Palm trees, Venice Beach and Axl Rose popping up in the middle of a Billy Joel concert…what’s not to love about L.A.?
Of course, there are a million reasons why Los Angeles rocks, but here are five that literally rock!
1. A GN’R legend and pop-rock superstar randomly pop up at Billy Joel’s 2017 Dodger Stadium show.
Dodger Stadium is the only place where you’re ever gonna experience Axl Rose rocking your face off during a surprise appearance at a Billy Joel concert.
Imagine our surprise when we were sitting at the Piano Man’s killer show at Dodger Stadium in May 2017, when one of our other favorite artists, Pink, randomly pops up to perform two numbers: Joel’s classic “New York State of Mind” and her recent hit “Try.” And then the show got even better.
A few songs after Pink appeared, Sunset Strip refugee Axl Rose also showed up and shook the stadium hard with AC/DC‘s “Highway to Hell” and later, Joel’s “Big Shot.” That unique and unexpected performance made us immediately appreciate the consistent unpredictability of Los Angeles.
2. Sipping a cuppa Joe at Coffee Bean Sunset and spotting Dave Navarro and Steven Tyler — at the same time!
After living in SoCal for longer than I have in my home state of New York, I am used to occasionally spotting cool famous folks at my neighborhood hangout, Coffee Bean Sunset. I’ve seen Good Charlotte rockers Joel and Benji Madden, music legend Russell Simmons, Spice Girls‘ Mel C., legendary songwriter Diane Warren, and many other random cool celebs at the java joint.
However, I had never been in the presence of two rock gods at the same time. But there I was sitting on the patio re-reading David Lee Roth‘s memoir, Crazy from the Heat, one time, when I glanced up and noticed ex-Jane’s Addiction guitarist and one of my favorite ex-Chili Peppers, Dave Navarro. Then, about a minute later, I notice to the left, Aerosmith rock legend Steven Tyler strolling up to the Bean from Sunset. That was an unforgettable, random moment that I would likely never get at Coffee Bean Cleveland.
3. Catching hometown heroes Motley Crue rock ‘Home Sweet Home’ in the middle of Sunset Boulevard.
Coachella was fun in the beginning, and San Francisco’s Outside Lands still rocks, but nothing compares to seeing one of my all-time favorite L.A. bands, Motley Crue, rock my neighborhood, in the middle of the Sunset Strip, no less, on a hot summer night in West Hollywood. The experience was, in a word: stellar.
Standing in front of the Rainbow and watching Motley own Sunset with a rockin’ set of over 20 years of hits was an unforgettable experience that was pure L.A. The Bad Boys of Hollywood came home in 2011 to shake up WeHo at the Sunset Strip Music Festival mere feet from the band’s old haunt on Clark Street. In just over an hour, Crue proved without a doubt that they truly are the “Saints of Los Angeles.”
4. Random Hollywood streets hold surprisingly cool heavy metal history.
Residing a stone’s throw from the Sunset Strip’s Rock Row, you merely have to open a window and you can practically feel the energy and rock n’ roll vibe that emanates from the Strip. And like the immortal Lemmy Kilmister did, I love living within stumbling distance from my favorite haunt, the Rainbow Bar & Grill. So, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered while reading various rock star memoirs that my little WeHo neighborhood has a lot of awesome heavy metal history attached to it.
On Palm Avenue alone, one random unassuming residential streets holds some amazing rock and roll history. In his memoir, Scar Tissue, Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis recounts his adventures moving to West Hollywood from Michigan as a young kid and coming of age on Palm Ave., where he and his dad would often venture to the Rainbow.
And in Slash and Steven Adler‘s memoirs, Slash and My Appetite for Destruction, respectively, both recount stories that took place on Palm back in the 1980s. Adler recalls first meeting Axl Rose when he passed him in the street on Palm, where Axl had just come from visiting Izzy Stradlin, who lived on the street. And Slash mentions that he can’t even drive down Palm today without all of the memories of debauchery surfacing. Palm is also where the full Guns N’ Roses band was walking up Palm en route to the Rainbow while sipping Night Train, and they spontaneously began singing the drink’s praises while improvising lyrics, which Axl turned later into the classic song “Night Train.”
5. Spotting goth-rock legend at the neighborhood IHoP.
Have you ever been out at a club or a diner and you’re looking around taking in the scene when you accidentally lock eyes with a stranger? Then you try to look away because now it’s awkward? Well, imagine if that happened to you at the local pancake house, and that stranger was actually a rock legend.
There we were enjoying our Rooty Tooty Fresh & Fruity pancake platter at our neighborhood IHoP in WeHo when we noticed Trent Teznor sitting in the booth in front of us looking in our direction. We froze like a deer in the headlights, staring ahead, internally, all our brain could process was, Holy sh*t! It’s Trent *@#! Reznor! At IHoP!
After we left IHoP, we hung out for a second so we could ask for a photo with the industrial metal legend. He was cool and let me take a picture of him and my friend together.