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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Step aside, Batman! The Who, Pink Floyd, Elvis Presley, and other music icons have rocked their way into W/B’s legendary Hollywood history.
Living in SoCal, it’s easy to get jaded when it comes to being starstruck. After all, when you randomly spot Smokey Robinson at the supermarket and Steven Tyler at Coffee Bean—which I have—you tend to get used to seeing superstars as much as you see smog and palm trees.
However, a recent tour of Warner Bros. studios had us feeling excited about the magic of Hollywood once again. And that reinvigorated awe had everything to do with the rock and roll history that lies within the eclectic tour that covers every iconic entertainment offering from RebelWithout a Cause and East of Eden toFriends andthe DC universe’s current crop of superhero hits like Batman and Wonder Woman.
Along with all of the movie history, the studio’s backlot has a rich music history, too, including as the location of the iconic cover photo of Pink Floyd‘s 1975 album, Wish You Were Here.
Equally cool was spotting one of the rockin’ motor scooters from The Who’s 1979 classic film Quadraphonia.
The Lambretta and Vespa Italian motor scooters make a memorable appearance in the British drama as the ride of choice for Sting and his Mods as well as their rivals the Rockers.
Many classic Hollywood musicals and music-oriented movies have also been filmed on the lot, from The Music Man and A Star Is Born (two of them, the 1976 and 2018 versions) to Elvis and Selena.
The other king, the King of Pop also has an unforgettable attachment to W/B’s history. Michael Jackson and The Jacksons filmed one of their famous Eighties-era Pepsi commercials on the Warner Bros. backlot. This one was filmed on the backlot’s all-American “Hennessy Street” and co-starred a very young Alfonso Ribeiro.
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s guitar picks and guitar strap are on display alongside costumes and rock paraphernalia from 2018’s A Star Is Born.
Some of the other rockin’ relics that we came across include the original piano from the 1943 classic film Casablanca. The piano is the one Humphrey Bogart was referring to when he famously said, “Play it again, Sam.”
Phoebe Buffay’s (Lisa Kudrow) acoustic Gibson guitar has a place amongst pop culture and entertainment history, too, and is behind glass as part of the W/B tour. It’s virtually impossible to walk past the six-string without “Smelly Cat” popping into your cabeza.
Another, ahem, thrilling moment was seeing legendary record producer Quincy Jones represented for his work with Steven Spielberg on the two-time Oscar nominated soundtrack to the 1975 film The Color Purple.
Warner Bros. Studios’ Props Department houses enough cool music instruments to rival any branch of Guitar Center.
Random acoustic and electric guitars, violins, cellos, bajos, congas, and dozens of other instruments line the walls of the airplane hanger-sized prop room.
The instruments have been used and reused in countless W/B movies and TV shows.
Let’s see, Pink Floyd…Elvis Presley…The Who…Michael Jackson…James Dean…when a studio’s history includes this much badass talent, we can almost forgive the W/B for The Gilmore Girls.
Sunset Strip rock landmarks Rainbow and Whisky set to pay tribute to metal legend Ronnie James Dio, July 7 and July 19.
The immortal Ronnie James Dio would have hit the big 8-0 on July 10, and to celebrate, the Rainbow Bar and Grill is celebrating with a rockin’ party dedicated to the late, great singer-songwriter, who once famously fronted a band named after this very restaurant.
On July 7, the Rainbow is hosting “Dio at the Rainbow in the Dark,” a record release celebration in honor of Rhino Records’ 40th anniversary remixed and remastered edition of Dio’s spectacular 1983 solo debut, Holy Diver. The classic rock masterpiece is being released on three formats: digital, vinyl, and as a two- and four-disc CD set.
Ubiquitous Sunset Strip headbanger and radio personality Eddie Trunk is emceeing the event, which is happening from 7-9 p.m. in the upstairs bar, where the evening is sure to be dominated by the glorious sounds of Dio’s timeless classics rockin’ the roof off of the Rainbow.
The Rainbow Bar and Grill is located at 9015 Sunset Boulevard. The “Dio at the Rainbow in the Dark” event is free.
One week after the Rainbow’s Dio celebration, the Whisky A Go-Go is hosting a night honoring the heavy metal legend on July 19, with the club’s biweekly Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood event set to crank out career-defining classics spanning Ronnie James Dio’s career, from Holy Diver to 2004’s Masters of the Moon as well as scorchers like “Man On the Silver Mountain,” “Gambler, Gambler,” and “Rock ‘n Roll Children” from his time in Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Elf, and Heaven and Hell.
