Thursday, October 15, 2009

Revelation #4: The Night I Snuck to CBGB's

CBGB (Country, Blue Grass and Blues)
OMFUG (Other Music for Uplifting Gormandizers)

This was the inside of CBGB's. The walls were covered with posters.

The old days when the cars pulled up and dropped everyone off.

This is a revelation to shock you all. This little old lady was once into 'heavy metal." I first came to the Big Apple in the late 60's. The hippie era had was dwindling, but hadn't yet ended so I found myself in coffee houses and spending endless hours wandering through Washington Square Park. I'd found a little job in one of those little hippie shops that were so prominent back then. Folk music was my thing--Bob Dylan, Mama's and the Papa's, Arlo Guthrie. Oh, wow, those were the days...the days when you could walk into one of those decrepit looking coffee shops and find yourself seated six feet away from your idol. It didn't cost a bundle in those days to hobnob with the up and coming stars.

But, all good things must come to an end, and the 70's brought many changes. Folk music died out and a new music was born. The disco and its music was in, and heavy metal was on its way. I was never able to 'get with' the disco craze, seemed too tame for me. Hippies just didn't fit in there; hippies fit in with the new heavy metal craze, so on weekends this is where you find some club that featured this wild, reckless music...and CBGB's was one of my absolute favorite places to go. It was a small, dank, beer soaked club where the music was loud and the lights were glaring.

But, all good thing must come to an end. I married, had my sons, and settled down into a life of motherhood, neighborhood gossip, and part-time employment. Then, when the boys finally started school, I began to work full-time...several odd jobs through the 80's and eventually ending up at the expediting agency. Now if we fast forward to the 90's, my children are grown, I've changed careers at mid-life, and I find myself working at a halfway house for recovering alcoholics. I betch you can't guess where it 312 Bowery...right across the street from the infamous club.

Now, when I used to work evenings sometimes on the weekends, I would sit outdoors and watch as the cars dropped off party-goers and lines started to build at the club...and I would feel a great yearning. "If only I could just experience for one night the excitement of my youth." So, one night, on a Saturday, my relief came in at 11 pm, and I started to head for the train. But, the music blasting from the club was so overwhelming that I couldn't help myself...and the next thing you knew, I found myself in the club. I didn't stay long because once inside I realized that my day had come and gone. I just didn't fit in anymore. I was older than the rest and actually quite matronly whereas they had their purple hair and nose rings. So, I slunk on out of there and headed home.

No one knew that I went to the club that night. But I am so glad that I gave myself the opportunity to be there....just one more time. CBGB's closed its doors forever on October 15, 2006. No one can say that the club didn't have a nice long run...and ironically, today I work for the company that owns the building.


  1. Wow, a former headbanger! I would never have guessed it! And you returned to the scene of your youthful crimes! Good for you, matron! Just out of curiosity, what do all those initials stand for in the club's name (CBGB) and on the awning (OMFUG)? Or is it the kind of thing where "if you have to ask, you don't want to know," LOL!

  2. After I wrote the blog, I thought I should put it in there.

    CBGB's orignially started out as a "Country, Blue Grass, and Blues" club.

    OMFUG stands for "Other Music for Uplifting Gormandizers." I never got that. Gormandizers are people who really really enjoy their food so I guess the own meant for people who really really enjoyed music.

  3. Thanks, all is now clear! I was a little worried, actually, about what that "FU" in "OMFUG" might mean, so you've put my mind at rest, LOL!

  4. Ah yes, CGBG - never got to go there but always wanted to if I ever made it to New York. Did you ever see the Ramones there? I am a big fan of reading rock history and following the various genres of music. I still refersh myself with the old classics and new and upcoming music through my teaching of the guitar. Renewed my memories of Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love" teaching it to a student yesterday....

    By the way doesn't the path you've led through life show you the spiralling patterns...