Category Archives: ROCKIN’ NEWS

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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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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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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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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READ & ROLL ALL NITE

Paul Stanley to visit The Grove for KISS book signing, Nov. 3.

KISS founding member Paul Stanley will be dropping by L.A.’s The Grove on November 3 to celebrate the release of KISS: 1977-1980 with a book signing at Barnes & Noble.

The rock legend will be joined by photographer Lynn Goldsmith, who has famously photographed every music icon from Bono to Prince and authored the new chronicle of early KISStory.

Goldsmith shares rare photos of the band onstage, offstage and in candid moments on the road and in the studio. And considering that the tome has gotten the Starchild’s approval, you know it’s awesome.

To meet the KISS frontman, however, you must have a wristband, which is available with a purchase of KISS: 1977-1980 from Barnes & Noble at The Grove on the day of the event. Wristbands will begin being distributed at 9 a.m.

KISS - 1977-1980

The Grove is located at 189 The Grove Dr. in Los Angeles. The book signing begins at 7 p.m. Get more details on the Paul Stanley book signing here.

SHATTERED ‘HEAVEN’

Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson kicks bassist Twiggy Ramirez off new tour that starts Nov. 5 in SoCal.

Heaven ain’t the only thing that is upside down in Marilyn Manson‘s world. The rocker delivered a shocker on Oct. 24 via a tweet announcing that he is abruptly ditching his creative relationship with longtime bassist Jeordie White, who is better known as Twiggy Ramirez.

“I have decided to part ways with Jeordie White as a member of Marilyn Manson,” Manson tweeted. “He will be replaced for the upcoming tour.”

The unexpected split caught fans off guard, especially since the double M is about to launch a tour in support of his new album, Heaven Upside Down.

The news follows a recent revelation, via Facebook, by White’s ex girlfriend, fellow musician Jessicka Addams. In an FB post last Saturday, the former Jack Off Jill frontwoman accused White of sexual assault during their tumultuous relationship in the early Nineties.

Twiggy Ramirez

Manson has not mentioned a specific reason for giving White his walking papers, nor has he named his replacement. The “SAY10” singer did, however, add about his ex-bandmate, “I wish him well.”

Manson is set to kick off his Heaven Upside Down tour on Nov. 5 in Southern California, headlining Knotfest at the Glen Helen Amphitheatre.

DECADE OF DECADENCE

Nikki Sixx to celebrate Heroin Diaries anniversary with L.A. book signing.

Sunset Strip-launched rock and roll icon Nikki Sixx will be stopping by Barnes & Noble bookstore at The Grove on October 27 for a meet and greet with fans in honor of his best selling memoir The Heroin Diaries turning 10. The rare opportunity to meet the mastermind behind Motley Crue is free to those who have bought a copy of Sixx’s autobiographical tome from Barnes & Noble. A special 10-year anniversary edition of Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, which contains new chapters, and its related soundtrack, which contains new reworked tracks, will be released the same day as Sixx’s book signing.Heroin Diaries - Nikki Sixx - SouthernCaliforniaRocks.comThe multi-talented musician recently announced that he is pulling the plug on his popular nationally syndicated IHeartRadio talk show, Sixx Sense, at the end of the year. Sixx is, as he says, “shifting gears” to concentrate on other high-profile projects, including the upcoming Broadway musical adaptation of The Heroin Diaries.Heroin Diaries Tenth Anniversary - SouthernCalifroniaRocks.com“It’s been an inspirational journey and I’ll always be a fan of the medium, but it’s time to shift gears outside the realm of solely radio,” said Sixx in a recent press statement. “I’m in the process of developing new and unique programming and ventures across multiple platforms. But I’m really gonna miss Sixx Sense.”The former Crue bassist, who has since launched the equally badass band Sixx A.M., is currently on a mini-tour to hype the tenth anniversary edition of his infamous 2007 drugalogue about his battle with and successive win over substance abuse.In addition to seeing his harrowing New York Times bestseller hit the Great White Way next year, Sixx has hinted on social media about some exciting other projects he has in store for 2018, including putting a sharper focus on his acclaimed portrait photography. He will launch a global tour of his photography exhibit “Conversations with Angels,” which is currently on display at L.A.’s Leica Gallery through Nov. 7.Nikki Sixx - SouthernCaliforniaRocks.comSixx will be signing copies of The Heroin Diaries beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, at The Grove, located at 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles. Wristbands are required. Get more details here.

