Recently, in New York City, the group of investors who purchased downtown Manhattan’s famous CBGB filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Two years ago, the investor-formed company, CBGB Holdings, LLC, purchased the right to the CBGB name and its intellectual property rights. Its goal was to market and sell the CBGB name to outside markets; in addition to selling merchandise. In its filing, the company said it was $1-$10 million in debt.
Country, Blue Grass and Blues (CBGB) first opened its doors back in 1973. Located at 315 Bowery on Bleecker Street, CBGB’s was host to numerous new wave, punk bands in the late 70’s and 80’s.
Though the club’s intention was indeed to showcase country, blue grass and blues acts, groups and recording artists including the Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith and the Talking Heads, all played and often got their start there. The walls were covered with graffiti and stickers.
Five years ago, in ’05, CBGB Founder, Hilly Kristal, got into an ugly dispute with the Bowery Residents’ Committee which led to the founder being charged roughly $91,000 in back rent. Hilly Kristal contested he was not aware his rent had increased.
When the lease was up, both parties agreed to allow CBGB’s to stay open for 14 months while Kristal sought “historic landmark” status for his club. Kristal had planned to move CBGB’s to Las Vegas, Nevada, yet, the club closed in ’06 and a year later, its founder passed away, succumbing to lung cancer.