WHISKY CURES EVERYTHING

5 Rockin’ LIVE Whisky A Go-Go Shows We’re Looking Forward to 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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ROCKIN’ DESIGN: ‘FRANKENSTEIN’ LIVES

Van Halen

Add some cool color to a drab wall while saluting a rock icon.

After a few months of being cooped up inside all day during this unprecedented lockdown across the nation, you may find that you now have some free time to chill out and reflect on life and find inner peace. Or, you may have spent the last few months trying to drown your anxiety in whiskey and bong hits as Van Halen blares in the background on Spotify on a constant loop. I chose the latter.

Buzzed and suffering from lockdown boredom, I randomly found some old tubes of acrylic paint that I had lying around the house and I decided to paint over an old canvas that was sitting in the closet.

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IN LIVING COLOR

Troubadour gets colorful, hopeful facelift as iconic venue sits empty.

During these turbulent times, it’s now that we can certainly use live music as a healing process and to combat the isolation caused by the lockdown. So, it’s especially unfortunate that the Troubadour, one of my favorite local live music venues, has remained empty for months due to the pandemic.

Recently, one of the nightclub’s promoters was on the local news lamenting about struggling to keep the landmark concert venue afloat during these unfortunate times. And like most music fans, I certainly feel the pain of these promoters and clubs that strive to continually bring in quality artists that are keeping rock n’ roll alive.

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BACK FOR THE ATTACK

Dokken

Dokken and Lynch Mob bringing the hits to Sunset in 2021.

The world-famous Whisky A Go-Go on the Sunset strip has been working overtime to keep rock alive while the nightclub is temporarily closed because of the coronavirus. The Sunset Strip landmark has been hosting livestream concerts from the Whisky stage by bands like Black Veil Brides, and on September 19, guitar goddess Orianthi will be busting some strings for a livestream show, and thrash metal monsters Armored Saint headline a livestream set on October 10.

Dokken

Now, the Whisky has revealed another amazing show to look forward, and it’s not a lifestream show either. It’s a live, in-your-face double whammy concert bill featuring Lynch Mob and Dokken performing at a special two-night headlining gig at Whisky on Feb. 5 and 6. Lynch Mob is, of course, fronted by guitar hero George Lynch from Dokken. And it will be great to see the “Wicked Sensation” rocker back on the Whisky’s stage and rockin’ alongside longtime on again/off again bandmate Don Dokken.

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LOVE CONNECTION

Courtney Love

Courtney Love reacts to news of her connection to Jeffrey Epstein.

Anyone who is a longtime fan of legendary Hollywood hardrockers Hole and the band’s enigmatic frontwoman Courtney Love knows that trouble seems to find the singer wherever she goes, even when she’s been hiding low these past few years.

Over the last two decades, Love’s many feuds, fights, and the strategic flinging of a purse to infamously disrupt a high-profile 1995 Madonna interview have kept her in the headlines almost as much as Hole’s hit songs have. It’s no wonder why, without confirmation from famous friend Michael Stipe, Love has publicly theorized that r.e.m.‘s classic alt-rock song “Crush with Eyeliner” is about her, even though the tune’s protagonist equates his crush to “three miles of bad road.”

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BLACK CELEBRATION

BVB

Black Veil Brides to livestream anniversary show from the Whisky.

Hollywood rockers Black Veil Brides are putting on their best leather and hitting the road…sort of. Andy Biersack and his fellow Sunset Strip refugees are taking the coronavirus situation in stride and have devised a great solution to keep on rockin’. On August 1, the band will head to WeHo to celebrate the release of its forthcoming new album by performing Re-Stitch These Wounds in full at the Whisky A Go-Go.

The special record release party performance will be the first time that BVB will be rocking tracks from Re-Stitch These Wounds, a 10-year anniversary re-recording of the Brides’ 2010 debut album, We Stich These Wounds. The new release is due July 31.

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ALICE REVISITED

Alice In Chains

Retro Rewind: Alice in Chains talk music, Van Halen…and goats.

