Hilly Kristal @ CMJ

Two days after CBGB owner Hilly Kristal finished vacating his club on the Bowery, CMJ managed to get him on stage in front of badge-holding CMJ attendees. They billed it like this:

CBGB: The Ultimate Reunion (November 2): Famous alumni of CBGB gather to reminisce about the legendary club how it made a difference in their lives and changed the face of music. This reunion will be a fond look back at one of the most influential music venues in rock history. This panel is moderated by journalist/author Legs McNeil. Panelists include: Blondie co-founder/guitarist Chris Stein; original Ramones drummer Tommy Ramone; the Smithereens lead singer Pat DiNizio; CBGB owner/founder Hilly Kristal; Bad Brains bass player Darryl Jenifer; photographer Roberta Bayley, and others.

Hilly Kristal @ CMJ

Some things I learned:

  • Everything Hilly was able to salvage from the original club is in storage in CT - the bar, walls, toilets, stage, etc.
  • He confirmed that everything will eventually find its way to Vegas where he feels more welcome - specifically he said (again) that Las Vegas' mayor is more welcoming than NYC's mayor. That's fine, but should all of NYC be "punished" because of the actions of the mayor?
  • The new CBGB will be in the old section of Las Vegas which he compared to the East Village
  • I figured they would turn CBGB into something like Hard Rock Cafe or Planet Hollywood. In fact, Hilly specifically mentioned that he will never sell the club just to make sure it never resembles the Hard Rock Cafe. Naively or not, he envisions the new CBGB to be much like the old one - a place where any band coming through Las Vegas can stop in and play. That's awesome, but hopefully he doesn't also envision horrible smells and toilets without stalls around them.


Hilly Kristal @ CMJ