Something had to go into the space vacated by CBGBs, and it could have been a lot worse than a John Varvatos store. Varvatos’ fashion line may be too expensive for some of the club’s former patrons, but the company’s ads feature rock luminaries such as Alice Cooper, Billy Gibbons, and Green Day, and, the first Thursday of each month, Varvatos clears away the clothing, and books bands into the space.
“People were bummed that CBGB’s was gone, but you have to hand it to John Varvatos—there is still live music in here,” says Chris Masterson of the Mastersons, who performed at the store to promote his husband-and-wife act’s debut CD, Birds Fly South [New West].
The shows are free—as is the booze—thanks to the sponsorship of companies such as Jack Daniels and Eastwood Guitars.
“When the Varvatos staff asked if we minded Eastwood sponsoring our show, we told them to save the sales pitch—my wife and I already use their instruments,” says Masterson. “We got some 6-strings from them for this event, and they have a lot of character for new guitars.”