All posts by David M. Ciminelli

I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day. (*But socially distanced, of course.)

SAY GOODBYE TO HOLLYWOOD

Tower Records Sunset is stripped from the world-famous boulevard, with only rockin’ memories left in it’s shadow.

Opened in 1971 and shuddering in 2006 when the company went bankrupt, Tower Records Sunset is unarguably the iconic brand’s most famous outlet.

Situated in the heart of the Sunset Strip’s Rock Row, mere steps from the Whisky A Go-Go, its exterior’s vibrant yellow and red color scheme and huge colorful album cover replicas added to the vibrancy of the world-famous boulevard.

The former record shop at 8801 Sunset Boulevard also hosted some of the most unique rock events, concerts, and record release parties for every superstar from Mariah Carey and Shakira to Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie

Plus, while browsing through the racks at Tower Sunset, it was not uncommon to see rock stars like Henry Rollins and Slash checking out the latest releases.

EX-RECORD STORE ROCKERS: Axl Rose (left) and Rivers Cuomo

Also, future rock superstars like Guns N’ RosesAxl Rose, Weezer‘s Rivers Cuomo, and Green Jelly frontman Bill Manspeaker worked behind the counter at Tower Records Sunset before they moved on to careers headlining arenas.

Once Tower Records Sunset closed its doors forever in 2006, the building was utilized for everything from a pop-up art gallery showcasing work by The Cult guitarist Billy Duffy to interactive walk-through mazes promoting shows like Roswell and the movie Captain Marvel.

Most recently, the Tower Records Sunset location was used as the setting for the Hulu movie Pam & Tommy.

The local landmark is a protected historic institution that somehow ended up completely losing its shell recently thanks to lax protections and a new directive by its new retail proprietors.

Earlier this week crews began dismantling the walls and famous storefront. Despite its historic value, the building was forever changed and is unrecognizable as the famous yellow and red square building that was an unforgettable part of the Sunset Strip cityscape since the early Seventies.

Popular clothing and sneaker shop Supreme is the space’s new proprietor. It’s kind of ironic that in order to showcase their mammoth sneaker shop, Supreme completely removed the sole, er soul of the Sunset Strip.

THERE GOES MY HERO

Foo Fighters to honor Taylor Hawkins with special tribute concert at the Forum in September.

Great news for L.A. Foo Fighters fans. The hit-making band is set to play a tribute concert in honor of late drummer Taylor Hawkins on September 27 at the Forum.

The Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert will feature an all-star lineup of guest performers, which will be announced at a later date.

Texas native Hawkins, who was raised in Laguna Beach, died on March 25 in Bogota, Colombia, where he was scheduled to perform with the Foos at the Festival Estereo Picnic, before headlining Lollapalooza Brazil. An official cause of death has not been released, but toxicological tests reportedly found a number of different narcotics in his system.

In a statement, the late musician’s wife, Alison Hawkins, thanked For Fighters fans for the “outpouring of love.”

“Taylor was honored to be a part of the Foo Fighters and valued his dream role in the band every minute of his 25 years with them,” said Hawkins.

Tickets for the L.A. tribute concert go on sale on June 17 at FooFighters.com.

The L.A. concert will be preceded by a September 3 tribute concert at London’s Wembley Stadium. The U.S. and U.K. performances are the only two shows announced.

‘BACKYARD BASH’ RETURNS TO SUNSET

Lita Ford, John 5, Enuff Z’nuff, and Iron Maidens are bringing classic metal hits to Rainbow’s ‘Backyard Bash’ in September.

The Sunset Strip is back in full swing as one of the most rockin’ places to party in SoCal thanks to the resurgence of some great recent rock shows that have reinvigorated a post-pandemic boulevard. Sunset was recently serenaded by the sounds of rock n’ roll legends like Stephen Pearcy, who headlined Rainbow Bar and Grill’s “Party in the Parking Lot” last month, and The RunawaysCherie Currie, who recently rocked the Whisky A Go-Go’s “Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood” event.

And thankfully, things are just starting to heat up. In fact, the Rainbow just announced the lineup for its hotly anticipated “Backyard Bash” fall showcase that is headlined by rock icon Lita Ford (pictured below). The concert showcase will also feature sets by fellow heavy metal hit-makers Enuff Z’nuff and John 5 rounding out a bill for what’s certain to be another excellent live outdoor event on Sunset in September.

Born in London and raised in Long Beach, Lita Ford is no stranger to the Sunset Strip, having rocked the Whisky and the old Gazzarri’s plenty of times as a teenage member of The Runaways, and later as a solo artist with hits like “Close My Eyes Forever” and “Kiss Me Deadly.” Lita’s scorching guitar solos are sure to be on par with that of Rob Zombie guitarist and ex-Marilyn Manson member John 5 (pictured below), whose solo set is sure to cover much of his 2019 release, Invasion, and 2021’s Sinner.

Enuff Z’nuff (pictured below) is no stranger to the Sunset Strip, having rocked the Whisky A Go-Go plenty of times, including recently when the band’s set included some stellar Beatles covers that they’ll likely showcase at the “Backyard Bash.”

Local faves the Iron Maidens and ex-Murder Dolls frontman Wednesday 13 are also on the bill for the “Backyard Bash,” an all-day concert event happening September 4 in the parking lot of the Rainbow, at 9015 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.

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.

Continue reading RISE UP, GATHER ‘ROUND

‘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.

Continue reading ‘ROCK ROW’ RETURNS TO FORM

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.

Continue reading RHOADS WARRIORS

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.

Continue reading CHILLIN’ IN HOLLYWOOD

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.

Continue reading ROCKIN’ LIKE DOKKEN

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.

Continue reading PARTY LIKE IT’S 1985

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.

Continue reading SOUNDS OF SABBATH

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.

Continue reading THE GUERILLAS

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.

Continue reading BACK FOR MORE