09 October, 2006

This Ain't No Disco

CBGB is dead. I never saw a show there, but Hubs' favourite college band (the now-defunct AshCan Van Gogh out of Detroit) played there on what I'm told was a memorable night. Many of my favourite bands (Blondie, The Ramones) got their start there. In a world of glitz, glamour and high drama, CBGB was always about the music. You could only play there if you played your own stuff. No covers allowed.

But now in the aughts, the rough and tumble rock club has fallen to the same fate as Vandyland here in Nashville. The landlords want the club out, the lease is up and that's all she wrote. CBGB is no more. The part of me that loves history mourns the loss. The part of me that loves progress understands why.

What I don't understand is the punk palace's second chapter. Get this:
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. ... "I always said Hilly should go to Vegas," said McNeil. "Girls with augmented breasts playing Joey Ramone slot machines. It would become an institution."

Huh? Are they serious? Apparently so. It would seem that the best way to memorialise rock history is with the very glitz and plastic that the club eschewed. On one level I get that this is Rock and Roll, and is never far from flashtrash glamour. But on another level, CBGB was always about the music. Oh well. I suppose that's just another side effect of life during wartime.


At 10:07 AM, October 09, 2006, Blogger ceeelcee said...

There's a casino in downtown Vegas, Main Street Station, where you can pee on a 20 foot section of the the Berlin Wall in the men's room.

They have a history of buying history and screwing it up.

That's why I call Vegas "The World's Biggest Food Court." You can go to a mall version of Commander's Palace or Le Cirque, but you need to know it's not real.

At 10:14 AM, October 09, 2006, Blogger Sarcastro said...


I was in Main Street Station last month and did not avail myself of the historic facilities.

At 12:07 PM, October 09, 2006, Blogger Lee said...

Was it the section that David Hasselhoff sang on?

At 12:39 PM, October 09, 2006, Anonymous nm said...

I hate to break the news to you and yur husband, but for the past 15 years or so CBGB's has been about the (anti)glamor, (anti)glitz, and dramatic memories of the brief time when the club actually mattered. This is not to knock Hilly, who kept an institution going through 3 addresses and untold numbers of musical movements (remember, it started out as Country, Blue Grass & Blues). But the cool kids hadn't been playing there for a decade, the bathrooms were recognized as the filthiest on the NYC club scene (hey, that might be worth putting on show in Vegas), and if they had been doing any business there Hilly could have afforded the higher rent. I think taking the remains to Vegas is odd, but the club had already become CBGB-World.

At 4:37 PM, October 09, 2006, Anonymous thehomelessguy said...

Padlock on the gate. I look over the fence, and see that management has already drained the pool. Back to the garage goes the snorkels, bamboo mat, and hawaiian tropic.


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