CBGB, also CBGB's or CB's is a club in the Manhattan Bowery district of New York City, New York. The full name is CBGB & OMFUG which stands for "Country, Bluegrass, and Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers".
"And gormandizers is a voracious eater of, in this case, music." - Hilly Kristal, proprietor of CBGB.
CBGB's was founded in 1973, by Hilly Kristal. Kristal renovated the space from the defunct "Palace Bar", a seedy Bowery pit. At around 4000 square feet, it was the largest bar in the area, which made it better to pack in the Country, Blue Grass, and Blues fans Kristal was hoping to attract. Later that year, struggling to keep the bar afloat, Kristal was approached by the band Television. They were rock, but Kristal decided to give them a shot. The gig went terribly in Kristal's opinion, but through persistance, Television's manager booked at CBGB for another gig, but this time added a new band called The Ramones to the bill.
Max's Kansas City, the first real punk club,set the stage when it opened in 1965. Max's was the birthplace of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, The New York Dolls and Iggy & the Stooges. In fact, it was a Max's star, Wayne County, who was the first of the NY bands to play at CBGB's in Dec. 73, months before Television even set foot in the place. In fact, Television first heard of CBGB because of the Wayne County gig.
Around the same time (1973 and 1974), the Patti Smith Group began performing at various locations, settling in to CBGBs in time. It was at this early juncture that critics began to call the music played there "punk" rock, from the customers who would frequent a Bowery nightclub very late at night.
Mink DeVille, Blondie, The Ramones, Talking Heads, and many other bands followed in quick succession. Malcolm McLaren saw the fashions of Richard Hell (then of Television) and the sound of The New York Dolls,whom he'd managed for a short period of time, and brought back both ideas for the group he had just begun managing, the Sex Pistols.
CBGB has announced it will close indefinitely on October 31, 2006. According to a Pitchfork news clip, the venue has been in a long legal battle with the Bowery Residents' Committee:
- "The BRC is a nonprofit organization that houses 250 homeless New Yorkers in the building at 315 Bowery where CBGB is located. As previously reported, the club’s lease with the BRC expired on August 31, and Hilly Kristal, owner of the bar since 1973, was presented with an eviction notice after much fighting."
- The agreement raises CBs rent from $19,000 to $35,000 a month until owner and founder Hilly Kristal is forced to leave the building in October 2006. He says he's looking at potential locations in Manhattan and is considering Las Vegas as a site to open a sister club.
"We're looking here and there, and we may have both places or we may only have one place," Kristal told CMJ. "We're partnering with some people that we'll talk about in a week."