has since approached Tim Hayes, a friend from the music business.
“CBGBs means so much to so many people around the world and we’re trying to preserve that and we’re not here to cash in. We’re here to bring a little more life and a little more noise to music in New York,” Hayes told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams. “She suggested that we buy it. She thought that we would be the perfect custodians.”
So Hayes and musician Joe D’Urso scraped together investors and bought the brand.
“People who are in the arts understand it. You can’t really put a price or a value on what kind of artistic fuel that gives you to keep going,” D’Urso said.
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They’re hunting for a new location, reported Adams.
To christen the resurrection, there will be the inaugural CBGB Festival featuring 300 bands at 30 venues from July 5 through July 8.
“David Johansen is involved in our festival and Cheetah Chrome from the Dead Boys,” D’Urso said.
Selecting the bands for the festival is Louise Parnassa-Staley who, for 20 years, sat across from Hilly Kristal and booked the club.
“I think he would be very excited,” she said. “It’s about live music and spirit. When the club closed, music didn’t die.”
Also on staff is Tim McGrath, a former agent for the Ramones.
“CBs I hold it dear to my heart,” he said “It was the first place I ever saw the Police.”
Hayes said they’re not trying to recreate a moment in time. They just want to rekindle the spirit.
“We want to support new music, young talent, and give them an opportunity to make some noise and share their art,” Hayes said.
By the way, if you’re wondering what CBGB stood for, it’s Country, BlueGrass, and Blues. OMFUG stood for Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers.
What’s your favorite memory of CBGB? Share your story in the comments section below.