Thursday, March 26, 2009

CBGB'S Interactive

As many of you (should) know, CBGB'S was the epicenter of the NYC hardcore/underground rock/punk movement from the early 70's well into the year 2000. If you haven't heard of this joint at least once in your lifetime you need to get out of here and go play your Britney Spears records. The name CBGB stands for Country Blue-Grass and Blues. It was originally slated to cater those genre's of music during it's opening back in 1973, but soon enough a group of promoters convinced owner Hilly Krystal to start doing punk and experimental gigs and it worked well...very well. Throughout the years many of today's established artists who were just starting their careers graced the stage at CBGB'S. Band like The Police, Guns & Roses, The B52's, Radiohead, Tool, U2, Patti Smith, Hole, Soundgarden, Joan Jett, Blondie, Korn, Madonna, New York Dolls, The Offspring, Pearl Jam, Disturbed, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, The Talking Heads, Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, The White Stripes, Monster Magnet, Green Day, Television, Dave Matthew's Band, Anthrax, Cheap Trick and who can forget The Ramones. CBGB'S main focus though was really getting indie/punk bands to play nightly. Names like Agnostic Front, Christian Death, Merzbow, The Dead Kennedy's, Misfits, The Cramps, Type O Negative, The Strokes, Sonic Youth, Bad Brains, The Damned, Cro-Mags, NOFX and so many more to mention played gigs there on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the venue closed down in 2006 due to a rent dispute with the owners of the building. They were claiming Hilly owed something like $91,000 dollars of back rent. It was a very nasty, public dispute that displayed the greed of NYC as well as the change & evolution of the Bowery.

If you ever got a chance to visit this legendary venue you'll remember it's unique vibe that no other club or bar can ever compare to. The low, dank ceilings, the rickety stage, the graffiti/flyer covered walls, the smell! I was lucky enough to go twice during my three year tenure in the big apple since my old landlord's local indie band 'Vitamin-X' played there regularly. I should have gone more. He would invite me to every show, but honestly I would just go to support, not their music (sorry Mikey).

Just recently CBGB'S website launched a very cool interactive tour of the venue before everything was dismantled and closed for good. The tour takes you through every nook and cranny including the bathrooms, stage, lighting deck, back stage, the main soundboard, the entrance (with the old man at his desk as usual) and even behind the bar. It's really hi-res so you can sit there for hours and take it all in, even read the scribblings in the bathroom stalls! Step inside here and enjoy a virtual tour of the most legendary music venue of our time.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The 80's Ninja Craze

I'm not sure why, but the 80's was all about the Ninja and Martial Arts in general. For example, movies like Karate Kid, American Ninja, Revenge Of The Ninja, Pray For Death and who can forget Ninja 3: The Domination were produced. Hasbro/G.I. Joe created the best selling figures of the line, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow which were both Ninja's. Kawasaki launched it's best selling motorcycle, the Kawasaki Ninja. And there were even a series of these magazines launched by Buddhist Priest/Ninja Master/Martial Arts instructor Stephen Hayes, which were simply titled (of course) "Ninja".

Can I just say how much I used to LOVE these Ninja mags! The art, ads, articles and photos were so dope I remember wanting to be a ninja so bad after reading one of these genuine issues. I used to buy these at my local 7-11 in my old neighborhood in Miami Beach. They were loaded with ads of the coolest and latest ninja gear and supplies like chinese stars, samurai swords, nun-chucks, ninja masks and outfits, it was a little boys dream! I bet these days these magazines would be deemed illegal. Anyway, I came across a few covers from these mags on-line. Take a look at them, read the titles and you'll see what I'm talking about. Oh yea, and who can forget Kung-Fu Sunday's on channel 33 here in Miami?!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Down On Fascination Street

Yummy, Fascination Street! Such a crisp, haunting bassline along with Porl Thompson's unforgiving guitar cries simply makes this my favorite song from The Cure. It always sends major chills down my spine every time I hear this beauty of a track. When I would do an 80's Nu-Wave set at Mass or The Kitchen Club I would always have this record in my arsenal. And every time I would play it, it would cram the dancefloor, very tightly.

Long live bear outfits and crazy hair! Here's to the good old days...