I've heard rumblings of this project for a few months now, but once I saw the announcement on the official CBGB's website, I nearly spit out my drink because:
1) I didn't think this would actually happen
2) I didn't know about all the talent associated with it.
Well sure enough, at SXSW the anthology mini series was announced to be coming out in July from Boom! Studios and takes the form of a 4 issue mini series featuring the talents of: Jamie Hernandez (Love & Rockets), Kieron Gillen (Phonogram) teaming up with the excellent Marc Ellerby, Chuck BB (Black Metal) and a bunch of other awesome comic creators.
Now why does this matter to me? Well, as many of you may know, I'm a big fan of music and in my teen years, I spent many hours at CBGB's. While CBGB's is famous for the birth of NY Punk in the late 1970s by providing the venue for greats such as The Ramones, The Talking Heads, Television, Blondie and tons more which cemented it in the history books as one of the legendary venues of music history, CBGB's continued on past the 1970s, and in the late 1980's and 1990s and became the home for the underground punk/hardcore scene. Hosting the now legendary Sunday matinees in the glory days of New York Hardcore to bands like Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Bold and more. By the time I was old enough to attend CBGB's (when I was High School), those glory days had passed, but CBGB's was still one of the main venues for New York City. I witnessed many of my friends from the Long Island hardcore scene play fantastic shows at CB's, like Mind Over Matter, Milhouse and Silent Majority. In addition to local bands, I saw some great underground touring bands from around the country play there, like The Get Up Kids, The Promise Ring, Braid, Lifetime and many others.
As I write this and I think back to those Sunday afternoons in the Bowery, back when it was not a nice place to be (unlike today after it's been prettified), I can't help but think about about I never had a bad time at CBGB's. It was one of the most pure music experience one could have. Standing by the stage, covered in stickers, the venue was pitch black (often I was there in the middle of the afternoon when the sun was shining outside, but inside, it was always dark) and the energy created by the music was infectious. Going to the bathroom was an experience, as you had to walk past the stage, and down the stairs to even more darkness and pray that the toilet wasn't overflowing.
But now CBGB's is gone. It's legendary awning and pieces of the venue are in exhibit at the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Annex in SOHO in New York City (including, humorously the urinals that were in that dark bathroom, that are now protected behind glass, which is kind of an odd thing to see – a urinal that I used numerous times, now in a museum -weird) and CBGB's only lives on in our memories.
That said, I'm ecstatic at the prospect of this idea. It has the potential to be fantastic, and it seems as if they've gone to the right creators so I have faith that it will indeed be great. Everyone who experienced going to CBGB's has a strong personal connection and feeling about the venue. I can only hope that within those 4 issues, at least one creative team doesn't get distracted by the glory of the Ramones or Blondie and attempt to tell a tale of New York Hardcore and have my experience at CBGB's be represented.
I can't wait.