Back To The Classics

Back To The Classics

Ramones, Television, Patti Smith Group, Blondie, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Talking Heads and so many more. We all know these legendary bands. We all know of their success. However do you ever really stop and wonder, “Well how did they get their start?” It all started in a little pub called CBGB.

CBGB stands for Country, Bluegrass, and Blues. In 1973 on 315 Bowery interluding Bleecker Street in Easy Village, Hilly Kristal opened this club with the intention to only play those three types of music. Kristal was one of those men with the intention of settling a calm and collected bar with a few shows performing smooth music and an easy going environment.

Well that didn’t happen. Once Kristal opened the joint he had issues trying to find music groups to perform fitting his specifications. The groups who came through were young punk kids who Hilly was not impressed with. Yet he gave them a chance. He was in debt and had no other choices. So he let these small town punk bands perform.

After getting the word out the club became increasing popular. Just about everyone with a guitar, drums, a base, and a vocalist played in Hilly’s place. Once the club got going the bands playing because more popular and then started to become regulars at his place. As the regulars were more demanded, scouts came and other talent agents would come and view the bands of Kristal’s bar, wanting to take them over. Hilly actually managed some of his regulars.

For example, there was a band that became called the Dead Boys that Hilly managed. It was a group of three semi-talented immature young guys into doing drugs and promoting self hurt and anguish during their sets. Anyway Kristal went through an sent the boys on tour. During their tour the boys were driving their tour truck and were drinking, fighting, hurting themselves then ended up crashing the truck and losing all the money Hilly gave them. But that is a story for another time!

Hilly Kristal was a devoted and determined man. Even when someone like the Dead Boys lost his money, he still would not give up his club. It was the most important thing in his life. Without this club there wouldn’t have been any of the bands I named earlier. The CBGB club persevered their careers. Can you imagine the world without Blondie or the Ramones? I can’t!