Friday, October 13, 2006



My very first trip to NYC was almost exactly 20 years ago. Four college friends and I piled into a borrowed car and drove from PSU to NYC. No real plans. No place to stay. Very little money. We ended up sleeping in the car, spending most of our money in bars and record stores, and generally having a ridiculously good time.

There were only 2 things I really wanted to do in New York. The most important of those was to go to CBGB's. When we got there I tried to be all cool about it, but I'm sure I failed miserably. I was thrilled to death to be there and it was hard to hide that fact.

Beyond that, however, I don't really remember much about it. I remember it was a dump. I remember the band really, really sucked. And I remember the bathroom being the scariest thing I had seen in the city so far. Yikes. No matter what you hear about the bathroom at CBGB''s probably true. Not the most sentimental memory of a musical landmark, but it's my only one. I never made it back.

After 30+ years CBGB's is closing this weekend, featuring sets by The Dictators, Debbie Harry/Chris Stein and Patti Smith. The Patti Smith gig is going to be broadcast on Sirius.

The other thing I wanted to do on that first trip? Go to the top of the World Trade Center. I got to do that too.

My first trip to CBGB's was in 1975. I was 14. I snuck out of the Roosevelt Hotel while on a high school trip with two of my buddies, and we hopped a cab. We somehow got in (anything was possible in New York in 1975) and for 15 minutes I was in heaven.

Then we were busted by our chaperons.

I haven't been since the 80s, but I had some great times there.
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