Stop The Presses!

CBGB Biopic Featuring Foo Fighters Taylor Hawkins and Alan Rickman Coming This Fall

Stop The Presses!

By Jon Wiederhorn

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The Ramones in the '70s (Photo: Michael Ochs)

In an upcoming movie about the legendary New York rock club CBGB, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins will play Iggy Pop, Swedish actress Malin Akerman will take on the role of Blondie's Debby Harry, Joel David More will play Joey Ramone, and Alan Rickman (Severus Snape from Harry Potter) will play Hilly Kristal, the founder of the establishment.

A caption in the preview for the upcoming movie, CBGB, describes the venue as "the greatest club ever" and features simulated footage of performances by the Ramones, Talking Heads, Police, Dead Boys, Blondie, Lou Reed and others. The movie is scheduled for release this fall.

The trailer mentions that the name CBGB stood for Country Blue Grass Blues, yet the venue was a mainstay for new-wave, punk rock, hardcore and alternative music. As famous as it was in the history of rock music, it was actually a dive – a firetrap with band flyers stapled to the walls and candles on every table.

In the movie trailer, roaches skitter across the bar counter, bottles are flung at windows, and a band is electrocuted onstage. There are shots of the bathroom, which patrons will remember had no doors in the toilet stalls and the urinals were coated with slime. The closing caption in the ad reads, "50,000 bands and 1 disgusting bathroom."

At least part of the film will focus on Kristal's role in promoting the Ramones, who owe their early success to him and his trashy club. "We got four songs, 'I Don't Want to Walk Around With You,' 'I Don’t Want to be Tamed.' We're working on something now," says Joey Ramone. Kristal responds, "Something positive?" And Ramone says, "Yeah, it's called (pause) 'I Wanna Sniff Some Glue."

A voiceover at the end of the trailer says, "CBGB: Country, Bluegrass, Blues – but without all that country, bluegrass or blues."

The soundtrack for CBGB will be available on Omnivore Records and will include songs by the Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, Dead Boys, Television, Iggy Pop, the Velvet Underground and the Police.

Sadly, a rent dispute caused the legendary club to shut down in 2006. The next year, Kristal died from lung cancer complications. The space where CBGB was located, on the corner of Bleeker Street and the Bowery, is now a clothing boutique owned by high-end men's designer John Varvatos. To CBGB patrons and members of the counterculture this is nothing less than a sad reflection of the power of capitalism and consumerism over art.

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