"In Memoriam" - Hilly Kristal: Quotes from John Holmstrom, Mickey Leigh and Roberta Bayley

The punk rock community lost a great provider Tuesday, August 28th. Hilly Kristal died in Manhatten from complications of lung cancer. He was 75 years old.

Kristal was the proprieter of CBGBs and operated the legendary club up until its closing in October 2006. He nurtured hundreds of bands, taking a chance on everyone from Television to Bad Brains.

A professional musician himself, Kristal had an eye for original talent. "No one's gonna like you guys, but I'll have you back," he famously told the Ramones.

Memorials lined the gate at 315 Bowery on Wednesday - a heartfelt tribute to the man who made it the most famous address in rock n' roll history.



"Hilly was a good guy and a good friend. CBGB would never have become the birthplace for punk rock if it wasn't for his policy of running a club that invited creative people to it use it as f it was their second home. We used to call it "our nighttime office." I never had to pay admission to see so many amazing shows, nor did anyone else who was contributing to his club. which is why the place became known as "The CBGB scene."

Also, his decision to keep the club true to its roots is what made it more famous in the decades to come. In 1976 I wrote that "anyone can become a rock star, despite or because of their musical talent" and CBGB is what backed me up on that, and this is how punk rock happened, but more important why it stayed alive for 30-odd years.

Hilly, as a professional musician himself, knew what bands wanted: a good sound system, a fair door policy and a decent amount of promotion. he provided this and more the the bands that played at CBGB and its why he's so beloved. His club made a lot of those people very rich and famous. When I first heard the news about Hilly a Ramones was playing during an ESPN movie, and as I write this I can hear them during a baseball game at Yankee Stadium. No one would have ever heard of the Ramones if it wasn't for Hilly.

But more important than that, he was a good person who felt like all of us were like family to him. And that's what I will always remember his warmth, kindness and generosity."

- John Holmstrom



"On behalf of my family, and the people at Joey Ramone Productions, a farewell salute to our dear old friend Hilly Kristal. Though my brother and I never called him dad (daddio maybe) he was definitely a provider, and of more than just a place for us to play, back in the day. It was a second home. Actually more like an incubation chamber where we could develop and thrive, before getting kicked out into the world. How often do you come across a place like that after you're born? Or a guy who welcomes you into it.

Those may be my personal feelings, but I am sure they are the echo of thousands ofothers who are feeling much lonelier today. But my most heartfelt condolences go to his real children, Lisa and Dana, his family and his many loved ones."

- Mickey Leigh



"Hilly was a warm and caring person, pretty rare in these perilous times. He was a real father figure to a lot of us punks, we really did love him, and we'll miss him. Some people facilitate artists just by offering a welcoming space and letting things happen - that was Hilly."

- Roberta Bayley







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