As I walked up the stairs into the Velvet Lounge on Saturday night, I felt like I was at home.
Some of the happiest, and certainly most seminal, moments of my life occurred in places just like the Velvet Lounge.
The Marble Bar, the Gentry, the Chancery, Benny's, Rockitz, Republic Gardens, Asylum, One Flight Up, and the old 9:30 . . . I could keep going.
Oh, yeah; CBGB.
I'm not old enough to know if anything equivalent came before it; I have a feeling that before CBs, there were art school happenings, and strange nights in converted spaces. I never made Max's Kansas City or the old Peppermint Lounge. And I never made the Keg. So I can't authoritatively state that CBGB started it all.
But I think CBGB started it all.
It's nice that the guy knew that a shithole should still have a great sound system.
And I don't care that most of its life was really a shelter for horrible metal bands from Long Island dragging in their friends, or that he only tossed $60 bucks to a band that had driven three days to play there -- they got to play there.