Randy Jones And Joan Jett

Joan Jett Performs

The nostalgia factor was smokin' hot at the grand opening of the new John Varvatos store at 315 Bowery, the site of the late and much-lamented punk mecca CBGB. The concept store, which has retained as much as possible of the old club’s character, played host to a benefit concert for VH1’s Save the Music Foundation. “Handsome” Dick Manitoba, the Dictators singer turned proprietor of Manitoba’s bar, introduced John Varvatos to the stage. “And isn’t it better that some of the history is preserved, unlike some of the other great New York spots, like 2nd Avenue Deli and the Palladium, which is now a NYU dorm?”Once again the famed CBGB stage was home to acts including Ronnie Spector, Cheetah Chrome (of the Dead Boys), and Ian Hunter (the former frontman of Mott the Hoople), but the real action was backstage. “It’s quite a night for characters,” the great punk photographer Mick Rock said with a chuckle as he squeezed past with that 'Macho Man' Randy Jones(Village People) to grab another Corzo Tequila margarita and watch Slash(Guns & Roses, Velvet Revolver), Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains), Tom Morrello (Rage Against the Machine), Wayne Kramer (MC5), and actor Brekin Meyer perform “Kick out the Jams.” Gina Gershon, who had filmed a scene in the club for the movie Prey for Rock & Roll, ducked out after Joan Jett’s surprise performance, missing Perry Farrell’s energetic turn on stage. Outside behind the venue, Bobbby Cannavale, Zoe Kravitz, Jakob Dylan, Clem Burke (Blondie), Tika Sumpter (One Life to Live), and Sen Dog (Cypress Hill), reminisced about the old days. Back in the huge film-sized dressing room trailer pulled into the back alley behind the club, Joan Jett and Randy Jones traded war stories of the days of Neil Bogart music mogul of Casablanca and Boardwalk Records. “It has been nine years since I last played here,” said Jett."It's been THIRTY YEARS since I played here!', Jones declared, upping the ante! Jones topped the evening with: “I never thought that at CBGB’s I’d smell the mix of (pot) smoke and Bengay in the air. That's more like a Stones concert!”.
Only in New York, kids!

Ronnie Spector And Randy Jones

Photos By:Mark Rupp