Old Punks Mourn Hilly Kristal, CBGB, Punk
It’s hard to believe that the world’s most renowned rock club was started by someone who didn’t care for rock. But that was one of the things we learned at Hilly Kristal’s memorial service at the Bowery Ballroom last night, where Old Guarders like Patti Smith, Joan Jett, and Tommy Ramone remembered Kristal’s quirks: his lumberjack attire, his penchant for bluegrass and brandy-Frescas, and his distaste for loud music. “He was a unique person who appreciated unique talent and innovative acts,” said Ramone. “He knew which performers had something to offer.”
Hilly Kristal’s Last Interview
Hilly Kristal went to the emergency room at New York-Presbyterian last month with a cancer complication. The CBGB founder was admitted to the hospital, and the next morning he spoke to New York contributor Arianne Cohen from his hospital bed. Kristal’s long, rambling, reflective discourse may have been his last interview:
I was always in very good health. And I think anybody looks forward to living forever. Unfortunately, I found out I have cancer. So, some of the things I looked forward to, some of the adventurous things, I can’t do. I can’t climb Mt. Everest no matter how much time I have. I can’t walk the Rockies. There are a lot of things I can’t do because I’m not physically able. Unfortunately that’s how it is. I’m 75; when I was 73, I was in wonderful health. But I think I’ll be all right. I’m trying to read a lot more. It doesn’t take that much energy to read.
RIP Hilly Kristal
Hilly Kristal, like his legendary East Village rock club, CBGB, is dead; he succumbed to lung cancer this morning at the age of 75. But, thanks to the magic of recordings and photos and video and especially YouTube, Kristal, like CBGB, will live on. Our colleagues at Vulture dug up a YouTube clip of the Ramones at CBGB in 1977, and they present it as a tribute to Kristal, his club, and the bands he nurtured in its heyday. Take a look.
CBGB Founder Hilly Kristal Dies at 75 [Vulture]
Hilly Kristal, Founder of CBGB, Is Dead [NYT]
CBGB Founder Hilly Kristal Dies at 75His legendary venue helped launch the careers of punk luminaries like Ramones, Blondie, Television, and Talking Heads, though in later years it became just as famous for the unsanitary conditions of its bathrooms.