New! Go Backstage at CBGB with Joseph O. Holmes
We're so pleased to have music critic, writer and editor Maura Johnston introducing today's edition release: Joseph O. Holmes' CBGB (Dressing Rooms). Exactly forty-one years ago this Sunday, on the CBGB Stage, the Ramones performed their historic public debut, kicking off the punk movement in the process. What better time to commemorate the infamous NYC venue that made it all happen?
The spit-shined Bowery of 2015 makes it difficult to imagine how grimy things were just nine years ago at its crossroads with Bleecker Street, where CBGB once sat. The storied club, which during its 33-year existence became a touchstone for all types of music on the edge, closed for good in 2006. Its final lineup was populated by the likes of Blondie and Bad Brains, and the inimitable punk poet Patti Smith played touchstones like "Gloria" while also paying homage to the storied Queens bred punk outfit, the Ramones.
A few weeks before CBGB's doors shut for the last time, Brooklyn photographer Joseph O. Holmes spent 10 days taking photographs inside; among those photos was CBGB (Dressing Rooms). The club's dressing room served as a decompression zone and hobnobbing spot. It wasn't always so covered in grit—the dressing room wall's paint is quite visible on this 1978 shot of Elvis Costello and his bandmates. But as the club booked more bands, from the future stars to the never-wases, each person who made their way through the dressing room felt compelled to add themselves to the club's legacy, whether through graffiti, scratchiti, stickers, or flyers affixed with super-strong tape.
"CBGB is a state of mind," Smith told reporters who gathered for the club's last hurrah nine years ago. Holmes's CBGB (Dressing Rooms) shows the dressing room at rest, absent of band members or hangers- on, proving Smith's point—the room, while empty, feels chaotic and alive, its history growing with each glimpse of a band logo or scrawl of paint.
With art for everyone,
Maura Johnston + Team 20x200