L.A.’S ROCKIN’ LANDMARKS: TROPICANA
Bulldozers have been coming uncomfortably close to the huge white skeletal remains of the historic Hollywood rock club Tropicana in the past few weeks. The defunct legendary ’80s club infamously hosted female mud wrestling, championed the local metal scene before the Rolling Stone cover stories and is justifiably immortalized in Motley Crue‘s classic track “Girls, Girls, Girls.” The Tropicana is where Vince Neil said he “lost my heart” The band even posed at the club with some of the wrestlers for the 1987 album’s inside sleeve (below).
Fortunately, the current crop of bulldozers rumbling next to the club’s former location on Western near Fountain are flattening the adjacent empty lot. The old Tropicana haunt looks safe for now, but there’s no word on what’s in store for the future of the empty former heavy metal hot spot.
LINKIN PARK & INCUBUS TO HEAT UP SUMMER WITH CO-HEADLINING TOUR
Two great L.A. bands are teaming up for what’s sure to be summer’s hottest tour. Agoura Hills rockers Linkin Park and Calabassas hit-makers Incubus are heading out on the road together, with New Orleans’ rockers Mutemath opening the shows. The U.S. leg of the tour with Incubus kicks off August 14 in Mansfield, MA (LP plays earlier U.S. dates but without Incubus).
Strangely enough, the bands have not yet announced a home show in L.A. at Staples, Gibson or the Forum. The closest stop is Carson’s Home Depot Center on September 9. They also play Chula Vista’s Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre on September 10.
The LP/Incubus tour comes to the Bay Area on September 7 to rock the Shoreline Amphitheatre. With tickets between $30 and $125 for the tiny venue in Mountain View, located just outside of San Francisco, there’s no reason not to hit up this awesome double-headliner bill.
Incubus will be cranking classics and new tunes from its latest release If Not Now, When? and Linkin Park will be hyping its hotly anticipated new album Living Things, which includes the killer first single “Burn it Down” and drops June 26.
Get deets and tix to the Sept. 7 Shoreline show here.
We spotted this rockin’ tribute to masked musical marauders Paul, Ringo, John and George on La Brea near Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. We think the Brit icons would approve.
WEHO SHOWS ZEPPELIN A WHOLE LOTTA LOVE. AND A TYPO.
Mom always says to keep your head up, but sometimes it pays to glance down now and again. Case in point: We spotted this random and rockin’ sidewalk etching tribute to Led Zeppelin on Hancock Ave., just south of the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.
Sure, it’s misspelled, but, you know, it’s only rock and roll — and we like it!
JOAN JETT & METALACHI TO SHAKE UP SAN DIEGO COUNTY FAIR
The San Diego County Fair gives locals two good reasons to endure a month of artery-clogging comfort food and drunk, sweaty crowds hurling chunks over the sides of carnival rides at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
The first: Rock goddess Joan Jett and her Black Hearts are headlining the main stage on June 19. It’s impossible to ever tire of hearing the badass ex-Runaways rocker crank out timeless classics like “Bad Reputation,” “Crimson and Clover,” “Little Liar,” “I Love Rock n’ Roll,” and “Do You Wanna Touch Me?”
Second: Hollywood band Metalachi (below) is set to rock the Fair on June 30 with its awesome and hilarious metal-mariachi covers of classics by Ozzy, Metallica, Zeppelin and other iconic monsters of rock.
Plus: The annual event is also hosting a good number of cool cover bands, including Led Zepagain, Thunder Road‘s salute to Bruce Springsteen, The Ultimate Stones‘ take on the honkey tonk blues of Mick Jagger and the boys and Wild Child‘s tribute to legendary L.A. band The Doors. And a Pink Floyd laser show is sure to give stoned attendees a bigger thrill than the Tilt-a-Whirl.
Check out the concert lineup and get set to rock!
CLASSIC METAL WITH A SLICE OF LIME
Countless bands have rocked the Sunset Strip with cool covers of hard rock classics by metal icons like Metallica, Zeppelin and Ozzy. But no one has ever reinvented metal classics as badass and brilliantly hilarious as L.A. band Metalachi, the world’s first mariachi-metal cover band.
The KISS-inspired makeup and codpieces add a rockin’ edge to the souped up traditional mariachi outfits, but it’s the band’s mariachi-metal renditions of tunes like “Enter Sandman” and “Crazy Train” that steal the spotlight. And Metalachi’s velvet-smooth showmanship and loco sense of humor — they also cover Cheech & Chong tunes — make their shows more fun than downing a bottle of tequila and watching Spinal Tap again for the hundreth time. But what do you expect from a band with awesome aliases as metal as their music: frontman Vega De La Rockha, guitarist Ramon Holiday, violinist Maximillian “Dirty” Sanchez, guittaronist Poncho Rockefeller, trumpeter El Cucey and emcee Warren Russia.
Formed in 2011, the L.A. band is relatively new to the Hollywood scene but has already been packing Sunset Strip hot spots, recently headlining the Roxy on, appropriately enough, Cinco De Mayo. The Mexican metal heads have also nabbed famous fans like Billy Idol and artist Shepherd Fairey. Check out their tour schedule for upcoming SoCal shows, including the San Diego County Fair later this month.
Bang your head to Metalachi’s loco-cool cover of “Crazy Train” below.
