February 10, 2012
News Item Plans are supposedly in progress to reopen the iconic Lower Manhattan nightclub CBGB’s. New owners of the CBGB estate are angling for a new Manhattan spot instead of trying to move back into the old location (now the site of a very pricey John Varvatos boutique). Were it to actually reopen, owners could collect the club’s artifacts from a Williamsburg storage unit, where they’ve been sitting since the venue closed in 2006 after a 33-year run.
Caught the recent showing of Behind the Music with Blondie.
Heh–love the part when the rest of the band is jealous because Deborah Harry got too much attention…..Duh , motherfuckers!
Yeah, she’s prolly the worst rapper of all time, but them lips? Damn!
Anyway, the episode included all the de rigueur shots of the shadowy bowels of that beloved club, the grafitti plastered walls and the wobbly stage.
And yeah, ya can’t go 12 minutes into the show or 2 paragraphs into an article about CB’s without someone throwing in a pic of that gloriously funky toilet!
Well sir, these recent hints of a resurrection, the images flashing across the screen of its glory days,it took me back to our own fond adventures within those sticky walls.
Our first trip back E in the winter of 1982, when it seems like we dropped in and played a set at CB’s every other night for 2 weeks.
And the toilet? Oh yeh, I dropped deuce in that baby, what you think?!
Oh brother, is that what I hear ya mutter?
Not another trip back to the good old days with these old coots, not again?
Hey, I feel ya shorty.
We’ll move on in just a minute, but I’ll tell you one thing:
When ya see me wearing that goddamned Tshirt that’s been ruined forever by overexposure, guess what?
They gave me that fucker for actually playing there, not because I begged Uncle Phil to get me one at Nordstrom’s for my birthday!
Ya got me?
In the years that followed, we’d always come back to NYC, almost as only an excuse to get back into that goddamned club!
And though sometimes the hair was longer, the waistband a little more….relaxed, we always had a blast there.
And then when the touring slowed, finally stopped, and everyone grew up, what happened then?
I would drop into the club, what? 1995? ’96? nostalgic for those old nights.
But the club had changed just as much as I had.
Oh, it still smelled like a swamp and I could still trace my carved initials outside the dressing room, but it held none of the excitement or danger of the past.
As if the very mortar and brick could sense that I was there on a company expense account and staying midtown, a poseur after all, it witheld any of its former charms as I would sit and watch a couple awful bands.
It was just like the Whisky back home, relegated to pay to play bills of goofballs, the audience populated by family members and coworkers, all grumpy to be there on a Wednesday night.
Not a sincere chord strummed all night, not a trace of cocaine on the urinal or a drunken slut bumming smokes in the hall.
Of course, at the end , everyone came back to the club.
With news that CBGB’s was closing, a bunch of West Coast bands came out in 2005 for Benefit for CBGB’s, a weekend that accomplished….um, what exactly?
Did they make money, flying us all out there and putting us up for a weekend?
It was more like a last visit with the dying rich old aunt, her bulging estate palpable to us greedy nephews who fought to fluff the pillows on her deathbed.
It was fun, to be sure, those last few shows, and yeah we got a little weepy and melodramatic as we waxed drunkenly over the loss of another great club.
But it was after all, only a building, and the magic that it held, the bands and the people, long gone.
And so now they think this little club may just pop up again eh?
Oh, clever rascals, they took each jewel-like plank of stage, every molding rafter from that musky joint and put in storage like the treasures of Tutankhamun.—and someone’s got that goddamned toilet in a vault, don’t you worry!
I’ve heard the rumors, its gonna be in Vegas, housed amongst the other fiberglass NY icons in the New York New York casino.
Or perhaps up in SF, a protected shrine compliments of the twin punk millionaires of Tim Armstrong and Billy Joe.
Also, a convincing rumor that it will be franchised by Sysco Food Corporation in their airport snack bars.
Part of their NYHC comes to Chili’s and Chili’s Express located by Gate 64b!, where a single urine-soaked plank from the club will be placed under spotlights and they’ll serve a special of Yeung Leung and a shot of Maker’s for only 18 bucks!
Will we let this fly?
Will we, the grumpy old punkers of yesteryear, as rigid and and surprisingly traditionalist as a group of Mormon librarians?
Or perhaps we’ll take to the latest fad in lazy protest momentum, the Facebook petition?
Oh sure, the Susan G. Komen foundation can’t appease the clinic bombers any longer, and Sharon Osbourne will be bullied into letting Bill Ward into Sabbath, but can we stop the corporate Gods from bringing back our beloved club?
And if it does happen, if they do happen to reincarnate those soggy walls, reconstruct that unspeakable bathroom to modern health codes, what then?
Will we relent, and go back in, taking our children by the hand to show them what a real club looked like?
Hell yeah we will!