RISE UP, GATHER ‘ROUND

Def Leppard’s Diamond Star Halos shines on the Sunset Strip on eve of band’s invite-only Whisky show.

On the eve of their hotly-anticipated show at the Whisky A Go-Go on May 26, Def Leppard left their mark on the Sunset Strip earlier today to announce the release of their new album, Diamond Star Halos.

The British band is in town to perform an invite-only concert as a promotion for the new album, sponsored by streaming giant SiriusXM.

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‘ROCK ROW’ RETURNS TO FORM

Sunset Boulevard welcomes rockin’ resurgence thanks to Rainbow’s ‘Party in the Parking Lot’ and Whisky’s tireless championing of live rock n’ roll.

For almost two long, agonizing years, the world-famous Sunset Strip’s “Rock Row” seemed like a ghost town because of the pandemic and it’s stranglehold on the fears of the general public.

But once the mask debates subsided and the world got back to semi-normal, the sounds of authentic rock and roll began once again filling the Sunset Strip with a buzz that has kept the scene alive since then, courtesy of some of the coolest concerts to ever hit WeHo post-pandemic.

Cherie Currie delivering timeless classics by The Runaways at “Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood.”

The Whisky A Go-Go and Rainbow Bar and Grill should be commended for keeping the flame of rock n’ roll alive through some challenging times by hosting recent free shows at the Whisky, with Tuesday’s Jam Night, and at the Rainbow with April’s “Party in the Parking Lot” with Ratt‘s Stephen Pearcy, Steel Panther, and Hollywood legends Pretty Boy Floyd.

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PEPPERS POP UP ON MELROSE

Red Hot Chili Peppers pop up shop is coming to the band’s alma mater, Fairfax High, on April 3.

L.A.’s Amoeba Music will be at the Melrose Trading Post at Fairfax High School on Sunday, April 3, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. selling the band’s new album Unlimited Love, along with exclusive merch!

Fairfax High is, of course, the band’s alma mater and is located at 7850 Melrose Ave. in L.A.

The Chili Peppers pop up shop will be located at Booth B84. 

Speaking of Amoeba Music, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will play a special show at the Hollywood record store on April 7.

Fans who bought Unlimited Love at the Hollywood Boulevard music shop on April 1, when the album came out, received free tickets to the show.

RHOADS WARRIORS

Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood’s Randy Rhoads tribute concert was a family affair at Whisky A Go-Go, with special guests Kelle and Kathy Rhoads making a guest appearance.

The Whisky’s long-running Tuesday night showcase Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood, which has hosted tribute nights dedicated to everyone from Metallica to Motley Crue, set it sites on the iconic music of Randy Rhoads on March 15.

The evening paid tribute to Rhoads’ influential guitar work as well as the songs he had co-written while a member of Ozzy Osbourne‘s band and Quiet Riot.

The show featured Ozzy’s greatest hits performed by amazing tribute performers and rockin’ guest artists covering two hours of the greatest heavy metal classics ever written.

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CHILLIN’ IN HOLLYWOOD

SoCal icons Red Hot Chili Peppers will receive long-awaited star on Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 31, with guests George Clinton and Woody Harrelson to honor L.A.’s hometown heroes.

It’s been 40 years in the making, and now, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are are leaving their mark on Hollywood—literally—with an official Walk of Fame star on Hollywood Boulevard.

The Walk of Fame ceremony is being held on March 31, the day before the Chili Peppers’ new album, Unlimited Love, is due out (April 1). Coincidently, funk legend George Clinton, who produced the Hollywood band’s second album, Freaky Styley, will be presenting the star at the ceremony, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at 6212 Hollywood Boulevard, in front of Amoeba Records.

RHCP band members, including singer-songwriter Anthony Kiedis, bassist Michael “Flea” Balzary, guitarist John Frusciante, and drummer Chad Smith, will be honored with the 2,717th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Famous fan Woody Harrelson is also set to appear at the ceremony to salute the iconic musicians. Bob Forrest, the former frontman of L.A. band Thelonious Monster, is a longtime friend of the band and occasional collaborator who will also be on hand to say a few words.

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SUNSET STRIP SALUTES MEAT LOAF

Roxy Sunset pays homage to hard rock hero with line from timeless Rocky Horror hit.

