Hilly Kristal, founder of CBGB, dies
Hilly Kristal, the founder of famous New York rock club CBGB OMFUG (Country, Bluegrass, Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gourmandizers) has died of complications related to lung cancer. He was 75.
The excerpted obit below does more justice to Kristal and the club than I could do here, so I will let it do most of the work. Please click through to read the whole thing.
The only thing I will say is this: I was born well past the prime of CBGB, and only saw the inside of it once, just before it closed its doors for the last time. When I was in New York again, this spring, the famous awning had been removed, leaving behind only the metal framework that once held the spot up as a landmark. The only way that the club now lives is through that ubiquitous CBGB shirt, and most who wear it don't even know what it means--or even what the letters stand for. The fact that the powers that be failed to make it an historical site is a crime against humanity, but it is also to be bittersweetly expected. The Man should never really love CBGB. Hilly made this true as long as he could.
The non-feigned seediness, the pretentious unpretentiousness, and the permanently (and infamously, to the point of rock cliche) filthy crapper helped it to become the prototypical punk rock club, and once the original crop of '70s punk and new wave bands had ascended to mainstream stardom or fizzled into nothing, it became the place where teenage hooligans sped up and thugged-out their rock minimalism until it became boneheaded New York hardcore.