SIGNS, SIGNS…

Everywhere there’s Signs on Sunset. Now, Rock Row Welcomes Another to F*** Up the Scenery and Break Your Mind…

It looks like the Rainbow and Roxy are getting a tall new neighbor that will soon overshadow the rockin’ Sunset Strip hot spots. It’s likely to be another huge billboard to blight the gorgeous WeHo scenery.

And if it is, we hope that the billboard art is something as cool and relevant as this badass Guns N’ Roses ad located a few blocks away.

This post is dedicated to Tesla, whose cover of “Signs” still reigns over all others, like a giant Sunset Boulevard billboard.

HORNS UP

Dio

Vintage videos, old promo shots & an onstage lesson from Dio settle Devil’s Horns orgins debate once and for all. 

After learning of the “disgusting” recent attempt by Gene Simmons to trademark the famous “Devil’s Horns” salute that is synonymous with heavy metal music, I decided to do a little research to prove who really should be credited for inspiring millions of metalheads for over 30 years to raise their horns in celebration of all that rocks.

Sure, despite the metal hand sign being used nowadays to salute everything from a great set, to hyping soda in a lame Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial, most of us metal loyalists already assumed that Ronnie James Dio started the trend. After all, Dio once revealed in an interview that his Sicilian grandmother often used the sign as a decidedly dramatic way to ward off evil.

Personally, I remember first using the raised Devil’s Horns salute sometime around 1987 at a show on Dio’s Sacred Heart Tour at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium in Upstate New York. During the show, Dio saluted us and we sent the respect right back at him, with 16,000 metalheads joined in unison by the same symbolic gesture.

KISS fans

Despite Simmons’ reach to claim ownership of the hand sign, he admits in his memoir, KISS and Makeup, that he lifted his famous Demon salute from Spider-Man.

Even ex-President George Bush knows how to properly sport the Horns sign, which he was often photographed doing in the Nineties and later.

George BushHowever, he usually only did it at University of Texas at Austin football games to show his support for the Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns’ gesture is identical to Dio’s Devil’s Horns salute. However, the Longhorns hand sign has been a ubiquitous site at UT games since 1950. Nevertheless, those photos of Bush looking like he’d gone full-on metal confused some folks who believed fake news stories.

Ozzy Osbourne fansAdding to the mystique of the iconic Devil’s Horns history, the Prince of Fk’n Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne, has helped to make the hand sign even more famous on a global scale courtesy of near-constant touring since the mid-Seventies, both as the original frontman for Black Sabbath and as a solo superstar who helped to define what heavy metal really is.

Ozzy

However, after careful review of a couple of the metal master’s live videos spanning multiple decades, it is clear that Ozzy never really uses the Devil’s Horns salute. Like ever. It is his fans that often  use the gesture as a sign of gratitude, and many of those fans mistakenly believe that Osbourne is also the mastermind behind the gesture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After reviewing Ozzy’s concerts, it’s clear that it is his fans, not him, that often use the gesture as a sign of gratitude.

 

Also, Ozzy’s fans’ heavy metal salute wouldn’t surface until the mid- to late-Eighties, after Dio already made the Devil’s Horns hand gesture synonymous with heavy metal music.

Dio

In fact, while Dio was seen displaying the gesture in countless publicity photos throughout three decades of metal, Ozzy seemed to have been using every gesture except the Devil’s Horns salute.

