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.