Monday, October 16, 2006

The End of an Era

I am a child of the 80s where legwarmers were mandatory and punk rock was king. Then came high-school with Velvet Underground and Sex Pistols blaring over my radio while racing my friends to school (in my baby blue tank affectionately known as “the-granny-mobile” or “gran”) kool-aid red hair, fishnets, a mid-drift Anarchy-T and combat boots was my let’s go out garb (until the headmistress of Notre Dame Prep commented: “either you dye it back or cut it off….either way it’s gone by tomorrow).

Of course, you’d never tell my anarchic days past by looking at me now, a vision in Ralph Lauren and Betsy Fisher but step into my office around 4:00 p.m. on most days I’ve got the Ramones, or Offspring floating through my speakers.

And so it is with a glistening tear on my cheek and Blondie in my ears that I bid farewell to a musical mecca, the fabled CBGBs, OMFUG who’s stage heard its last resounding note as it passed the lips of Patti Smith. CBGBs not only provided an outlet for the original music of countless artists, but has also served as an inspiration for the clubs that we know and frequent such local musical gems as 9:30 and The Black Cat. It is quite possible that I am out of touch with the proverbial ‘skin heads’ of today, but looking around the Music Video, cyberspace generation – I can find no equivalent with this gratified, dilapidated, beautiful utopia of musical expression and freedom of thought.

Of the future of underground music, Patti Smith said last night “CBGB is a state of mind and what’s going to happen is young kids all over the world are going to have their own f*cking clubs and they won’t care about CBGB because they’re going to have the new places, and the new places are always the most important.” Are the new places always the most important? Or do we have to stand in the memories and sounds of the past in order create something new and lasting?

Well, no matter what the answer, lovers of underground music will have to stand, jump, slamdance and sing along somewhere away from 315 Bowery but I have no doubt the music will play on.

So as you pack up and move your walls, stools and urinals out west, I would like to say thank you CBGBs for your sticker-covered stage, worn down with time. Thank you for your sticky floor and grafitti covered staircase. Thank you for opening your doors to all musicians wanting to make a statement and stand out and to the listeners who filed in to be inspired. And most importantly thank you for music that defined a generation, a school of thought, an era. Music that ignited the night with passionate fire* - and still burns.


*Jonathan Larson, Rent

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