CBGBs was undeniably the world’s most famous 350-person-capacity live music venue. The iconic New York City music mecca also, somehow, managed to cement itself into a wider web of pop culture history. This was mostly thanks the large cast of New Wave, Punk and Hardcore bands that started there but went on to sell millions of albums and achieve worldwide success. And the man behind the desk at CBGBs, mixing those bands, was Thomas ‘Taxi’ Briell.
Reverb.com, the online music gear marketplace, recently discovered that Taxi Briell has an account on their website and is selling some audio gear from his personal collection. They were obviously stoked, and conducted a pretty rad interview with him all about CBGBs history and his experiences.
Here’s a little excerpt where Taxi talks about the venue’s crap-tacular original PA system:
The first time I walked in, the sound system was a pair of cardboard, fake wood columns that each had four 6×9 speakers — like [those] you [would] put on the rear packing shelf of your car back then for your car stereo.
The sound system itself kind of looked like a toaster. It was chrome and black, and it was what Catholic churches would use in their bingo halls. That was it, that was the sound system. It hung from the ceiling by coat hangers off of the sprinklers, which was illegal. And when Television did their first show there, that is what they played through. That is what the stage was for a long time.
One of the coolest pieces of gear that Taxi had listed recently was a custom built mixing console, a clone of the one he originally built and used at CBGBs. But alas, some rich em-effer has already scooped that one up, real quick-like.
first rule of gear valuation: walnut wood paneling = classic / vintage / expensive