“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.