Pretty much everyone is reporting today that founder of CBGB, Hilly Crystal died on Tuesday due to complications from lung cancer. He is survived by his daughter and son.
If you have never been to CBGB, you missed a chance to meet the famed gentleman club owner. Most nights you could pretty much find Hilly keeping to himself behind the bar, occasionally slinging beers with Althea and the other bartenders. No matter what style of music was going-rock, metal, punk, folk- on that night he was there to support the bands. He had a pretty good poker face, and you could never really tell if he didn’t like a band. You just assumed he liked everyone that came through the place. As a host, he was always courteous, respectful and fair to all the bands that played, and pretty much everyone reciprocated. It was always nice to go to CBGB and see Hilly hanging around, and I was looking forward to seeing him again, and performing at one his new venues.
A private memorial service is planned. A public memorial will be held at a later date. Contributions in Hilly’s honor may be made in his name to the American Cancer Society or to the Hilly Kristal Foundation for Musicians and Artists (168 Second Avenue, PMB 207, New York, NY 10003).