CBGB - The Age of Punk

CBGB was the New York City music club opened in 1973 by the late Hilly Kristal in Manhattan's East Village. Kristal says it best in CBGB's website: "That first year the questions most asked of me is, "What does CBGB stand for?" I reply, "It stands for the kind of music I intended to have, but not the kind of music that we became famous for: COUNTRY BLUEGRASS BLUES." The next question is always, "but what does OMFUG stand for?" and I say, "That's more of what we do, it means OTHER MUSIC FOR UPLIFTING GOURMANDIZERS." And what is a gourmandizer? It's a voracious eater of, in this case, MUSIC.

I can't begin to tell you how many times I've been asked those questions. A lot of people believe that OMFUG stands for something dirty, but the truth is, I felt that CBGB sounded so pat that I wanted something to go with it that sounded a little uncouth, or crude.

THE OBVIOUS FOLLOW UP QUESTION IS OFTEN, “IS THIS YOUR FAVORITE KIND OF MUSIC?”
No!!! I've always liked all kinds but half the radio stations all over the U.S. were playing country music, cool juke boxes were playing blues and bluegrass as well as folk and country. Also, a lot of my artist/writer friends were always going off to some fiddlers convention (bluegrass concert) or blues and folk festivals. So I thought it would be a whole lot of fun to have my own club with all this kind of music playing there. Unfortunately - or perhaps FORTUNATELY - things didn't work out quite the way I'd expected. That first year was an exercise in persistence and a trial in patience. My determination to book only musicians who played their own music instead of copying others, was indomitable. ORIGINALITY (to me) WAS PRIME, TECHNIQUE TOOK SECOND PLACE.

DISCO GIVES BIRTH TO “STREET ROCK” AND LATER PUNK...was an exercise in persistence and a trial in patience. My determination to book only musicians who played their own music instead of copying others, was indomitable. ORIGINALITY (to me) WAS PRIME, TECHNIQUE TOOK SECOND PLACE.

Thank you Hilly Kristal, that explains it!

In honor of CBs, we presented CBGB The Age of PunkRetrospective at our gallery hosted by DEBBIE HARRY and CHRIS STEIN of BLONDIE. See NY1 coverage here.

These images were exhibited at our galleries for CBGB - The Age of Punk. All images here are available as fine art limited edition prints signed by the photographers or their estates.


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