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For My Pal, Hilly Kristal....

I don't know what life would have been like without CBGB'S, or Hilly.

That's because, for over 30 years, (uninterrupted) I played his club, watched others play his club, and visited Hilly and the staff.

From the early days of punk, in the mid 70's, all the way up to closing time last year, I got a smile (well, a "Hilly smile" anyway, his sort of "clenched grin") whenever I entered CBGB'S and saw him. He liked me. He liked The Dictators. I /We liked him. There was a special chemistry. A friendship chemistry, that comes from sharing something important in life with another person. It was a person, a time, a place, and an experience that was powerful and symbiotic, between Hilly Kristal, myself, and my band.

That was the thing that comes to mind when I think of Hilly. Let others detail and document what went on in the club, and the great accomplishments. I just want to remember that grin, whenever I entered CB'S to say "Hi."

In the last coupla' years I used to push my son Jake in his stroller, and visit, whenever I was near The Bowery. I came through the drug addled 70's, where half of my contemporaries died from drugs, relatively unscathed, clean & sober. So it was with great pride when I entered CB'S for the first time, with Jake in tow, and said, "Hilly, this is my son, Jake."

He always made me feel welcome ... I always felt loved, whenever I entered Ceebs, and saw Hilly sitting there.

Another piece of me, another piece of my life died this week.

Bye Hilly, and thank you so very much.


Handsome Dick Manitoba
New York City, August 2007

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What I Always Loved About Hilly

What I always loved about Hilly: there was no great and powerful OZ behind the curtain. He was right there sitting behind the desk at the front of the house, and he'd treat everyone the same ... and the treatment was good. I love you, Hilly; RIP.

J.P. "Thunderbolt" Patterson

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Andy Shernoff tells Spin about Hilly