Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Remembrance of Things Past

CBGB's closed at the beginning of the week. Sad. Very sad.

My husband Brian estimated that he and his band - the Cavedogs played at least 50 gigs there. As a partner of a rock musician, I put in my own time at a zillion CMJ showcases in the 80's and early 90's. It was hard to get too excited about venturing inside the club after Ben was born - unless it was an early accoustic show. But I guess I always thought it would be there. Like the Statue of Liberty.

After all of Brian's touring he would make me laugh with his countdown of the worst men's rooms he'd encountered as a rock musician. CBGB's did have a solid place in the top ten. I smiled to see that the NYTimes included a shot of the club's graffitti filled, poster plastered, sinklesss bathroom. When I showed it to Brian he said "Are you kidding me? That's the women's room - - a virtual lap of luxury! For starters the men's room never had an actual toilet seat."

He liked CBGB's and was grateful for the exposure it gave his band (which was eventually signed to Capitol Records) and other emerging musicians just like him. You could be a beginner there.

Here is an exerpt from a recent web interview with Patti Smith. She played the last show at CBGB's on Sunday night.

Rolling Stone: Did you ever feel threatened (in CBGB's neighborhood or in the club during the 70's)?

Patti Smith: I never felt threatened. I feel more threatened now. I feel confined by the intense commercialism. The stores, the shopping, these people all night long in their limos, acting like they own our little streets. New York to me was the worker city, the artist city. It was a place to get your shit together. Now it's a place people come to with their shit together. They have a lot of money, and they want condos. They want high life. They come to film here and have fashion shows. You try to walk on your street, and they act like they own it.

Cities should be edgy. They are edgy parts of America. They are not suburbia. They are supposed to be a melting pot of struggles, a collective force of ideas and energy. I watched horrified recently -- NYU students coming in with truckloads of fancy stuff. Magic Chef stoves and boxes with new computers. I mean, these are not struggling college kids. Get a hot plate. Drink some Nescafé.....

You said it Patti. What they don't get is that what makes this city great is what they're destroying.

News flash: money isn't enough. it can't eclipse the art. smart people know that.


Dr. Deb said...

I thought there was a fundraiser a while back? Sheesh, I gave money back then. Where the heck did all go?

Oh well, I'll wear my CBGB t-shirt with even greater pride now.


Kranki said...

How sad. A cultural icon gone. But it sounds like the whole vibe in the neighbourhood changed anyway. I just saw a Ramones docu and the club was heavily featured. Wow! just think of the history. *shivers in awe*

Kranki said...

I literally woke in the middle of the night thinking, "A place cannot be an icon. It is called a landmark!"

Sorry about that.

east village idiot said...

dr. deb - that is a very good question....

kranki - anything goes on this blog. if you call it a cultural icon - then hell - so do I!