The Whisky is located at 8901 Sunset Boulevard at Clark Street in West Hollywood. Ultimate Jam NightHollywood’s Dio tribute will kick off at 10 p.m. and is free to those 21 and over, and $10 for those under.
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.
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 Setwith 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.
OzzMania, Just Like Priest, Motorbreath & More are Bringing Heavy Metal Hits to House of Blues Sunset, Jan. 21
Going through Ozzfest withdrawl? Relax — there is a rock and roll reprise of sorts on the horizon.
West Hollywood hot spot House of Blues Sunset is hosting the closest thing you’re ever gonna find to Ozzfest on January 21, when OzzMania(right) brings to the Strip an arsenal of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath hits, along with four other metal-loving tribute bands!
SoCal cover band OzzMania proves you can’t kill rock and roll with a headlining night of non-stop metal that will be shaking up Sunset alongside Slayer-worshipping rockers Slaytanic; masters of Metallica, Motorbreath(right); spot-on Judas Priest imitators Just Like Priest (main photo, top); and Du Hast, which will rock out some Rammstein.
House of Blues Sunset is at located at 8430 Sunset. Get tickets and show times here.
‘WHEN THE WORLD GETS IN YOUR FACE, I SAY,’ “HAVE A NICE DAY,”‘ DECLARES BON JOVI IN SUNSET & CLARK’S TOP FIVE FEEL-GOOD HEAVY METAL TRACKS TO TACKLE ANY DISTRESS
Ever since the first time I heard the incredible, amp-shaking, adrenalin-pumping sounds of heavy metal–courtesy of a neighbor introducing me to KISS Alive in fifth grade–I have relied on metal music as a mood adjuster.
I crank up good ol’ hard rock to try to block out the world at times when it’s just not making sense, like when the daily headlines are over-crowded with news about riots, the recession, natural disasters and Miley Cyrus.
Over the years I have maintained a mental list of deeply therapeutic heavy metal mood setters that have always helped to make things feel a whole lot better when they just weren’t feeling right with the state of the modern world.
Here’s a list of Sunset & Clark’s five all-time greatest hard and heavy classics for dealing with any challenging situation.
“When the world keeps trying to drag me down,
I’ve gotta raise my hands, gonna stand my ground.”
When it comes to perfectly crafted feel-good anthems, Jon Bon Jovi is the grand messiah of mainstream metal. And while kick-ass classics like “It’s My Life,” “Everyday” and “Keep the Faith” are stellar and inspiring tracks that always provide an intrinsic kick, Bon Jovi‘s title track to 2005’s Have a Nice Day is hands down one of the best and most bad ass songs in the band’s expansive catalog.
Make this track the ringer for your cell’s alarm clock app and you’re virtually guaranteed to wake up empowered and ready to face the day.
“Never cared for what they say.
Never cared for games they play.
Never cared for what they do.
Never cared for what they know.
And I know.”
In HBO’s Paradise Lost doc on the West Memphis Three, the mom of Jessie Misskelley, Jr., one of the accused teens, was asked how she held on to her sanity when her innocent son was being held in jail for three child murders. She revealed that she and Jessie sang Metallica‘s “Nothing Else Matters” to one another during jail visits.
Metallica’s 1991 track from The Black Album also works well in buffering bad moods during those times when you’re forced to deal with your own less dramatic drama.
“Express yourself in the face of change.
Repress yourself, you surely seal your fate.
You got to look inside; the answer lies in wait.
Resurrect before it’s too late.”
Like Bon Jovi, the guys in Poison are also metal masters at crafting empowering anthems that inspire equal parts self-reflection and some serious fist pumping, like “Something to Believe In” and “Cry Tough.”
Should you ever find your personal integrity challenged, however, it’s the Sunset Strip-launched band’s timeless track “Stand,” from 1993’s Native Tongue, that will super-charge your confidence and make you wanna unskinny bop all night long!
“Don’t need to wait for an invitation;
You gotta live like you’re on vacation.”
Ever have a bad day that seemed to last a week? Overwhelmed by the daily grind? Fortunately, when times get tough there’s always KISS to remind us all that “it ain’t a crime to be good to yourself” in the killer KISS classic “Lick It Up.”
Vinnie Vincent‘s scorching guitar attack, Eric Carr‘s full-throttle percussion and KISS’ early ’80s harder edged sound effortlessly power up a universal ode about learning to appreciate and enjoy the here and now.
The 1983 track from KISS’ eleventh album of the same name is not only one of the most powerful feel-good gems in the band’s catalog, it’s also one of the greatest classics in the history of heavy metal.
“There’s somethin’ wrong with the world today.
The light bulb’s gettin dim.
