CBGB lands in theaters this Friday and tells the story of the famed New York club and specifically its founder, Hilly Kristal (Alan Rickman). Johnny Galecki stars as the manager of one of the first bands that Kristal put on his stage, Television, and Ashley Greene (the Twilight Saga) portrays his daughter Lisa… who also is a co-producer on the film.
Greene and Galecki descended on another iconic rock club, the Whisky a Go-Go, to talk about their new film and the need to show new generations the influence that Kristal had by booking bands that would go on to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame careers including the Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, Iggy Pop and the Police.
When it came to why to make this movie teased in the CBGB trailer, Greene got right to the point. “The title,” Greene said and laughed. “The place itself is iconic and had a huge impact on a lot of people. To be able to recreate and be a part of that world and being a part of taking people back to that world is a really exciting thing to be a part of.”
Galecki reported too that the iconic name was enough for him. “Just to be associated with something as cool as CBGB, I never saw that coming.”
Greene had the benefit of having Lisa nearby at all times and is excited for people to see another layer of the CBGB story, and that is a father-daughter tale. “For me it really worked out because Lisa Kristal was on set as one of the executive producers -- she’s the source! She and I would sit and chat about memories that she had about her father and CBGB, and the good and the bad and the motivation behind it,” Greene said.
“I lucked out in that sense. The one nice thing that I discovered was their relationship and the heart of it all. Despite their differences, they really loved and cared about each other and came from a good place. It’s kind of a different side of things that people would not expect when they hear the name CBGB.”
Galecki, through his research and participation on the film, was surprised at the community of musicians that was spawned through the club that opened its doors in 1973.
“What was fun to learn was the chronological order of what bands accomplished what and how they influenced one another and how they especially supported one another. It was a very endearing story that I would not have expected,” Galecki said.
When it comes to their own musical tastes, both are a product of the world we live in today where iPods feature thousands of songs that go across genres. “I’m all over the place. I have 12,000 songs on my laptop. Whatever suits the mood or distracts from your mood," Galecki said.
Greene concurred. “I’m all over the place too,” she said. “Music is such an amazing tool to influence how you’re feeling and it can take you back to a place.”
When people exit the theater after seeing CBGB, Galecki hopes they take away one powerful thing. “That it was a true and honest and organic movement,” he said.
“At the time, they couldn’t have known the chord they would strike in pop culture and the history of music. It’s just a reminder that to start a true movement of anything that hasn’t been seen or heard or felt before, it really needs to be boiled down to whatever that expression is. That happens in film and fashion and music certainly. Something strikes a chord and snowballs until it almost mocks what it first was.”