CBGB was the epicenter of punk music at one point in time. In the early 1970s, the tiny Manhattan club was intended to be a country, bluegrass and blues venue (hence the name Country BlueGrass & Blues) but it turned out to be the dive bar that launched The Ramones, Blondie, The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, The Cramps, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, The Talking Heads and dozens more.
Unfortunately, it closed down in 2006 after a long dispute between the club and the Bowery Residents’ Committee — the club’s owner, Hilly Kristal, was given a $91,000 bill from the group claiming he had become significantly behind in rent. Kristal says he had never been informed of the $19,000 monthly increase. Nevertheless, he was forced to close the legendary club’s doors for good.
Nowadays, Hollywood is quick to make a movie about a significant event before the dust settles — and CBGB is now a victim of that.
I’m sure the story of CBGB would make a great book — or even a great documentary. But the second you ask actors to play Joey Ramone, Richard Hell or Lux Interior, your chances of churning out a film that most people will be able to stomach diminishes rapidly. These types of real-life characters cannot be recreated. And if you have the patience to sit through the new trailer for CBGB, I think you will understand why.
By the way, I am not certain, but I think they cast Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters to play Iggy Pop.
The movie is slated to open October 11th — whether it goes straight to DVD is unknown.
-Chris Coyle, JACK Seattle