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CBGB-Funk or Punk! Photo

CBGB-Funk or Punk!

CBGB’s – Funk or Punk! Creating a new club can be daunting at times but Hilly Kristal is up for the challenge! In 1973, CBGB forms on the Bowery in New York City originally as an intention to feature its namesake musical styles. How cool is this? Creating a club that you can pretty much play whatever music you want and have live bands!

Furthermore, the crowd that hung out there had spiked-collar necklaces, black leather jackets, Mohawks, and loud, out of control music. For some, it’s frightening but for the rest of us, its the best place to see amazing punk shows! We’re talking  about the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Misfits, Television, Patti Smith Group, The Dead Boys, The Dictators, The Cramps, and Joan Jett. Is CBGB-Funk or Punk? Actually it was both.

Not Your Ordinary Club

Furthermore, the music also had a lot to do with characterizing the sub-culture. It’s unrelenting, loud, and aggressive! Let’s just say there’s a lot of power-chord infested songs, with pounding drums and shouting. And a lot of anti-establishment centered vocals.

As this movement grew, more areas and clubs began to cater to the participants. As Ramone’s drummer stated, people needed “pure, stripped down, no B.S. rock and roll.” A club that hosted many shows and helped to launch the careers of various bands was called CBGB.

The Vision 

Originally, the founder had a certain vision for the musical styles of his club: Country, Bluegrass, and Blues. However, certain people had a different view for what would sell. The venue “became a forum for American punk and new wave bands like the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Misfits, Joan Jett, and others.

As for the funk, and other styles of music? Later in the eighties, the record store is closed and replaced with a second performance space and art gallery, named “CB’s 313 Gallery”.  While I have fond memories of seeing performances there, it’s sad to say that a lot of today’s alternative and punk shows are just not the same! 

Keeping the Blues Alive

To learn more or donate to Keeping The Blues Alive, visit our website at https://keepingthebluesalive.org/.

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