I am not going to wax poetic over the closing of CBGB's. I'm sad to see it leave, but I was never there, so I have no personal attachment and I can't be one of those wankers who weeps for a cause they know nothing about. Ian got the also-defunct July for Kings to sign my CD there once, but that's as close as I ever got. While I admire all the greatness that came out of the early days, (The Talking Heads, Blondie, and Patti Smith, specifically) I'm more saddened by what it's become and how it's dying a pop star death instead of a punk one.
CBGB's died years ago. The birthplace of punk burned as soon as Hilly Kristal decided to market tee-shirts to teeny boppers. Why didn't he buy the club lot with the blood money Hot Topic paid him? I bet if you asked any such sporting bimbo to name three bands, not including the Ramones (the tee-shirt of which her mall-emo boyfriend is wearing) that came out of the infamous Bowery bar, she might be able to stammer, "Blondie," but only because that tee-shirt is hanging in her closet.
Worse, he's moving the club to Las Vegas. Vegas, baby, Vegas. How many punks can you imagine in Las Vegas? He'll probably host a star-studded opening with Hilary Duff (sporting her ultra-punky "Stuff" line) and Kevin Federline on the mike. I hope Joey Ramone haunts him for the rest of his days. There's a word in the punk world for this kind of treatment — sellout.
If we wanted to properly memorialize CBGB's, we'd let it die. Having Patti Smith sing at the closing ceremonies was a good touch, but the truth remains that CBGB's is not unlike an aging pop star — desparately clinging to a dead era, exploiting the glory days with a big glittery show in the has-been capital of the world. He might as well design the club with plastic plants in giant brandy snifters and an all-you-can-eat buffet. Can you imagine David Byrne flailing across the stage in his big suit, wailing, "This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, be sure to tip your waitress?"