Christened the birthplace of American punk, the iconic LES-Manhattan nightclub, and first slingers of acronym irony, CBGB & OMFUG – or Country, Bluegrass Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers – opened on this day in 1973. From Television to the Talking Heads, the Ramones to Reagan Youth, Bad Brains to the Beastie Boys, the communal pulse that the place bred has yet to be paralleled in NYC, and even most of the States, where unsigned bands made like 1920s Paris and helped one another out.
Though its storied owner, Hilly Kristal, initially wanted to play host to a simple country and blues dive, he endearingly adopted myriad genres to harbor a place of mutual creative freedom, giving shots to a severely hungry cultural movement, when corporate rock ruled the land. It still stings that both Kristal and the club cease to be, its doors shuttered in 2006, Kristal taken by lung cancer a year later, but his impression lives on forever in moments like this Heads 1979 lyric shout-out in “Life During Wartime,” an allegory for the ways in which bands equally wore their CBGB-pride on their sleeve, usually with a nice and wide wry smile:
This ain’t no party, this aint no disco
This ain’t no fooling around
This ain’t no Mudd Club or CBGB
I ain’t got time for that now