By David Ciminelli

*To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Alice in Chains’ Facelift, which was released in August 1990, here’s a reprint of an interview that I did in October 1991 with Layne Staley and Michael Starr…

Walking into Alice in Chains’ tour bus feels a bit like entering into a scene from This is Spinal Tap.

A half-conscious groupie grabs her purse and combat boots and politely excuses herself as she exits. 

A few quiet moments pass before two members of the band enter the alcove at the rear of the bus. 

Alice In Chains

Looking a bit dazed and confused, the pair make themselves comfortable as they stretch out on the only two cots in the room. 

From their appearance, one can guess that they’ve slept in the very clothes they’re wearing. Incidentally, this is the same attire they will wear tonight when they perform before 15,000 fans in Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. 

For being members of one of America’s premiere hardcore-alternative bands, the pair look rather tame. Bassist Michael Starr is donned in standard thrash metal fashion: t-shirt, shorts, and combat boots. Frontman Layne Staley is shoeless and dressed in ripped jeans, t-shirt, and has his head wrapped in a bandana and his beard spun into a braid.

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FUTURE DAYS

Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam reschedules European tour dates, adds shows.

Pearl Jam’s North American tour in support of the Seattle band’s 11th studio album, Gigton, is still pending due to the coronavirus pandemic, but its 2020 European tour has been rescheduled for June and July of 2021. The 2021 tour routing includes two new concert dates — Pinkpop Festival and Prague. Support acts will be announced closer to the concert dates.

Previously purchased tickets will remain valid for all rescheduled shows.

Pearl Jam

“We look forward to returning to Europe, pending these events can safely take place in Summer 2021,” said the band is a press statement that hit social media on July 23. “The safety and well-being of the band’s fans, crew and event staff continue to be priority.”

KICK OUT THE ‘JAM’

Whisky A Go-Go

Whisky’s ‘Jam Night’ delivers more treats than tricks in October.

Tuesday nights in WeHo have never been the same since “Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood” took over the Whisky a few years back. The weekly two-hour showcase of live music has brought back to the Sunset Strip neighborhood an authentic and always awesome rock and roll experience not seen nor heard since the days when Axl, Nikki and Blackie strode its storied streets. In fact, many of the stellar musicians in the “Ultimate Jam” band as well as the weekly surprise guests have likely rocked a stage alongside iconic bands like Guns N’ Roses and Quiet Riot at one time or another. The Tuesday night “Jam” band includes Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot) Matt Starr (Mr. Big), and Mitch Perry (Edgar Winter Group).1OAK

When not rocking the Whisky’s stage as frontman for the new revival of Sweet, staggeringly talented vocalist Paulie Z hosts “Ultimate Jam Night,” effortlessly segueing between announcing the artists and raising the roof with the house band on a few of the evening’s cover tunes. And all through October, Z and his crew were serving up more treats than tricks.

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‘CRIME’ REPORT

Geoff Tate’s Whisky show proves he’s still king of prog-metal.

Former Queensryche frontman Geoff Tate delivered a mind-f*** at the Whisky on August 17, and fans couldn’t get enough of the hard-rockin’ hits crushing their cabezas. Tate’s timeless classics had the crowd of 200 or so fans fist pumping and singing along throughout the nearly two-hour set that celebrated the 30th anniversary of Queensryche’s 1988 breakthrough album, Operation Mindcrime.

Promising to perform the prog-metal masterpiece in its entirety, Tate and his band delivered a faithful rendition of the 15-song concept album that saw his talented daughter, Emily Tate, guesting on vocals on “Sister Mary.” The multi-platinum Operation Mindcrime is one of Queensryche’s most memorable and successful releases, and arguably the Seattle band’s best album. And Tate and company blew the roof off the Whisky A Go-Go performing perfect renditions of the classic rock hits.

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STONED ON SUNSET

UJNH - GILBY CLARKE

Whisky’s Rolling Stones tribute would’ve made Mick Jagger proud. 

