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Monday, October 16, 2006

CBGB Closes its Doors

Patti, Dark & Light

Patti Smith, the punk poet who got her musical start at clubs like CBGB was the last artist to play there.

The following is lifted from the NYTimes:

“CBGB is a state of mind,” she said from the stage in a short preshow set for the news media whose highlight was a medley of Ramones songs.

“There’s new kids with new ideas all over the world,” she added. “They’ll make their own places — it doesn’t matter whether it’s here or wherever it is.”

Crowds had been lined up outside since early yesterday morning for a chance to see Ms. Smith and bid farewell to the club, in an event that was carefully orchestrated to maximize media coverage. Television news vans were parked on the Bowery as fans with pink hair, leather jackets and — the most popular fashion statement of the night — multicolored CBGB T-shirts (but not necessarily tickets) waited to be let in and Ms. Smith’s band played a short set for the assembled press.

Curiosity about the club’s last night was mingled with harsh feelings about its fate.

“It’s the cultural rape of New York City that this place is being pushed out,” said John Nikolai, a black-clad 36-year-old photographer from Staten Island whose tie read “I quit.”

Added Ms. Smith outside the club, “It’s a symptom of the empty new prosperity of our city.”

Ms. Smith was CBGB’s last booking as well as one of its first. In the 1970’s, she was the oracular poet laureate of the punk scene, and her seven-week residency in 1975 is still regarded by connoisseurs as the club’s finest moment. With an open booking policy, its founder, Hilly Kristal, nurtured New York rock’s greatest generation, and in turn those groups made CBGB one of the few rock clubs known by name around the world.

“When we first started there was no place we could play, so we ended up on the Bowery,” said Tom Erdelyi, better known as Tommy Ramone, the group’s first drummer and only surviving original member. “It ended up a perfect match.”

Dee Dee & Stiv (buy it!)
Dee Dee Ramone and Stiv Bators cut their punk rock teeth at CB's... they too are gone and not forgotten...

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