METALLICA, FOO FIGHTERS TO ROCK SF’S OUTSIDE LANDS FEST
What could be better than seeing Metallica (above) crank it to 11 and rock the leaves off the trees in Golden Gate Park on a cool summer night under the stars? How about if Foo Fighters (below), Jack White, Neil Young and Beck are also on the bill?!
That fantasy lineup becomes reality Aug. 10-12 when San Francisco’s fifth annual Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival turns the huge lawn area in the heart of the city’s famous park into a giant rock arena!
Considering that meh bands like Muse and Phish were among recent past headliners, this is clearly the hottest lineup in the music fest’s history. (Although Pearl Jam‘s ’09 set totally rocked!) And at a little over $200, tickets for the three-day event are very reasonable.
Music legends Stevie Wonder and Neil Young, Scottish “Take Me Out” hit-makers Franz Ferdinand and Brit indie faves Bloc Party are also in the music mix of over 50 bands that are set to play Outside Lands this summer! Check out the full lineup here, and get more details at Outside Lands’ site.
Coachella can have its Tupac holograms. We’re definitely hitting up Outside Lands with the very real Metallica!
“Once you’ve lived a little you will find that whatever you send out into the world comes back to you one way or another. It may be today, tomorrow or years from now, but it happens. …Those coincidental moments that change your life seem random at the time, but I don’t think they are.”
— from Slash‘s 2007 self-titled autobiography
STONED ON SUNSET
A local guerilla has artist plastered L.A. — including a Sunset Strip power box in front of the old Virgin Sunset — with one of the best pieces of rock art we’ve seen in a helluva long time. Mick Jagger (and Andy Warol) would be proud. And we like it so much that we’re forgiving the artist for omitting Keith Richards.
“Any guy who starts emailing pictures of his ball sack to anyone has got a serious f—ing problem.”
— Ozzy Osbourne sounding off about randy technofiles (Rolling Stone)
If you’re cruising Bonnie Brae in L.A. and the Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Slow Cheetah” suddenly pops into your head, there’s a good reason. In the track from the Hollywood band’s 2006 release Stadium Arcadium, frontman Anthony Kiedis references the notorious street — located near Downtown Los Angeles — where he used to cop heroin, as revealed in his 2004 autobiography Scar Tissue.
“Any other day and I might play a funeral march for Bonnie Brae,” he sings on the ominous track, brilliantly capturing the essence of the shady area.
PUSH COMES TO SHOVE
Although it looks like an ordinary convenience store, this neighborhood 7-Eleven in West Hollywood is the spot that sparked the beginning of the end for the founding members of Van Halen.
In the early ’80s, David Lee Roth was already frustrated that bandmate Eddie Van Halen was pursuing outside guest artist projects when he stopped in his tracks outside this local 7-Eleven and had an epiphany of sorts; one with repercussions that would dissolve one of Southern California’s greatest and most influential rock bands.
Roth recalls that pivotal moment in his 1997 autobiography Crazy From the Heat: …I was in the parking lot on Santa Monica near Sweetzer, the 7-Eleven; there were a couple of butch Mexican gals with the doors open of their pickup truck, and the new Michael Jackson song “Beat It” came on. I heard the guitar solo and thought, now that sounds familiar. Somebody’s ripping off Ed Van Halen’s licks. It was Ed, turns out, and he had gone and done the project without discussing it with anybody, feeling as though I would stand in the way, which, actually, in that echelon of company, I wouldn’t have at all. Quincy Jones is stellar company. Great, go play it. If you’re going to do something, climb the big one. It was at that point I said maybe I’ll do something on the side as well.”
Hometown Heavy Metal Heroes Make a Pitch for the L.A. Dodgers
The L.A. Dodgers tapped a couple of local rock n’ roll heroes to hype the hometown team in the summer of 2010 as part of the baseball club’s “This Is My Town” campaign, which coincided with the launch of the third annual Sunset Strip Music Festival in August. The promotion included billboards scattered throughout the city, including a notable presence on Sunset, and featured the likes of Hollywood bad boys Mötley Crüe, longtime Beverly Hills residents Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne and for some unusual reason, Canadian cheeseballs Nickelback.
Guitar hero Slash, a faithful Dodgers fan who rocked the national anthem at a 2009 Dodgers vs Cardinals home game, donned Dodger Blue (a denim shirt, which is close enough) for a billboard near Sunset and La Cienega in West Hollywood.
Crüe bassist-songwriter Nikki Sixx and Poison frontman Bret Michaels were featured in the campaign last year.
Nearly 20 years after River Phoenix died on the sidewalk outside of West Hollywood’s Viper Room, fans still leave tributes to the late actor-musician at the infamous site. The former Aleka’s Attic frontman and iconic young star of My Own Private Idaho and Stand By Me was 23 when he overdosed on Oct. 30, 1993.
Every year in late October, the walkway in front of the rock club is beset with candles, photos, hand-witten notes and other memorials. A fading graffitti message, shown above, is scrawled on the pavement outside the venue’s side entrance.
ROCK AND ROLL OVER
In August 2010, Gibson Guitars launched “GuitarTown,” a public arts project spread throughout 1.6 miles of the Sunset Strip and celebrating iconic bands and musicians, while highlighting the Strip’s significance to rock and roll history. Included among the over two dozen custom designed 10 foot tall fiberglass Les Paul guitars are tributes to Jimi Hendrix and KISS, whose colorful tribute is located near West Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont.