Sunday, August 14, 2005

Pareles: Save Punk Rock, Close CBGBs

Ophelia Wynne / Camera Press / Retna Ltd.

He says it's more of a tourist dump than a crucible for new and crucial music...:

The club has been some kind of symbol for decades. The question is whether that symbolism can transcend real estate and real noise. A transplanted CBGB would be irrevocably changed, and an artificially preserved one could be just as dicey. Punk-rock certainly has enough artifacts to fill a museum, but solemn academic inquiry just doesn't seem right for CBGB. A transplanted CBGB might become something like the Cavern Club in Liverpool, where the Beatles woodshedded and which was demolished and rebuilt as a replica (with some of the original bricks). What has been a symbol of unlovely urban survival would turn into a self-conscious icon.

Or, to be precise, a more self-conscious icon. It's hard to say how long ago CBGB started considering itself legendary, but decades is a fair estimate. While punk promoted itself as overthrowing the status quo, CBGB has prided itself on staying put.


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