PicsArt_07-22-01.52.09

By the time the global Metal Era was in full-swing around 1988, the Devil’s Horns had spread like sin in a whorehouse and the salute soon became ubiquitous at virtually every show, from pop-metal monsters like Bon Jovi to aural assaults by thrash metal gods like Megadeth.

When it comes to pinpointing exactly when the Horns first surfaced, you only have to check out some of the most popular live videos from late-Seventies and Eighties-era rock and metal concerts.

Black Sabbath’s badass 1970 concert video of the British metal legends tearing through classics like “Paranoid” is awe inspiring. However, his royal Ozzness does not flash the Devil’s Horns  once, nor does the audience. The metalheads were enthralled, of course, but at the time the highest form of respect was still fist-pumping and head-banging.

In another Black Sabbath concert clip, this one from 1980, when Dio had already replaced Ozzy, you can clearly see many audience members using the Devil’s Horns gesture while mimicking Dio’s salutation from the stage.

During the set, while performing the classic “Heaven and Hell,” Dio improvised what can only be considered a lesson in Hornsology 101. The iconic metal frontman flashes his audience a two-fisted Devil’s Horns salute while lecturing his legion of Sabbath fans on exactly what the gesture entails.

“It means, long live rock ‘n’ roll!” Dio proclaims from center stage, looking like a medieval king knighting his soldiers.

Throughout the concert, both Dio and his disciples use the Horns countless times.
Five years later, while touring in support of his 1985 album Sacred Heart, Ronnie James Dio expectedly tossed the Horns endlessly throughout his two-hour showcase of hits. And again, his audience flashed the same salute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘It means, long live rock ‘n’ roll!’ Dio proclaims, looking like a medieval king knighting his soldiers.

 

By the time Dio’s classic concert video for 1985’s “Hungry for Heaven” hit MTV and Headbangers Ball, the band’s frontman had already made the Devil’s Horns a staple of his live shows. In the live clip, he again features the now-famous Horns countless times.

The Devil’s Horns, however, still remained exclusive to Dio’s fans and live shows. The Horns trend did not ignite and become a common sight at virtually every rock and metal concert going forward until a few years and a couple more Dio tours later.

During the Eighties Metal Era, Bon Jovi also showcased the power of its live performances, such as in the New Jersey band’s iconic 1986 music video for “You Give Love a Bad Name.” When the cameras cut away from Jon Bon Jovi and his famous fringed jacket to show the audience pumping their fists in approval, the Devil’s Horns are nowhere to be seen.

A few years later, in Ozzy Osbourne’s 1989 live clip of the rocker performing “Suicide Solution,” there are some intermittent flashes of the Horns coming from the crowd, but not even a hint of a Horn from Ozzy.

Tellingly, a concert video from the same year, also featuring Osbourne performing “Suicide Solution,” shows a noticeable increase in the number of Devil’s Horns on display in the audience despite no visible or aural prodding from the singer.

The difference between Osbourne’s two 1989 shows is that the gig that witnessed a more visible presence of Horns was at the all-star Moscow Music and Peace Festival that showcased a packed roster of metal bands, including the Scorpions, Motley Crue and Skidrow. Therefore, the increase in the presence of Horns likely derived from a mix of metal fans who had been using the gesture even before headliner Ozzy took the stage later in the festival.

Dio and Ozzy

In his 2010 memoir, I Am Ozzy, the rock superstar speaks highly of Dio, and not in the book nor publicly has Ozzy attempted to lay claim to the iconic Devil’s Horns. Ronnie James Dio, however, has for decades humbly mentioned his fascination with the Old World Sicilian hand sign.

So, even if Simmons hadn’t already reneged on his attempt to trademark the Devil’s Horn, it’s apparent that the only one deserving of the credit for igniting one of the coolest global trends in history is probably flashing the Devil’s Horns right now from, ironicaly, Heaven.

However, the late, great Ronnie James Dio should not be held responsible for just how out-of-control popular the metal salute has become.

Justin Bieber