CBGB Film in the Works: New York Music Icon’s History Explored in Movie

CBGB Movie

A film about CBGB, an iconic and historic New York venue that helped give rise to the punk rock scene, is in the works. Filmmakers Randall Miller and Jody Savin are in the midst of working on a biopic of the famous venue, which helped the careers of bands such as The Ramones, The Talking Heads and Blondie take off. In a recent interview with Sound on Sight, the filmmakers stated that the film will encompass more than just CBGB itself, but an entire musical generation – the underground punk rock music scene, as well as the era of rebellion and expression that followed.

For those that do not know, CBGB was a music club founded on New York’s Bleecker Street in 1973 by Hilly Kristal; the venue closed in October 2006. Because CBGB stands for Country, Blue Grass and Blues, Kristal originally planned on only featuring those namesake styles. Somehow, the club became a hub for punk rock and new wave music in the ‘70s, and eventually gave way to ‘80s hardcore music as well, such as Bad Brains. Unfortunately, due to legal battles (Kristal claiming he was billed unfairly for rent), the club had to close its doors, which it did with a bang. Patti Smith was the headliner of the last show – enough said. Kristal promised to open another CBGB in Las Vegas, but died due to complications from lung cancer before being able to do so.

Even though the latter part of CBGB’s history was filled with lawsuits and depressing incidents, that does not change the fact that the venue was a central figure in the rise of the punk music scene. If there is a partnership that music and movie lovers should be on the lookout for, Miller and Savin’s film will take the cake.

Miller and Savin are also teaming up with Brad Rosenberger on the music biopic, The Drummer: The Story of Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. With that in mind, I am looking forward to seeing the finished product of their work, as it should be quite interesting. They have not revealed many details of the CBGB movie thus far, just that it is in the works and will follow the early punk scene and generation. I do feel obligated to see the movie, seeing as I am a huge punk rock fan, and CBGB’s place in the genre is unmistakable. When I do, I’ll review it so that you guys can get a feel for the movie, if you are uncertain about going to see it.