Category Archives: ROCKIN’ NEWS

SNAPSHOTS FROM THE STRIP

Viper Room gives a Sunset Strip salute to iconic Fleetwood Mac member.

Fleetwood Mac‘s legendary singer-keyboardist Christine McVie died November 30 at the age of 79 following a short illness.

“A few hours ago I was told that my best friend in the whole world since the first day of 1975 had passed away,” wrote bandmate Stevie Nicks in an online tribute to McVie. “See you on the other side, my love,” she added. “Don’t forget me.”

The Sunset Strip also paid homage to McVie via the marquis of the world-famous Viper Room music club.

R.I.P., Christine McVie. 😢

WHISKY TO GET A FACELIFT

Whisky A Go-Go is getting a new look, and the Sunset Strip is welcoming a ‘Rock Walk of Fame.’

Since the Whisky A Go-Go set up business at the corner of Sunset and Clark back in 1064, the two-story club has famously sported a number of shades and exterior looks, from the groovy purple and yellow scheme in the ‘70s to the more recent red and black design.

And of course, the billboard above the club has been advertising new album releases since the 60s. At one time or another everyone from Alice Cooper to Motley Crue has been featured on billboards above the club.

MODERN ROCK; Whisky A Go-Go, November 2022.

Now, the world-famous club and the Sunset Strip are about to get a modern makeover.

Earlier this week, the West Hollywood City Council approved the conversion of the club’s static billboard into a double-sided digital billboard.

CLASSIC ROCK: Whisky A Go-Go, April 1972.

The mammoth billboard’s origami-inspired 500- and 1,000-square-foot screens are designed to evolve as motorists and pedestrians pass the billboard. Either way, it’s certainly going to get the attention of crosstown traffic at Sunset and San Vicente.

Motley Crue above the Whisky - 2010
DOWN AT THE WHISKY: Motley Crue overlooking Sunset, summer 2005.

The billboard is part of a new agreement between the Whisky and the city, which expects the digital billboard to bring in over $60 million in revenue over the next 30 years.

Whisky A Go-Go
Green Day and Riverdale cover the Whisky, fall 2017.

The best part is that the billboard is going to lead to a rock ‘n’ roll tribute on the Sunset Strip. The contract stipulates that the city will use nearly $350,000 to add a commemorative “Rock Walk” honoring the music legacy of the Sunset Strip.

STILL THE BOSS

L.A. Grammy Museum’s Bruce Springsteen exhibit covers the best of The Boss.

While killing a few hours before attending the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2022 concert at L.A. Live, we got a chance to check out the Bruce Springsteen shrine, er we mean exhibit that opened last week at the Grammy Museum in Downtown L.A. (Spoiler alert: Springsteen made a surprise appearance at the Rock and Roll HOF event and performed!)

When we’re discussing somebody of the caliber of The Boss, we probably should refer to this as a shrine because St. Bruce really is in a league all his own when it comes to the sheer artistry of rock and roll music. This is one reason why he has his own headlining exhibit at the famous museum.

The rockin’ showcase includes everything from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band‘s well-worn instruments and familiar stage props from countless tours to the luxurious golden “throne” that legendary saxophonist Clarence Clemons used in later years. And, of course, the exhibit includes Springsteen’s iconic t-shirt and Levi’s that he wore on the cover of Born in the U.S.A.

Check out some of the highlights that we captured while scrolling through this amazing history of the greatest living rock musician of our generation.

BEST SHOT

Hollywood street art gives a shout out to classic Pat Benatar album.

When you’re strolling through HOLLYWOOD, there are usually a lot of distractions that have your eyes darting from one scenario to the next. One minute you’re gazing in awe at Marilyn Monroe‘s star in front of McDonald’s on Hollywood Boulevard and the next you’re trying to quickly look away from the crackhead pooping on the sidewalk in front of Madam Tussaud’s Hollywood Wax Museum.

Fortunately for us, while walking to the Hollywood Bowl recently to catch a Stevie Nicks show, it was a random, rockin’ homage to another music icon, Pat Benatar, that distracted us.

The vibrant, dye cut sticker-art tribute to Benatar’s fourth album, Get Nervous, is immortalized on the back of a sign post on Highland, just outside the Bowl.

The crazy-cool artwork immediately had the songs from the 1982 album streaming through our cabeza, timeless classics like “Shadows of the Night,” “Little Too Late,” “Looking for a Stranger,” and “Anxiety (Get Nervous).”

Caught up in the nostalgia, we found ourselves holding an old Bic lighter high in the air as we continued our stroll to the Hollywood Bowl.

SIGN O’ THE TIMES

Ozzy Osbourne billboard adds some rock cache to Sunset Strip’s Roxy.

Signs are looking good that rock and roll is returning to the Sunset Strip after a long hiatus due to the pandemic. Exhibit A: this awesome new Sunset Strip billboard on the side of the Roxy hyping Ozzy Osbourne‘s upcoming 13th studio album, Patient Number 9.

“It’s about being a patient in a mental hospital,” revealed Osbourne about the title track on his Ozzy Speaks Sirius XM show. “All we do really is self-medicate.”

The 73-year-old heavy metal legend’s Patient Number 9 isn’t due until September 13, but last week, fans were treated to a sneak-peek of the album. The POFD released the official music video for the title track in a clip directed by Todd McFarlane.

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