Kill Worthless Punk Nostalgia: ‘Punk Shrine’ CBGB


The grieving over CBGB–a rock club that probably went fifteen years without a worthwhile booking, before turning on the nostalgia waterworks in 2006 and wrapping things up with Sonic Youth et al–hits a new, inexplicable low today as Hilly Kristal’s ex-wife takes to the Times to malign the daughter they had together. “We were all scared of her,” says former Ramones manager Danny Fields about Karen Kristal. “She was like a witch. She was always carrying a broom.” Clearly the fact that this legal dispute–did she sign the club over to her ex-husband in 2005 or not, and how much money out of the $3 mil floating around now does she deserve, basically–is about a rock club has inspired the participants to get a little worked up and even, at one point, to quote Meat Loaf.

“A lot of this will turn on whether there is any corroborating documentary evidence,” says Michael S. Elkin, the intellectual property guy brought into comment, “and whether or not this 83-year-old woman can withstand a fierce cross-examination, because it’s going to come at her like a bat out of hell.”

The real question is why anyone feels compelled to drag CBGB back into the newspaper. Every fact here was known as of more than a year ago–Mike Clancy even did the same exact story in the Voice then, except he got the hilarious George Tabb to talk to him rather than old-times quote-machine Handsome Dick Manitoba. So I guess the peg is the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex NYC, which has CBGB “artifacts”? This contemptible sobbing at the demise of a terrible club has officially hit the ouroboros point, the snake of nostalgia eating the tail of slightly different institutionalized reminiscence, a few decades at least after anyone should care. My vote: Light all of it, and the money, on fire.

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