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CBGB - OMFUG - R.I.P - Scenes from October 2006

CBGB was not just a place where some major bands broke out of, much more than that it was a very comfortable club. From the start CBGB had a high quality, high power sound system, where many budding musicians got to try out their songs for the first time, in a place with great sound. CBGB was always open, 7 days a week, with 7 or more bands a night for 32 years, and aside from the few dozen that made it big, most of the bands were never known. If kids don't have a place where bands can play when they are bad, they will never learn to be good.


Reggae Producer/Legend Lee "Scratch" Perry played in early October, just a few weeks before CBGB closed. CB's has always had a real variety of acts.

Bad Brains played a soulful reggae set, unlike their early appearances at CB's for the hardcore crowd. Many of the old fans came but were surprised to hear such a mellow show.

Walter Lure takes a guitar break as Easy Spaceman sings during the set by The Waldos on the last Saturday. They played a lot of songs from Walter's old band the Heartbreakers.

Chris Stein and Debbie Harry from Blondie got one last look at the back alley when they went out there at the request of the film crew making a documentary of the last days.

Ivan Kral of the original Blondie band came by to say farewell and joined Chris and Debbie in the dressing room one last time.

Chris and Debbie played a farewell acoustic set of many of Blondie's hit songs. Joining them was Leigh Foxx on bass and Paul Carbonara on guitar.

The Dictators arranged a reunion of the original band members for the final weekend.

Handsome Dick Manitoba reminds the audience that all you need is a "haircut and an attitude"

On the last night The Patti Smith Group posed for the gathered press after their sound check. Asked what kids will do now that CB's is gone Patti said they "will have to find some shithole where some guy will let them play like we did"

Hilly Kristal enters CBGB for the last time to the cheers of the crowd who came to be a part of the event. Hilly set the tone of CB's by making the one basic rule, that all the bands that play had to play original songs they wrote themselves.

Hilly Kristal and his companion Wendy sat at his usual place at the door greeting all the old friends who came to wish him well. Hilly built the club personally, by hand, one nail and one show at a time. Thank you Hilly!

Hilly's daughter Lisa grew up in CBGB and managed to become a successful lawyer, but she still came to help take care of the business at the club

Brendan and BG took care of everyone who came in the door of CBGB for many years with their customary charm and good humor

Louise Parnassa stopped in with her daughter to bid farewell to the place where she booked all the bands and ran the show

Mandy Stein has grown up in the music business and now has built a career as a video producer and it made total sense that she was the one to make a documentary of the club's final days.

Mandy is the daughter of Sire records president Seymour Stein, who, with his wife Linda, built the careers of many of the great bands that came out of CB's. Linda, above with Mandy, is such a rocker that she made her way through the crowd to the front of the stage to get a close up view of Debbie and Chris.


Patti Smith smiled as she came on the stage for the final show of CBGB



The Patti Smith group played a long show with two sets, first an acoustic set consisting of some of the songs they played when they first started there in 1974 and songs by Blondie and the Ramones among others . The second set was a long set of her own music, joined for a while by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

CBGB was one of the most comfortable places to see a band play, dimly but clearly lit by a string of beer signs, and wherever you were in the club the sound was great!

Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye calm down in the always funky dressing room as the final hours ticked away. Lenny said he was surprised at how emotional he felt, and I pointed out that we had been coming to the place for more than half of our lives.

Lenny Kaye shows the guitar he and his bandmates signed as a thank you gift to Hilly.


Lenny Kaye and Walter Lure hung out at the bar for the rest of the night reminiscing about the old days.

Little Steven van Zandt, a true rock fan stopped in to breathe the air of CBGB on last time.

Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, who made their reputation in Talking Heads and the Tom Tom Club at CBGB were there for the final shows.

 CB regulars from the old days Michael Alago and Danny Fields (who had just come back from Japan) came for a last drink.

Jesse Malin, Daniel Ray and Andy Shernoff all played in CBGB, each in several bands over the years, and were there again for the last time.

Jimmy Winbrandt who played CBGB many times in the Miami's says hi to filmmaker Amos Poe.

Local rockers Gita Gash and Tony Mann had a good time on closing night.

The famous bathrooms were one of the things that made CBGB different, and I'm sure we won't see this again, but maybe that's OK.

Before I left, I took one last photo of the place from across the street. There may be other clubs in the future, but not better ones.
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