US director Randall Miller tells the story of iconic Manhattan club CBGB in his latest movie.
It follows its rise from its early days as a venue for Country, Bluegrass and Blues to what it ultimately became: the birthplace of underground rock’n roll and punk.
Founded in 1973, the club helped spawn the careers of bands like the Police, the Ramones, Blondie and the Talking Heads.
Actress Ashley Greene plays the role of the club owner’s daughter.
“I think as artists and as actors, one of the main goals is to affect people, to put them in a certain place and be able to take them back in history, and portray someone or a place in time that had a big impact in their life – that’s is a really cool thing,” she says.
A shaggy Alan Rickman plays failed club owner Hilly Kristal, who, along with his savvy daughter Lisa and his pal Merv, turn the Bowery district into a hotspot for New York City’s late Seventies downtown scene.
Though its glory days are long gone, the club has remained a symbolic fixture on the Manhattan music scene. Actor Johnny Galecki, who plays television manager Terry Ork, talks about the importance of the venue.
“It must have been an incredibly exciting time. At the same time, I don’t know if you are aware of the chord that this is striking on a scale of society, and the history that it will become,” he says.
Described as lightweight entertainment, the film has been labelled disappointing by criticis, who say its best features are Rickman’s performance and, of course, its soundtrack.
“CBGB” is out now in cinema theatres across the United States.