Legendary punk club CBGB is no more - a last-ditch bid to save the New York City venue has failed.

Blondie, Public Enemy, Bad Brains and Gavin Rossdale's new band Institute were among the groups that finished off a month of benefit dates in New York's Washington Square Park yesterday (31AUG05), but their efforts were in vain.

The venue's landlord, the Bowery Residents' Committee (BRC), had, apparently, already decided to evict owner Hilly Kristal, bringing the club that helped launch rock icons like the Ramones and Talking Heads to a sad end.

In a statement released earlier today (01SEP05), BRC executive director MUZZY ROSENBLATT said, "It is in the best interest of our clients - the homeless and neediest New Yorkers - to sever this relationship."

The statement asks CBGB bosses to "vacate the premises both voluntarily and expeditiously".

But E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt has blasted the announcement, fuming, "We're not going without a fight.

"If the eviction proceedings start tomorrow, which I hope it doesn't, we'll fight it in the courts."

And Kristal, who opened the club in 1973, had continued to book acts for the coming months in an act of defiance.

He said, "We intend to stay. This is not a eulogy. There's no reason why we shouldn't come to an understanding."

Kristal insists he's reluctant to move CBGB to a new venue, although he has been offered a permanent home in Las Vegas, Nevada.

He adds, "CBGB started here and it was nurtured here. Moving somewhere else wouldn't be the same thing. A rock club changing locations has never worked."

The club opened its doors in 1973 and became known as the most vital venue in the New York punk scene of the mid-to-late 1970s.