RIP CBGB Founder Hilly Kristal

Less than a year following the forced closing of legendary New York rock club CBGB, its founder Hilly Kristal is dead from lung cancer at the age of 75.

From the BBC:

Born in 1932, Kristal became a concert violinist at the age of nine. He went on to manage New York jazz club the Village Vanguard before opening CBGB in a derelict bar in East Village in 1973.

The venue, whose full title CBGB OMFUG stood for ‘country, bluegrass, blues and other music for uplifting gourmandisers’, was originally launched to showcase country music.

Instead the club became a breeding ground for punk rock.

Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, who first played CBGB in the late 1980s, said: “So many bands would have never have made records unless they came to CBGB.”

The club’s final shows, in October last year, featured Patti Smith and Blondie’s Debbie Harry.

This scribe spent too much time at CBGB, both as dedicated music nut and as a promoter, and will be ever grateful for some mindblowing experiences, both scary and sublime. Rock on in the great beyond, Mr. K, rock on.

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