Support for LAist comes from
True LA stories, powered by you
Stay Connected

Share This


Punk is Dead, again: Hilly Kristal dies

Our reporting is free for everyone, but it’s not free to make.
LAist only exists with reader support. If you're in a position to give, your donation powers our reporters and keeps us independent.

Hilly Kristal, the founder of legendary New York punk rock club CBGBs, died yesterday of lung cancer. He was 75.

Kristal had the good sense to put Blondie, Television, the Ramones and the Talking Heads on stage. He also had the good sense to keep his New York thing in New York, so Gothamist's remembrance seems appropriate. But we couldn't let this hallmark of punk pass without our own wave farewell.

Despite the fact that in its later years CBGBs packed so many bands on a bill that it seemed like each got to play about 2 songs (and these were, generally, short songs), it was a club that should have been experienced by any music fan. Its basement bathrooms were between hideous and downright dangerous; its stage was awkward; it was cramped as hell. When it closed last year, we were (mostly) sorry to see it go.

Support for LAist comes from

Now, like a surviving spouse left without a reason to live, founder Hilly Kristal is dead, less than a year after CBGB's closing. Rock on, Hilly. Kick some disco ass in heaven.

Hilly photo (c) Spencer Drate