Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Since CBGB closed its doors nine years ago, there has been a gaping hole in the cultural heart of New York City. Places like this Bowery staple can never be planned; they are organic, nurtured by time, place and chance. This filthy, dirty, little club launched and cradled hundreds of performers during its 30-plus-year run — many forgettable and some downright awful. But for a small select group, it was a game changer for both the artists and music lovers everywhere.

The Cramps all got their start in this single-shop-front-sized, graffiti-scarred, ground-floor sweatbox. Its stage was tiny and toilets hellish, but its bar huge, clientele legends-in-waiting and T-shirts (until this century only available at the venue itself) badges of honour.

The Cramps stood out from the rest of the CBGB scene with their playful concoction of rockabilly, surf rock, garage, and blues, framed in retro horror imagery and raunchy, pin-up style innuendo. But make no mistake, they were every bit as punk. They even requested that a fan club started in their honour called Legion Of The Cramped, be shut down because they were “real loners.” Respect.

Its stage was tiny and toilets hellish, but its bar was huge and clientele legends-in-waiting. CBGB was the perfect antidote to glam, glitter and disco – who knows what punk would be without it!

Psychedelic Lunch