Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dying New York Rebirth

CBGB is gone. I read an article in the New York Times describing the last concert with Patti Smith. I have been lamenting it hard because I have noticed this big whole in my artistic and spiritual world due to a lack of connectedness and information about the whole punk music movement, and all that Andy Warhol stuff I mentioned earlier. So for me it felt like a double loss of sorts.

I went to CBGB once with a friend of mine from Vibe back in 1994 or 1995. We were interns together at the notrious magazine. D-Man had graduated from a college in Boston, and lived in the area. He followed the whole music scene, had his own band in the East Village and cried when Frank Zappa died. I did not really feel any of it at the time, I was still in black university jubilee choir mode from my early twenties. I did not have a sense of exploration, or rather it was in a different direction, more like Brazilian Bossa Nova and Musica Popular Brasil. For my day job, I was courting hip-hop hard, but little did I know, there wasn't really anything underneath . . . at least after a certain point (Snoop Dog's inauguration into the game on the first cover of Vibe comes to mind, that was when the horror started to descend).

I never got a chance to see what was underneath Patti Smith and the punk world. I only saw her one time in person on the street with her long bone straight salt and pepper hair, chiseled jawline, and walking with a speed that was astonishing. A young girl was trailing behind her like a gothic red riding hood in a plain cotton spun button down dress and non-descript jacket. With an agility of mind and body, the little girl stayed alert to everything that Pattie did, like a baby dolphin or killer whale tucked underneath her mother's flipper. And, in a flash, I was descending the staircase to the subway below, and Patti Smith marched north, up The Avenue of the Americas. It was such a dark night. The streets were crowded. I would have missed her if she was not glowing.

They say punk music has not died, and it has not, it just experienced a little death.

1 comment:

John K said...

Punk hasn't died, because it's a state of mind, but its longtime home has finally been killed off. It'll just hit the street and keep on walking...and screaming...and taking no prisoners...