The Roxy in the heart of the Sunset Strip is using its famous marquee to pay homage to Meat Loaf, who passed away this week, by featuring a line from one of his best songs, “Hot-Patootie (Bless My Soul),” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The rock legend, of course, played motorcycle-riding badass “Eddie’ in a memorable cameo in the cult hit film, which was produced by Lou Adler, owner of the Roxy.

Meat Loaf, whose real name is Marvin Aday, sold over 100 million albums, with the iconic Bat Out of Hell, remaining one of his best-selling albums. Of course, the multitalented rock vocalist also had memorable acting roles in the Hollywood blockbusters Wayne’s World and Fight Club. The well-loved musician died from the coronavirus on January 20 at age 74.

The singer’s family confirmed the news of his death via Facebook, writing: “Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight surrounded by his wife Deborah, daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends. …We know how much he meant to so many of you, and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man. From his heart to your souls…don’t ever stop rocking!”

At such a devastating time, it’s great to see the Sunset Strip landmark take time out to pay respect to one of rock’s greatest vocalists and frontmen. R.I.P., Meat Loaf.

SUNSET STRIP’S BEST ROCK SHOWS OF 2021

BulletBoys frontman Marq Torien rocked an acoustic show, Wolfgang Van Halen sold out the venue, and Dokken was back for the attack at Whisky A Go-Go throughout 2021, providing the Sunset Strip with some of last year’s best shows.

There was a good variety of decent rock shows to check out in 2021 that gave Angelenos something to take their minds off of the pandemic. And while legends like the Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, and Slipknot rocked Inglewood’s newly-opened SoFi Stadium last year, some of the best intimate shows were happening in WeHo, where rock superstars like Wolfgang Van Halen, Don Dokken, George Lynch, Vivian Campbell, Vinnie Appice, and BulletBoys’ Marq Torien kept the Sunset Strip shakin’ with memorable sold-out shows and timeless stories at the Whisky A Go-Go.

BulletBoys’ Reunion Show Unexpectedly Turned into an Unplugged Solo Set with Frontman Marq Torien Sounding as Smooth as Ever

The hotly-anticipated BulletBoys reunion show at the Whisky A Go-Go in December had been advertised for months. But at the last minute, plans unexpectedly changed on show night, explained frontman Mark Torien from the Whisky’s stage, where he delivered a scorching mostly-unplugged solo set. He didn’t explain why the reunion was cancelled, and instead he invited Whisky fave Ira Black to help out on timeless BulletBoys hits like “Smooth Up in Ya,” “Hell On My Heels,” and “Shoot the Preacher Down.”

Black’s scorching guitar contribution and Torien’s soulful metal pipes immediately had the crowd forgetting all about the reunion as they rocked along. Throughout the 90-minute show, Torien covered most of the best tracks on the L.A. band’s first two albums, BulletBoys and Freakshow. The Whisky crowd seemed won over by the impromptu solo show, especially when he got to the unplugged renditions of “Hard as a Rock” and the BulletBoys’ cover of The O’Jays’ “Money.”

Just as memorable as Torien’s set were the awesome stories he told between songs, about his glory days creating heavy metal history on the Sunset Strip, and getting props from David Lee Roth and Alex Van Halen when performing at WeHo’s Troubadour when he was 16.

Then again, hearing these first-person stories is what makes seeing a show at the Whisky so special. Throughout 2021, other Sunset Strip legends would also share fascinating personal anecdotes about their connection to the Whisky and the Sunset Strip.

Wolfgang Van Halen Marked a Milestone with Mammoth’s Historic Headlining Show at Whisky

When Wolfgang Van Halen’s band Mammoth headlined the Whisky shortly after their North American jaunt opening for Guns N’ Roses, the frontman looked around the room in awe from center stage and reminded the sold-out crowd, “So, this is where it all started…”

He seemed as in awe of the venue and its history as we were, and we all knew what “it” meant, of course. The Whisky’s stage is where his father and uncle’s iconic band launched a career that would make music history over and over again while inspiring countless young musicians whose first taste of world-class hard rock was hearing Van Halen’s self-titled 1978 debut.

