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AMERICAN GRAFFITI

Artists turn L.A. streets into an urban art gallery any music fan would love.

In 2020, the Sunset Boulevard scene–from Rock Row to Dodger Stadium–has dramatically changed as a result of the pandemic and the nation’s turbulent political climate. And the changes extend beyond just the physical sense of seeing the famous, once-glamorous and vibrant landscape covered in bland blonde plywood and political graffiti.

The biggest impact is the deafening silencing of the world-class live rock and roll music that always seemed to be a ubiquitous part of the Sunset Strip. Regardless of when you visited Sunset’s Rock Row, there was always an exciting rock and roll energy and spontaneous soundtrack permeating the legendary thoroughfare and creating an intrinsic connection with visitors.

Until this year, there was always music in the night air, whether it was the power chords of superstars like Lita Ford or local faves like Budderside emanating from the Whisky A Go Go, or the rockin’ retro sounds of Missing Persons or L.A. rockers Warner Drive (pictured below) shaking the foundation of the Viper Room.

Warner Drive band

However, while the temporary closure of the Whisky, Viper Room and Roxy is tough on everyone, there is some good news.

Continue reading AMERICAN GRAFFITI

Concert Review: ACE FREHLEY

EX-KISS SHREDDER PUTS L.A. IN THE N.Y. GROOVE WITH SMOKIN’ HITS-PACKED SET

KISS‘ legendary original guitarist Ace Frehley rolled into Los Angeles’ Saban Theatre on Feb. 3 for a stellar show of new tunes from his latest album, Space Invader, and, of course, unforgettable KISS classics. 

Appropriately enough, this particular Friday evening in L.A. was unusually chilly, moody and rainy, making it feel more like autumn in New York. So, when this famous native New Yorker cranked up his most loved jam, “Back in the New York Groove,” the crowd was definitely feeling every beat of Ace’s groove.

The best moment during a night that included many was when Frehley pulled out his famous Gibson and played a smokin’ solo while his axe literally smoked, just like back in KISS’ early days.

After opening the show with the KISS classic “Parasite,” the influential guitarist shared lead vocals with his various band members on a number of KISS’ best songs, including, of course, “Cold Gin,” “Rocket Ride” and “Shock Me.”

The Spaceman was in fine form and seemed to be having as much fun as his audience, sharing stories and his famous chuckle between songs. He mentioned that he is celebrating 10-plus years of sobriety, a revelation that justifiably got as much applause as his set did. 

Opening acts Smash Fashion and late-Eighties/early-Nineties stalwarts Enuff Z’Nuff were also fantastic and a lot of fun. L.A. newbies Smash Fashion offered a dose of solid, catchy Stone Temple Pilots-like original rock songs.

Likewise, Enuff Z’Nuff’s original jams, particularly the 1989 smash “Fly High Michelle,” were well-received and had the crowd on its feet and singing along at full volume. The timeless rock ballad was almost overshadowed by the band’s excellent cover of David Bowie‘s “Gene Genie.” 

All in all, this was a three-homerun heavy metal bill that knocked it out of the ballpark. 

Ace Frehley

Ace Frehley

Ace Frehley

ROCK THE VOTE

ROCK THE VOTE.jpgSTILL ON THE FENCE OVER THE PRESIDENTIAL RUN? SUPERSTAR HARD ROCKERS SOUND OFF ON THE CLINTON/TRUMP RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

By David Ciminelli

There’s a growing roster of superstar rockers who are sounding off, sometimes onstage and sometimes off, about their preferred choice for the next President of the United States. Still on the fence? Check out what some of your favorite rockers are proclaiming about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton‘s race for the White House.

simmonsKISS’ GENE SIMMONS

Infamously outspoken KISS frontman Gene Simmons is never one to mince his words. During a KISS concert earlier this year in Eugene, Oregon, while handling vocals on the killer KISS classic “I Love It Loud,” Simmons improvised a request to the capacity crowd: “Vote Trump!”

Earlier this year, Simmons told Rolling Stone: “Trump is not a politician. He does not need your money, and he will speak his mind, God damn it, whether you like it or not. And he has no problem saying ‘F*ck off.’

“I like that, even if I disagree,” said Simmons.

 

rutgers-clinton-joviBON JOVI’S JON BON JOVI

He’s with her.