Host Paulie Z and the guys behind Ultimate Jam Night, the free weekly Tuesday night event at the Whisky A Go-Go, pulled off another spectacular show with a recent tribute to the Rolling Stones. Now, you can never go wrong with the Stones, but add in special guests like Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke and keyboardist Dizzy Reed and Eagles of Death Metal‘s Jesse Hughes, and you’ve got one helluva show.

UJNH - JESS HUGHES

Of course, the Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood house band was stellar, too. Rock tour veterans Mitch Perry (Edgar Winter Group, Lita ford), Matt Starr (Ace FrehleyMr. Big), and Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood founder Chuck Wright (Alice CooperQuiet Riot) never missed a beat as they performed alongside a rockin’ roster of guest musicians from local and national bands.

The addition of horns and percussion really helped capture the sound and spirit of the nearly 20 Rolling Stones classics that were covered throughout a solid two-hour show.

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HEAVY METAL HERO WORSHIP

Dio Portrait

Feuding bands Last in Line & Dio Disciples to rock Sunset in 2018.

Fans of the late, great Ronnie James Dio are getting two good reasons to hit the Sunset Strip in early 2018. The world-famous Whisky a Go-Go will be welcoming back to its stage Dio Disciples on Jan. 25 to start the year off right — and LOUD — with a night of RJD classics. Dio Disciples is comprised of musicians who worked with Dio later in his career, including drummer Simon Wright, who backed up Dio on 1990’s Lock Up the Wolves and RJD’s tenth and final studio album, 2004’s Master of the Moon.

Then, as “Hey Angel” and “Evil on Queen Street” are still echoing in your cabeza, the Whisky’s walls will be shakin’ again to the sounds of Last in Line, which headlines the Sunset Strip club two weeks later, on Feb. 16.

As far as authenticity goes, this Dio tribute band launched by guitar legend Vivian Campbell (pictured with Dio, right) carries a bit more cache and is comprised of members of RJD’s career-making early band, which also helped co-write tracks on the first three hits-packed Dio albums: 1983’s Holy Diver, 1984’s Last in Line, and 1985’s Sacred Heart.

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‘POWER’ TRIPPIN’

Gene Simmons- Main

Book Soup offers KISS fans chance to snag Gene Simmons’ autograph.

Multi-talented KISS legend Gene Simmons‘ new Harper Collins book, On Power: My Journey Through the Corridors of Power and How You Can Get More Power, is set to hit bookshelves on Nov. 14.

The prolific author’s self-help/business guide is a follow up to Simmons’ best-selling 2014 tome, Me, Inc. and will set you back about $16.

Fans pre-ordering On Power through West Hollywood’s Book Soup, however, will get an added bonus for the same price. Select copies pre-ordered from the Sunset Strip book shop will be autographed by the Demon himself and are set to land in the store on Nov. 14. Book Soup is one of only two booksellers worldwide offering the limited-edition signed bookplates.

To pre-order On Power, visit or contact Book Soup, at 8818 Sunset Blvd.

BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN

Sunset Strip legends Pretty Boy Floyd return to the Whisky, Dec. 1.

A lot has changed on the Sunset Strip’s Rock Row since the awesome Eighties, when local legends like Motley Crue, Ratt, Creature, Warrant, and Pretty Boy Floyd, ruled the scene.

Somewhere along the way, after Hollywood hit-makers like Guns N’ Roses and Crue stepped off the Strip and into global stardom while landmark haunts like Gazzarri’s and Duke’s shuttered, the celebratory anthem of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” was drown out by grunge and changing times. And by the late-’80s, instead of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, all we were left with was AIDS, crack and Mariah Carey.

Then, a few decades later, we mourned the death of Motley Crue, witnessed the end of the Sunset Strip Music Festival, and then the Sunset Strip lost a part of its soul with the passing of local legend Mario Maglieri last May.

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ADIOS AGAIN, TOWER RECORDS SUNSET

Tower Records is still the toast of the town, even if it’s only in spirit.

The landmark location where the famous Tower Records Sunset once stood in the heart of the Sunset Strip has gotten another exterior makeover today.

Gibson Guitars still owns the joint, but the outside is now draped in the guise of a giant bottle of Casamigos.

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