Man, who knew rock ‘n’ roll was so posh? Earlier this week, we alerted you to the sale of Dennis Hopper’s extremely modest record collection for only about 1500 times its probable value. This is unrelated, but it feels like a part of the same stupidity: an awning from CBGB, the Bowery dive bar that in the ‘70s became the Ur venue for the musical insurgency that would come to be known as punk rock, is being auctioned by the elite house Sotheby’s, and is estimated to fetch between $25,000 and $35,000.
The club was never really home base for people who could afford that kind of cash outlay for an outsized souvenir—the bands that played there were decidedly low-rent. The bands that made the place a Mecca included the Ramones, Patti Smith, Television, Blonde, Talking Heads, the Cramps, and the Dead Boys (who recorded their live album Night of the Living Dead Boys there), well before they became marquee names. After a long and legendary run, the club closed ten years ago, and was “resurrected” in name only as we shit you not a restaurant in the Newark Airport (one and a half stars on Yelp). That restaurant has a small-scale replica of the club’s iconic awning. One of the several actual awnings that adorned the club’s doorway over the years lives on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but while the Sotheby’s web site claims that the awning for sale is the original, Time Out New York says that’s incorrect:
Though the venerable auction house is listing the item as the “original awning for punk mecca CBGB,” that’s not actually the case. It’s a version rescued from the trash in 2004 by former club manager Drew Bushong. Bushong’s find was one several iterations of the iconic sign, beginning with the first one hand-painted by CBGB owner Hilly Kristal. That awning is believed to have been stolen one night in the 1980s by the band Jody Foster’s Army (JFA), after the group played a gig. It’s whereabouts remain unknown.
Yeah, that’s fucking hilarious. I didn’t realize I could love JFA more!
The auction is scheduled for Saturday, December 10th. I’m sincerely hoping some CBGB O.G. gets it, but it will probably get sold to a fuckin’ pharma bro.
More after the jump…