There’s meltdown in the sky…”
Rock legend Steven Tyler penned 1993’s “Living on the Edge” in response to the ’92 L.A. Riots, and over 20 years later, the Aerosmith classic still holds up as a reliable and rockin’ reminder that you’re not the only who sometimes feels like you just can’t stop yourself from falling. And through it all, Tyler stands tough and declares: “We can tell ’em no or we could let it go, but I would rather be a hanging on.” Guess there’s still reason to dream on.
SUNSET & CLARK’S TOP 12 GREATEST ENDURING HEAVY METAL BANDS
When Ozzy Osbourne proclaimed in 1982 that “you can’t kill rock and roll,” he and fellow enduring metal icons like Metallica, Motley Crue and KISS have gone on to prove that notion over and over again by keeping arenas packed and the charts rocking decades after first plugging in their amps.
Rockin’ and rollin’ all night and partying every day are only a few of the enviable rewards of rock superstardom, which for some bands, ahem, Quiet Riot, often ends as quickly as it begins. Or, once-iconic groups continue to carry the torch, but in name only, such as the current incarnation of Axl Rose‘s Guns N’ Roses andthe Sebastian Bach-less Skid Row.
But that’s not the case with the monsters of metal below that are as relevant today as they were back when your favorite guitarists wore mascara and had big, poofy hair.
1. METALLICA Launched in Hollywood, California in 1981, Metallica has survived the death of original bassist Cliff Burton, image controversy and an infamous battle with Napster only to come out on top over 30 years later as the reigning kings of metal.
James Hetfield and the band have revealed that Metallica is working on a new album for a possible 2015 release. Lars Ulrich recently confirmed to Rolling Stonethat the project is in the “fourth inning.”
2. MOTLEY CRUE In the Motley Crue classic “Kickstart My Heart,” when frontman Vince Neil sang, “When we started this band all we needed, needed was a laugh. Years gone by, I’d say we’ve kicked some ass,” he wasn’t kidding! Since forming in 1981, the Bad Boys of Hollywood have become one of the biggest-selling American rock bands in history, selling over 80 million albums worldwide. Crue is currently rocking the planet on its farewell tour that makes a stop at Hollywood Bowl on July 21.
3. VAN HALEN Surviving three incarnations of the band and years of behind-the-scenes boozy brawls, health scares, rocky on/off reunions and personality clashes, the near-original lineup of Van Halen, fronted by David Lee Roth, continues to rock arenas and the charts — minus bassist Michael Anthony, who has been replaced by Eddie’s son, Wolfgang Van Halen. In April 2014, on his podcast The Roth Show, the singer teased about currently “working on a great Van Halen project.”
4. KISS In 1973, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss put on makeup, plugged in their gear and changed rock ‘n’ roll forever, becoming the most iconic and recognizable band in the world. Since then, KISS has endured lineup changes and short-lived reunions to become a certified pop culture institution. The ever-touring rockers recently launched an arena football team, L.A. KISS, and are currently moonlighting as models for fashion designer John Varvatos.
5. IRON MAIDEN Formed in the mid-Seventies, British metal masters Iron Maiden had almost as many different band members as Spinal Tap had exploding drummers. But when Bruce Dickinson joined in 1981, the band released one future classic after another, with “Number of the Beast” and “Run to the Hills” becoming Maiden’s signature songs. Still packing arenas on its 2012-2014 Maiden England World Tour, Dickinson and crew also recently headlined Europe’s Monsters of Rock fest at Castle Donington for a fifth time.
6. JUDAS PRIEST Sure, Britain’s Judas Priest had other frontmen throughout its career, but only Rob Halford really matters.
The on-again/off-again singer has been back with Priest since the early 2000s, and band tells Rolling Stone that their Summer 2014 release, Redeemer of Souls, is going to be a “very heavy record.”
7. BLACK SABBATH Black Sabbath, which formed in England in 1968 and has had various famous lead singers, has regrouped again with original frontman Ozzy Osbourne in 2011. Since then, Sabbath has been rocking the world on a global tour, and the charts with the band’s latest album, 13.
8. BON JOVI Sure, Richie Sambora may be M.I.A., but with Jon Bon Jovi at the mic, Bon Jovi will undoubtedly continue to rock a million faces with sold-out arena shows. Rumors are swirling that Sambora is looking to step back into the band soon, and that’s awesome news, but his sudden departure didn’t damper the success of Bon Jovi’s 2013 Because We Can: The Tour, which proves the iconic band’s superstar success has come near to piquing just yet, not even after 30 years as the best American rock band on the planet.