“I pray that [Hillary Clinton]’s going to win,” Jon Bon Jovi told the U.K. site I News in a recent interview. And the Bon Jovi frontman has been trying to make that prayer come through by showing his support loud and clear and rocking the stages of recent Clinton campaign stops in New York, Florida and North Carolina. JBJ, who famously played at Barack Obama‘s inauguration, was joined at a recent Clinton event by fellow rock legend Paul McCartney.

 

dave-mustaineMEGADETH’S DAVE MUSTAINE

Thrash metal legend Dave Mustaine has been vocal in the press about his decision to remain mum on exactly who he will be voting for on November 8. The Megadeth frontman, however, has made it very clear who he won’t be voting for.

“Am I a Donald Trump fan? Well, he’s a very successful businessman, Am I gonna vote for him? That’s none of your business,” Mustaine said in response to a fan inquiry during an interview on Periscope last summer. “And if I did, I wouldn’t tell you,” he added. “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t tell you. I can tell you one thing: I am not voting for Hillary.”

 

orig_sixx_amMOTLEY CRUE’S NIKKI SIXX

Judging by his prolific tweets, metal legend Nikki Sixx isn’t exactly pleased with either Presidential candidate, asking fans on Twitter: “So, which devil are you voting for?” And not too long ago, the Sixx A.M. bassist pontificated online during the last Presidential debate: “Why don’t we have random drug testing for the Presidential debates?”

The hit-making Motley Crue founder also vigorously dumped on Trump many times. In September, Sixx tweeted: “If Trump becomes president your children will die because he will cause a world war that will hit American soil.”

 

ted nugent.jpgTED NUGENT

Motor City Madman Ted Nugent took to Facebook last summer to offer up a 14-item list of reasons to vote for “The Donald.” Primarily, the list reasoned that Trump is top choice after considering those who are opposed to the Presidential hopeful, like “the Pope” and “hateful, racist, violent Liberals.”

 

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KID ROCK

Hard-rockin’ hip-hopper and self-proclaimed “Bullgod” Bob “Kid Rock” Ritchie is raisin’ his fists in support of one particular candidate, telling Rolling Stone: “I’m digging Trump…I fell like a lot of people…if you get Hillary…there’s going to be the same sh-t [as Obama]…My feeling: Let the motherf–king business guy run it like a f–king business. And his campaign been entertaining as sh-t.”

2015 IS GONNA ROCK!

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READY TO RING IN SOME ROCK: (clockwise from top left): Ozzy Osbourne, Poison, Stephen Pearcy, Duff McKagan, Marilyn Manson and KISS

SUNSET & CLARK: 10 OF THE HARDEST-ROCKIN’ THINGS WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2015!

1. GETTING POISON’D

poison-1Metal fans looking for nothin’ but a good time won’t have to wait too much longer now that Poison has announced that the Sunset Strip-launched legends will be hitting the road again next year.

“It looks like it will happen [in 2015],” Bret Michaels recently confirmed to Cleveland Scene. “It’s been a few years. We just want to put together the right package and show to celebrate with everyone.”


2. OZZY OSBOURNE’S RETURN TO TV

article-2546509-1AFC608100000578-541_638x624The legendary P.O.F.D. himself is returning to reality television for new episodes of The Osbournes, which will find Ozzy Osbourne and the fam — Kelly, Jack and Sharon — giving fans another peek into their lives a decade after the hit show ended its run on MTV. This time around, The Osbournes will include, according to Sharon Osbourne, eight new episodes and will debut on VH-1 in early 2015.

 


3. STEPHEN PEARCY GETTING ‘SMASH’-ED

Stephen-PearcySunset Strip legend and former Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy is following up his recent headlining gig at the Whisky A Go Go with the release of his fourth scorching solo album, Smash, due out in early 2015.

 

 

4. CHRIS CORNELL, MIKE MCCREADY & DUFF MCKAGAN RELAUNCHING MAD SEASON

cornell-mccready-mckagan-sncThe Nineties supergroup Mad Season is reuniting — sort of — on January 30 in Seattle. Mad Season founding members Mike McCready of Pearl Jam and Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin will return with a revamped lineup that includes legendary Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver bassist Duff McKagan replacing late Walkabouts rocker John Baker, who passed away in 1999, and grunge god Chris Cornell taking the mic in place of Alice in ChainsLayne Staley, who died in 2002.

pearl jamThe band, which is reportedly planning a new album, will be taking the stage with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra as part of SSO’s “Sonic Evolution” showcase. The once-in-a-lifetime concert will also feature works inspired by Nirvana and Pearl Jam, along with the world-premiere of McCready’s decidedly less grungy orchestral composition “Waking the Horizon.”

