It's been confirmed that legendary NYC rock venue CBGB will be moving from its longtime home at 315 Bowery in New York City to Las Vegas. This follows a prolonged period of uncertainty due to a battle with landlord the Bowery Residents Committee over the space, a battle that saw bands like Kid Dynamite and Gorilla Biscuits reuniting to play benefits for the club. MTV News spoke with owner / operator Hilly Kristal about the move:
We want to take a lot of this stuff with us, and I think we're going to move to Las Vegas… I have some developers who have some really great space in the downtown area. So, I'd say sometime in spring we'll be in Las Vegas. It's a big undertaking, and these developers are putting the money into it, and I want to make sure that, for my benefit and theirs, we make this work…
I don't have any choice… I have been looking for space in New York and the rent's $125,000 a month on Broadway… [The Vegas CBGB] won't be the same size or the same shape, but I am going to have all the things that matter there. I am taking the bars with me, I am taking the stage -- I'm taking the urinal that Joey [Ramone] pissed in with me. I'm going to take a lot of things -- anything that makes this place CBGB… I'll make it CBGB, and even more so. I think we can do better, starting in a new place, where the city's for it. It's more important to try to keep things going and moving up.
MTV also reports that Kristal was close to securing a New York location on Essex Street, but the deal fell through. A future second location in New York City is possible, but not for several years due to rent prices. Finale shows are in the works for the New York location, but the original site is expected to close its doors by mid-October. A schedule for the final shows will be announced soon.
Furthermore, the plight of the club that gave early support to bands like the Ramones, Television, Blondie, Talking Heads and many others is not the only concern for Kristal. Three weeks ago Hilly was diagnosed with lung cancer, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments. The owner is optimistic about his prognosis, but commented "I have to tell you, chemotherapy ain't fun."