CBGB’s Future Hangs in the Balance — Again
Legendary music venue CBGB opened its doors in NYC’s Meatpacking District 37 years ago in 1973. It is considered by many to be the birthplace of punk rock music in America, where bands such as the [lastfm]Ramones[/lastfm], [lastfm]Talking Heads[/lastfm], [lastfm]Blondie[/lastfm] and [lastfm]Patti Smith[/lastfm] played in public for the first time.
Sadly, CBGB closed its doors in 2006, but two years later the name and intellectual property rights were sold to investors, restoring hope of keeping the famous venue’s name alive — until now. The CBGB brand may soon exist no more.
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CBGB Holdings LLC, the investors who purchased the venue’s name and intellectual property rights in 2008, filed for bankruptcy Friday, June 11, listing debts of up to $10 million.
In 2008, investors James Blueweiss and Robert Williams paid $3.5 million for all of CBGB’s intellectual property rights, reviving the defunct club’s brand with a distribution deal selling T-shirts with the club’s famous logo and donating memorabilia to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex NYC.
Court papers did not say why the company filed for Chapter 11.
While it’s sad to hear the CBGB brand may exist no more, the news is relatively meaningless to the history of rock music. After all, the venue is still closed, thrift stores across the country are probably littered with old CBGB shirts, and considering what technology is now, fans can easily print the logo off the Internet and iron it on a T-shirt.
What mattered most about the venue was that it took chances and allowed new, unconventional bands to share their music. Even if another investor comes along and buys the rights, that’s just business. Punk rock isn’t supposed to be about brands and logos — it’s about truth, rebellion, and living life as fast and as wild as a person can.
In honor of CBGB and all its musicians that changed rock music forever, here are the [lastfm]Ramones[/lastfm] playing some of their most popular songs at the venue back in 1977.
- What are some of your favorite bands to come out of CBGB?