The rumors are everywhere. By the time you read this, maybe CBGB's is a faint memory of days gone by. Maybe it's a chain with a 'destination' store in Las Vegas. Ever since punk blossomed out of the scene birthed by Television, The Ramones, Talking Heads and Blondie, I desperately wanted to play there.
Alas, no band.
Well, of course I went there to enjoy the endless parade of black clad bands that did play. Unfortunately I didn't see anyone I could remotely say lived up to Punk's glory days, when, um, actually, punk was kind of melodic, and if you think about it, not entirely quite as minimal or cartoonish as The Ramones were.
Most memorable punk show I saw wasn't even at CB's but at The Continental, another legendary joint a couple blocks away, and probably not long for this world either. In the mid-nineties two friends of mine were playing in Iggy Pop's band – Eric Schermerhorn (Guitar) and Hal Cragin (Bass) – and they had let us in on a 'secret' performance. So, naturally, after wrapping things up at the studio, Chris Fosdick and I went downtown to be part of the scene.
Got there a little early and staked out our claim to two spots in the middle of the club. No seats mind you; we just stood there. By the time the show started, though, not only was the place packed, it was scary overcrowded. Women were standing on the bar, which could have been sexy, but they looked like they were reaching for oxygen rich air that perhaps floated nearer to the ceiling. As for where Chris and I stood, what seemed like great a vantage point before, now gave off a dread like vibe from the knowledge that we were in the inescapable midst of an insufferable death trap.
And then Iggy came out and he fookin' rocked, dude!
Word got out; I guess some calls were made by concerned neighbors, and eventually the fire department came 'round and shut the show down, which was the right thing to do, and only added to Iggy's bad boy rep. In fact, it was such a strategic move, that I wouldn't be surprised if it was his manager having a Big Mac next door who placed the 911 call. Hell, I know the people sitting in Mickey D's saw the walls buckles as soon as Iggy hit the stage. The sound sucked of course. It was just one big roar punctuated by intermittent preening.
I think downtown hipsters will agree, something cool about it, tho'.
CBGB's, Iggy Pop