The story of the birth of punk rock music in the Bowery in downtown New York City is set to be made in to a feature film. Set to focus on the club and its owner, the late Hilly Kristal. Tentatively entitled CBGB, the film will be produced by a team comprised of Brad Rosenberger, Randall Miller, Jody Savin and Kristal’s daughter Lisa Kristal Burgman.
The film will encompass the period 1974 – 76 when the venue drew the likes of Patti Smith, Talking Heads, The Ramones, Blondie and Television. The film will add to the legend around the venue and owner Kristal, who became a father figure to many of the young rock and punk acts his venue nurtured.
“It was an old-fashioned salon in an awful part of New York where people could fail while they worked to find their voice,” producer Savin said. “He provided a voice to the disenfranchised. It’s a heroic and flawed story.” Through the connections Kristal’s daughter has with the artists involved, the producers have already interviewed many of them about Kristal and the venue, and it is hoped that the important part Kristal played in their careers, as well as their ongoing respect for him will see many of the artists grant permission for their songs to be used in the film.
CBGBs closed in October 2006, with a final gig there performed by Patti Smith and featuring guest appearances by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Richard Hell of Television. Kristal died of complications from lung cancer in 2007.