Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Death of Hilly Kristal



Like the late and great Tony Wilson of Factory Records fame, Hilly Kristal is important to New York City culture. He had a club in the Bowery. It was called CBGB. So super essential that it is not even funny. Tom Verlaine walked by and thought, "Hmm, this would be a great place for my band Television to play in. Patti Smith did the same. And there fore one had Television, Patti Smith Group, The Ramones, Blondie, Suicide, DNA, Talking Heads, The Heartbreakers, Richard Hell and countless others. So in other (if I may use that word again) Kristal had the brilliant idea to say "yeah" to Verlaine.

In the late 70's I went to New York for my late father's show at the Whitney. There was a party afterwards and I convince everyone to go to CBGB's to see Richard Hell. So the whole party in various cabs went to the Bowery to see Hell in a club that was the Mecca for a music lover like me.

I walked in with the party and the first person I saw there was David Johansen of the New York Dolls in deep discussion with John Lydon (Johnny Rotten). Richard Hell came on and I went 'blank.' He played "Blank Generation.' It was a perfect moment because the guy, who was an art critic for Artforum, I came in with was some leather queen who wanted someone to piss on him. My Mom said to me that Johnny Rotten was cute (she was there) and I think Dean Stockwell (forgive me Dean if my memory is wrong or failed me) passed out on the floor. And I thought 'Damn this is CBGB and this is the center of the universe. This is New York City.

I went back again to see DNA at CBGB's - and to this day I can't remember if it was on the same trip or not. But for sure I know this wasn’t the New York I visited some years ago.

So Hilly thank you for the memories. In your own way, you are also a lost boy.
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