Wolfgang seemed to know he had an important family history to uphold, and the former Van Halen bassist then spent the next hour and a half proving that he doesn’t necessarily need his Van Halen cohorts to effortlessly deliver a commanding, amp-shaking performance before a fist-pumping packed house at one of the world’s most iconic—and intimidating—rock n’ roll venues.

Continue reading SUNSET STRIP’S BEST ROCK SHOWS OF 2021

ROCKIN’ LIKE DOKKEN

Band founders Don Dokken and legendary guitarist George Lynch to reunite at Dokken’s headlining Whisky shows in December.

One of the greatest bands from the heavy metal era of the awesome ’80s, Dokken is returning to the very launching pad that kick-started the legendary group’s hit-making career. There’s nowhere else you’re going to want to be on December 17 and December 18 than at the Whisky A Go-Go, when Dokken returns to the world-famous venue to set the roof on fire with timeless classics like “In My Dreams,” “It’s Not Love,” “Just Got Lucky,” “Alone Again,” “Dream Warriors,” and many more scorching metal masterpieces.

Sure, the the band’s namesake founder is the only original member in Dokken’s current lineup, but these shows are extraordinary events for hardcore fans. It marks a reunion of Don Dokken and the band’s original guitar hero, George Lynch, who—along with drummer Mick Brown and bassists Juan Croucier then Jeff Pilsen—helped the band go on to sell over 10 million albums worldwide.

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PARTY LIKE IT’S 1985

Hey, bud, let’s party! Faux Jeff Spicoli hosts ‘Fast Times’ and rolls out the best of ’80s rock at Whisky A Go-G0 every Monday Night.

The Whisky A Go-Go is slowly but surely getting back into the swing of rocking your face off again with awesome live shows and concerts that will make you remember exactly why the Sunset Strip is the birthplace of rock and roll.

There is nowhere else in the city of Los Angeles where you’re going to get as much world-class entertainment–for $10, no less–than at Whisky’s weekly event, “Fast Times.”

The moniker is both the name of the event and the band that headlines the evening of totally awesome all-1980s hits at the hottest party you’re ever going to find anywhere in Hollywood on a Monday night.

It’s actually more precise to say that “Fast Times” is the name of the band, and the band is an event. They deliver note-perfect covers of high-energy, fist-pumping rock and pop classics by bands everyone loves, like Depeche Mode, Beastie Boys, and Bon Jovi, and the energy in the room, the visuals, and the faux Jeff Spicoli host combine to make this one of the coolest Eighties parties this side of a Ridgemont High prom.

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SOUNDS OF SABBATH

RAINBOW

Return of Rainbow’s ‘Backyard Bash’ brought classic metal back home to the Sunset Strip.

It’s been a hell of a wait but on Sept. 5, the Rainbow Bar and Grill welcomed back all the heavy metal you could handle with the triumphant return of its annual “Backyard Bash,” an all-day live concert event featuring national and local bands cranking out heavy metal hits in the parking lot behind the Roxy and Rainbow.

After having its spring events canceled twice and their fall event once, the Sept. 5 event marked the first time the Rainbow hosted a rock n’ roll party of this magnitude. And it did not disappoint.

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THE GUERILLAS

L.A. street artists add refreshing vibrancy to Sunset Strip with homage to rock icons and Hollywood legends.

LACMA may have been on lockdown as we wait out the crazy corona crisis, but local guerrilla artists have been busy keeping the urban landscape interesting with original works of art that have been dotting the Sunset Strip lately.

Alec Monopoly leaves his artful touch in the 90210

Rock icons like KISS, Star Wars heroine Princess Leia, sports great Mike Tyson, and legendary rock and roll club Whisky A Go-Go are just a few of the fascinating subjects that inspired some of the stellar street art that we’ve come across recently in WeHo.

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BACK FOR MORE

Gilby Clark covering the Rolling Stones at Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood.

Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood officially confirms it’s coming back to the Sunset Strip in August!

It has been a long couple of months trying to get used to some kind of balance of a normal life during this crazy corona situation that’s happening around the world. It’s been especially tough in Los Angeles County, where the mask mandate just seems to fluctuate with the wind.

However, I received some great news recently as I was walking down Sunset and passed the Whisky A Go-Go as it was hosting a surprise show by Yungblud.

