Webster Hall


Acronyms in the modern world get a lot of flakespecially when high school teachers see Internet slang making its way into term papersbut if there were ever an acronym worthy of admiration, it’s CBGB & OMFUG. Let it roll off your tongue–you can sense the sly humor and underground attitude before you ever even learn what it means. Which, by the way, is County Bluegrass Blues and Other Music for Upstanding Gourmandizers.The club was founded in 1973 by Hilly Kristal, who had owned a bar on the property for the four years previous. As you might guess from the name, Kristal originally intended the club to feature performers from a very small selection of genres. However, local proto-punks Bill Page and Rusty McKenna convinced Kristal to let him book acts for the club. Back then, the venue became known as the place to catch purveyors of the modern punk and new-wave sounds. Today, the club is legendary for launching the careers of numerous bands and performers.The list of artists who either had their first show there and/or rose to stardom soon after their performance include: the Patti Smith Group, the Stillettos (featuring Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, and Amanda Jones), the Ramones, the Talking Heads, the Fleshtones, the Heartbreakers, the Policeand that was before the bar became known for its hardcore matinee shows in the 1980s. Recognizable groups from this era include Bad Brains, Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, Gorilla Biscuits, The Misfits, Sick of it All, and Youth of Today.Unfortunately, today CBGB is itself a legend, having closed down on October 15, 2006. The closing was the result of a 91,000 back rent that the Bowery Residents’ Committee charged Kristal, while he claimed that he had never been informed of any rent increases. Patti Smith ushered the band out as the final performer, with guests including Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Richard Lloyd (Television). Since its closing, a fashion store opened in the space in 2008, and an art gallery opened next door. However, the gallery closed down a year later. Meanwhile, Kristal himself died in 2007.A comic book chronicling the history and attitude of the club premiered in July. You can still visit the club’s website (cbgb.com) where you can find info on the bands who played there, looks back at the day in history, and listen to CBGB iheartradio (online streaming radio playing many of the club’s distinctive artists). While the club itself has passed on, it remains a fond memory for everyone who ever played, moshed, got drunk, or fell in love thereand so long as one of those people remains, so does CBGB.

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