9. DEF LEPPARD Powerhouse arena rockers Def Leppard lit the world on fire in 1983 with the British band’s third album, Pyromania. Instant rock classics like “Foolin’,” “Photograph” and “Rock of Ages” remain among Leppard’s concert staples, including on the band’s 2014 summer tour with KISS.
10. MEGADETH Legendary Hollywood thrash band Megadeth was launched in 1983 after frontman Dave Mustaine had a falling out with his former band, Metallica. Mustaine has since ended his feud and continues to keep Megadeth on the charts and selling out arenas alongside ’Tallica. Megadeth is currently in the studio working on the follow up to 2013’s Super Collider, which hit No. 6 the Billboard 200 albums chart.
11. SLAYER Southern California rockers Slayer have been bringing their brash brand of thrash metal to the masses since 1981, and the band shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In Spring 2014, Slayer debuted a new single, “Implode,” and announced that a new album is due in 2015.
12. ANTHRAX Anthrax put NYC’s thrash metal scene on the map in 1981 and went on to release countless hard rock hits, including “Bring the Noise,” “Indians,” “Antisocial” and, from 2011’s Worship Music, the 2012 single “I’m Alive.” Anthrax is currently touring and working on a new album to be released in Summer 2014.
Mark Torein is still fronting the mic for the local metal monsters that hit the mainstream with a bang in 1988 courtesy of BulletBoys’ badass, guitar-heavy scorcher “Smooth up in Ya,” from the band’s self-titled debut. The timeless track rocks just as hard today and is sure to be a highlight of Rainbow’s free event, which also includes sets by Hollywood-launched hard rock hit-makers Great White, Sunset Strip legend Tracii Guns (pictured right), Metal Blade stalwarts Bitch and more metal monsters that will turn back the clock to the awesome Eighties and keep the hard rock hits echoing throughout the heart of Rock Row all day and night on Sunday.
Rainbow is located at 9015 Sunset Boulevard. Party in the Parking Lot is free and kicks off at 2 p.m. in the back parking lot behind the Rainbow and Roxy. See you at the show!
We were walking down Sunset this evening sulking from neglecting to get tickets to see metal gods Metallica play L.A. in May when we spotted the Whisky‘s marquee and two words made us feel better right away: Hollywood Roses, the best GN’R tribute band around will be rocking the Whisky ion February 9.
Then two more words smacked us upside the head: Bullet Boys – on February 15! That, naturally, was followed by another two words: Hell yeah!
The best of late ’80s/early ’90s metal is slicing its way right back to the Sunset Strip and to that we raise our Bic lighters high!
Fellow L.A. rock refugees James Hetfield and Metallica will also be playing L.A. soon, when the iconic band rightfully receives the Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award at rock mag Revolver‘s Golden Gods Awards Show at Downtown L.A.’s intimate-sized Club Nokia on May 2.
Also set to perform is Five Finger Death Punch, Dillinger Escape Plan and a bunch of other awesome bands. Tickets to this rockin’ once-in-a-lifetime event, unfortunately, are astronomical — plus, they’re general admission!
Catching Hollywood Roses and Bullet Boys at Whisky is definitely an awesome backup plan. Plus, with all the ca$h we’re saving by skipping the Golden Gods event, here’s all the other Sunset Strip shows we’ll be checkin’ out in the next couple of months:
We’re also lookin’ forward to checking out Buckcherry’s support act Cherri Bomb again at Viper Room. OK, we admit we initially cast them off as a Runaways knock off awhile back…but that was when we were drunk and before catching them live and seeing the ladies rock the hell outta the Strip at last summer’s SSMF. Check out some rockin’ anthems below from the band’s that will keep alive the Sunset Strip’s enviable rep as the global anchor of authentic kick-ass rock and roll.
Generally, when it comes to Metallica, we’d travel anywhere they may roam to see the iconic metal monsters rock a stage…but Detroit?! Um…WTH?!?
On Thursday, Dec. 20, the band revealed a few more details about its second official Orion Music + More festival, the two-day event that debuted last June in Atlantic City and featured ‘tallica headlining both nights.
Orion 2013 is set for June 8 and 9. However, unlike other major rock fests like Indio, California’s Coachella and Chicago’s Lollapalooza, Orion is heading out on the road and shifting locations to the Motor City.
“More information will be coming on this exciting partnership with one of the most unique cities in the country – Detroit,” writes the band in its announcement.
Now, we realize that the East Coast is still recovering from hurricane Sandy, and we’re not trying to diss Detroit or anything but…the Motor City could certainly use some help in the PR department. Leading thousands of metal fans into such risky — from what we gather from news headlines — territory is a bit unusual. So, unfortunately, we’re gonna sit this one out and instead look forward to the (potential)Rolling Stones gig at Coachella 2013 in April!