New York's legendary punk rock club CBGB faces closure in an ongoing rent dispute.

The rock 'n' roll landmark, where groups like Blondie and the Ramones launched their careers, will be closed if club bosses fail to resolve a dispute over unpaid rent with the homeless charity that owns the building.

Longtime club owner Hilly Kristal (corr) insists he is paying off a $300,000 (GBP157,900) rent bill, but his landlords want to force him out.

He says, "The real thing is they don't want me back after our lease runs out in August (05).

"We've established something here... This is a kind of symbol of helping young musicians and new artists. I think we do a nice thing for a lot of people; maybe it's not quite as wonderful as helping the homeless but it has its benefits."

Kristal founded CBGB in 1973 by converting what had been a Hell's Angels hangout into one of the most famous venues for punk music in New York.

He plans to fight the closure of what he calls "a New York City institution."

08/03/2005 22:22