KICK OUT THE ‘JAM’

Whisky A Go-Go

Whisky’s ‘Jam Night’ delivers more treats than tricks in October.

Tuesday nights in WeHo have never been the same since “Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood” took over the Whisky a few years back. The weekly two-hour showcase of live music has brought back to the Sunset Strip neighborhood an authentic and always awesome rock and roll experience not seen nor heard since the days when Axl, Nikki and Blackie strode its storied streets. In fact, many of the stellar musicians in the “Ultimate Jam” band as well as the weekly surprise guests have likely rocked a stage alongside iconic bands like Guns N’ Roses and Quiet Riot at one time or another. The Tuesday night “Jam” band includes Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot) Matt Starr (Mr. Big), and Mitch Perry (Edgar Winter Group).1OAK

When not rocking the Whisky’s stage as frontman for the new revival of Sweet, staggeringly talented vocalist Paulie Z hosts “Ultimate Jam Night,” effortlessly segueing between announcing the artists and raising the roof with the house band on a few of the evening’s cover tunes. And all through October, Z and his crew were serving up more treats than tricks.

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‘CRIME’ REPORT

Geoff Tate’s Whisky show proves he’s still king of prog-metal.

Former Queensryche frontman Geoff Tate delivered a mind-f*** at the Whisky on August 17, and fans couldn’t get enough of the hard-rockin’ hits crushing their cabezas. Tate’s timeless classics had the crowd of 200 or so fans fist pumping and singing along throughout the nearly two-hour set that celebrated the 30th anniversary of Queensryche’s 1988 breakthrough album, Operation Mindcrime.

Promising to perform the prog-metal masterpiece in its entirety, Tate and his band delivered a faithful rendition of the 15-song concept album that saw his talented daughter, Emily Tate, guesting on vocals on “Sister Mary.” The multi-platinum Operation Mindcrime is one of Queensryche’s most memorable and successful releases, and arguably the Seattle band’s best album. And Tate and company blew the roof off the Whisky A Go-Go performing perfect renditions of the classic rock hits.

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STONED ON SUNSET

UJNH - GILBY CLARKE

Whisky’s Rolling Stones tribute would’ve made Mick Jagger proud. 

Host Paulie Z and the guys behind Ultimate Jam Night, the free weekly Tuesday night event at the Whisky A Go-Go, pulled off another spectacular show with a recent tribute to the Rolling Stones. Now, you can never go wrong with the Stones, but add in special guests like Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke and keyboardist Dizzy Reed and Eagles of Death Metal‘s Jesse Hughes, and you’ve got one helluva show.

UJNH - JESS HUGHES

Of course, the Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood house band was stellar, too. Rock tour veterans Mitch Perry (Edgar Winter Group, Lita ford), Matt Starr (Ace FrehleyMr. Big), and Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood founder Chuck Wright (Alice CooperQuiet Riot) never missed a beat as they performed alongside a rockin’ roster of guest musicians from local and national bands.

The addition of horns and percussion really helped capture the sound and spirit of the nearly 20 Rolling Stones classics that were covered throughout a solid two-hour show.

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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.

Continue reading ADIOS AGAIN, TOWER RECORDS SUNSET

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.

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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

ALIVE V

Paul Stanley Shreds like an Ace in Ernie Ball Promo

Multi-talented rocker Paul Stanley effortlessly proves exactly why KISS remains the world’s biggest and most revered rock band for decades by showcasing some stripped-down and undeniably smokin’ guitar work in a great new promo video for Ernie Ball. Ace Frehley would be proud…or envious.

Check out the clip and be prepared to once again get wowed by one of the greatest showmen in rock and roll.

KING OF THE STRIP

Freddie Mercury Rules…Rock Row!

The spirit of late, great Queen frontman Freddie Mercury watches over the Sunset Strip courtesy of a giant guitar sculpture near Sunset and Doheny, around the bend fom the old Geffen Records building.
It is great to see that the Gibson GuitarTown Exhibit on Sunset, which was initially supposed to be a limited​, one-year exhibit, is still going strong almost a decade after it was launched.

If anything, this awesome artwork stands to educate passing millennials that there was an icon fronting Queen long before that other guy was lucky enough to land the gig.

MONOPOLY ON MELROSE

Rock Row Refugee Alec Monopoly & a Giant Golden Skull Stop Traffic on Melrose

The Sunset Strip’s Rock Row has, of course, helped launch some of the greatest bands on the planet. And while the Whisky and Roxy continue to give rise to the next big rock bands, the venues’ exterior walls and surrounding area have long been a virtual canvas for street artists who often tag the hot spots with their original work. In fact, Sunset and Clark is a longtime fan and supporter of SoCal’s wickedly talented street artists.

Longtime L.A. artist and NYC transplant Alex Monopoly is just one of many high-profile artists whose whimsically socio-political artwork was plastered all over the Sunset Strip long before folks like Miley Cyrus and Snoop Dogg began paying big bucks for his graffiti art. 

Nowadays, the artist also known as Alec Andon, whose work reportedly sells for up to $50,000, is stopping traffic a few blocks away on Melrose Avenue. 

A WeHo staple since 2015, La Galerie Montaigne is featuring some of the elusive artist’s sculptures and graffiti art. Of course, all the usual. Suspects are there, including Monopoly Man and Ri¢hie Ri¢h, the cartoon trendsetter who was using money signs in his moniker long before Ke$ha

Check out the display at 8619 Melrose, where one of the best Monopoly pieces sits in the window. A slowly-revolving Monopoly Man sculpture painted in shiny gold and vibrant reds and blues is set front and center facing Melrose and Huntley. And if that isn’t enough to stop traffic, the slick Ri¢hie Ri¢h graffiti art set behind him will do it. 

Competing for the spotlight is artist Philip Pasqua‘s spectacular golden skull sculpture adorned crown-like with butterflys that itself is a must-see for any fan of awe-inspiring pop art. Check it out the next time you’re grabbing a cuppa Joe at nearby and ever-popular Urth Cafe.

Related: Sunset People: The Rockin’ Street Art of L.A. 

TRACKING L.A.'S MUSIC SCENE FROM THE SUNSET STRIP

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