Thursday, June 30, 2005


From the New York Press

In a recent issue of New York magazine, Keith Gessen summed up the absurdity of Hilly Kristal screwing up his lease at CBGB's. It was a fine piece, but Gessen left out a few details on how Hilly—now with a CBGB clothing line pulling in an annual $2 million—screwed up the chance to buy his building for $4 million. There's a mention of Hilly's attempts at rock management, but let's not neglect the clubowner's own bid for rock stardom.

New York Press has had Hilly's three-song demo for over a decade now. We first listened expecting some kind of demento blues. Instead, it's rap—in the same sense that CBGB pioneers the Tom Tom Club are rap. "Mud" is a backwoods beatdown where Hilly raves about the titular substance: "People like the fragrant spring/With flowers in the wood/But I like nature's mother earth/To me, it smells real good." There are plenty of slurping sounds, too. "'Sno Joke" is similar quirky fun, while "Rock + Roll Sir Jackson" is a barrage of synths celebrating old-time music. The most consistent theme is ludicrously long running times.

Our cassette doesn't offer any more info than Hilly's name, the song titles and CBGB's phone number. We'd dismiss it as a hoax if that rapping backwoods bumpkin didn't sound so familiar. And, to be fair, the tape's a fun batch of novelty tunes. Hipster icons such as Kim Fowley have made whole albums of worse crap. Let's just hope that no rent money was lost in the process.

Volume 18, Issue 26

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