Ballroom Dancing

SXSW panels

Ballroom Dancing
Photo by Sandy Carson

CBGB Stories

Austin Convention Center, Friday, March 19

The spirit of CBGB lives in more than just the T-shirts you see worldwide. Drawing together a few of the people who were there when club owner Hilly Kristal opened its doors to New York City's underground rock scene in 1973, the memories flowed for more than a hour, but it could have gone on much longer. Moderator David Katznelson, head of the Birdman Recording Group, chose to introduce topics and let Seymour Stein of Sire Records, Talking Heads Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, and Blondie drummer Clem Burke tell their tales, ranging from the club's infamous pot of chili to remembrances of the Ramones, Richard Hell, and the Dead Boys. Weymouth recalled that Television built the club's stage. When talking about the camaraderie among the bands she claimed that Johnny Ramone once said of the Heads, "Yeah, let them open for us. They suck!" Burke lobbied for the jukebox to be put in the Smithsonian, and they all agreed that the deceased Kristal belongs in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Attempts to remotely include producer Richard Gottehrer using Skype were one dropped call after another. Frantz's observation that "it was a good place, a fair place for musicians," helped explain why the shuttered punk grotto lives on in chest-borne logos the globe over.

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