Patti Smith on the death of CBGB’s Hilly Kristal

hilly kristal

HILLY KRISTAL

The Good Shepherd

Hilly Kristal opened the doors
of CBGB’s to us all in 1974.
All who passed through the portals
experienced, as Arthur Rimbaud would
say, “new scenes, new noise”.

He offered us artistic freedom and his
gruff yet unconditional love. We evolved,
we left and went out into the world like
prodigal children. When we returned
he always accepted us with open arms.

Once back in 1974, leaving the club after a
loud, raucous night, I noticed that Hilly had fallen
asleep on a cot. He was covered with a faded blanket
and his feet were sticking out. His mismatched socks
were also holy. Having holes that is. But perhaps holy
as well. I remember thinking he’s just one of us.

I never really knew him outside of CBGB’S. But
he was always there. His door was always open. And
when he fell asleep we never had to be quiet.
Hilly Kristal was the good shepherd of a flock
of black sheep. We are forever grateful.

From Patti Smith’s website.

NYT has an obit.

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