I spotted Whisky’s owner and had to ask about the return of Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood, which is the greatest thing to happen to the world-famous club since The Doors was its house band. Mikael Maglieri confirmed that it was “definitely coming back, most likely in August.”

Eagles of Death Metal’s Jesse Hughes showed up to Jam Night on his motorcycle.

Then, a short time later, the official Instagram page of Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood confirmed that the night is coming back on August 24. Nothing could be more awesome than hearing that news, because that one single night is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen of the Whisky A Go-Go in my life, and I have seen plenty of shows there by the biggest artists on the planet going back as far as the awesome Eighties.

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SOUND EDUCATION

For Those About to Rook book

Rockin’ new book For Those About to Rock teaches kids music history with some edgy fun.

If you respect and appreciate good music and great artists, then you may be feeling a bit indifferent about the trending videos on YouTube that feature millennials and Gen Zers sharing their reaction to first hearing classic songs by legendary artists like the Bee Gees and Motley Crue. Now, watching strangers react to music sounds about as interesting as playing Zeppelin records backwards hoping to hear Satan. However, the most surreal part of the whole “reaction video” trend is that some young people simply aren’t ashamed of their lack of basic music history.

Granted, being able to name the four original members of KISS without needing to check Wikipedia won’t land you a professorship at the local university. But by the time anyone reaches their teen years, you’d hope they’d have some semblance of how and why Bruce Springsteen and The Beatles are just as important to American and world history as George Washington and Albert Einstein.

For Those About to Rook book

Considering how difficult it is just to get a basic quality education nowadays, we’re not holding our breath. Fortunately, a rockin’ new book has found a great solution. Author/rocker Kate Seldman‘s For Those About to Rock: A Kid’s Guide to 50 Legendary Musical Acts is a long overdue, gorgeously illustrated “textbook” that highlights a rich musical education delivered in a fun and engaging presentation that would appeal to any young mind that loves learning.

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AMERICAN GRAFFITI

Artists turn L.A. streets into an urban art gallery any music fan would love.

In 2020, the Sunset Boulevard scene–from Rock Row to Dodger Stadium–has dramatically changed as a result of the pandemic and the nation’s turbulent political climate. And the changes extend beyond just the physical sense of seeing the famous, once-glamorous and vibrant landscape covered in bland blonde plywood and political graffiti.

The biggest impact is the deafening silencing of the world-class live rock and roll music that always seemed to be a ubiquitous part of the Sunset Strip. Regardless of when you visited Sunset’s Rock Row, there was always an exciting rock and roll energy and spontaneous soundtrack permeating the legendary thoroughfare and creating an intrinsic connection with visitors.

Until this year, there was always music in the night air, whether it was the power chords of superstars like Lita Ford or local faves like Budderside emanating from the Whisky A Go Go, or the rockin’ retro sounds of Missing Persons or L.A. rockers Warner Drive (pictured below) shaking the foundation of the Viper Room.

Warner Drive band

However, while the temporary closure of the Whisky, Viper Room and Roxy is tough on everyone, there is some good news.

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WHISKY CURES EVERYTHING

Five of the hardest rockin’ shows headed to the Whisky A Go-Go in 2021.

Sure, we all know that the year 2020 sucks worse than that recent Tommy Lee album, but with a promising vaccine reportedly on the way, there are plenty of awesome concerts that we’re looking forward to in 2021 as we start to make up for lost time.And thanks to Pfizer, we’ll be doing it mask-free and close enough to scare the band. (That was a Fast Times at Ridgemont High joke.)

While we certainly love, respect and appreciate livestream shows from our favorite bands and nightclubs, nothing can ever replace the euphoria and excitement and the intrinsic connection with bands and fellow fans that a live concert offers. Catching concerts at the Whisky A Go-Go–which I’ve done countless times for decades–is a unique experience that wows all the senses.

Whisky A Go-Go
Setting the scene for virtually every Whisky show is the ubiquitous aroma of fine cannabis that wafts above small cliques of Whisky patrons usually seen hanging out in front of the club between sets. The contact high provides a decent buzz that adds to the excitement of seeing the awesome interior of the legendary venue and its unique rock artifacts that cover its walls and pay tribute to past Whisky headliners and house bands like Motley Crue and The Doors.

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TRACKING L.A.'S MUSIC SCENE FROM THE SUNSET STRIP

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