 

5. METALLICA DROPPING A NEW ALBUM…MAYBE

James Hetfield“I’m pretty convinced that 90% of the record is actually written; it’s just gotta be kind of assembled between all those riffs,” Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich revealed to Metal Zone last summer. “It’s just a matter of connecting this to this and sort of shaping it into a song. And so, I’m pretty psyched about that.”

In September, frontman James Hetfield (pictured) confirmed the long-awaited album’s progress, telling Pulse of Radio: “We’ve come up with enough material for a record, for sure…We just haven’t had the time to really focus on it and…start whittling at these masterpieces.”

Bassist Robert Trujillo, who previously reported that Death Magnetic producer Rick Rubin will also helm the new album, provided an update to RockCellar Magazine in early December.

Metallica“We’re just blueprinting everything right now,” said Truillo. “There are a lot of ideas, a lot of song bodies, you gotta go through the process. For me personally I’m really excited about what we’ve been able to jam out.”

The band has promised fans that they’ll be hearing Metallica’s tenth studio album by as early as 2015 and no later than 2016.

 

6. BULLETBOYS RETURNING TO SUNSET 

bulletboysL.A. metalheads BulletBoys are bringing the band’s awesome hard rock hits like “Smooth Up in Ya,” “Hard as a Rock,” the killer cover “For the Love of Money” and “Freakshow” to the Whisky A Go Go on March 19!

Frontman Marq Torien and most of the band’s founding lineup are still cranking out killer original rock jams, like the stellar “Symphony” from BB’s upcoming release Elefante. Get ticket details here.

 

7. SYSTEM OF A DOWN GETTING ‘SOUL’-FUL AT FORUM

soadSoCal superstars System of a Down are set to headline another hometown show in the new year, when they will rock Inglewood on April 6, bringing the band’s “Wake Up the Souls Tour” to the Forum.

 

 

8. ROCKING OUT TO A NEW KISS ALBUM

kissIconic rock god Gene Simmons revealed to the Toronto Sun earlier this year that the world’s hardest-working rock band has its sights set on releasing new material very soon.

“I recently wrote a new song called ‘Your Wish is My Command,’ so the process has already started,” revealed Gene Simmons about the upcoming follow-up to 2012’s Monster.


9. MARILYN MANSON UNLEASHING ‘HELL’ ON EARTH

The-Pale-EmperorShock rocker and antichrist superstar Marilyn Manson will be returning to the spotlight in 2015 to rock your face off with his ninth studio album, The Pale Emperor, which drops January 20. If the album’s kick-off single “Third Day of a Seven-Day Binge” is any indication of the weight of the new material, Pale Emperor is going to be stellar.

A day after the album drops, Manson will launch “The Hell Not Hallelujah Tour,” which snakes its way through the U.S. starting in Washington, D.C. on January 21 and ending in Vegas on February 14. The singer-songwriter will then head overseas to rock a few summer festivals. Unfortunately, Manson has not announced an L.A. date.

 

10. HEAVY METAL HITTING THE HIGH SEAS

BuckcherryLos Angeles bands Buckcherry (right) and Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society along with Limp Bizkit, P.O.D. and Filter lead a rockin’ roster of awesome acts that will be hitting the high seas February 2-6 as the star attractions of ShipRocked: The Ultimate Rock N’ Roll Cruise.

Sailing from Florida to the Bahamas and back, ShipRocked will also showcase the super-band Metal Allegiance, which includes current and former members of legendary metal bands Megadeth, Anthrax, Pantera, Testament and Dream Theatre.

METAL MOOD SETTERS


Sunset and Clark

‘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

KISS AliveEver 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.

Miley CyrusOver 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.

 

HARD LUCK WOMEN

PRISS

YOU WANTED THE BEST (KISS TRIBUTE BAND), YOU GOT THE BEST: PRISS AT VIPER ROOM, NOVEMBER 14

PRISS-BASSHey, Iron Maidens, we’ve found the perfect band should the female Maiden cover group ever decide to start its own Metalpalooza festival: PRISS, a face-painted, leather-costumed, hard-rockin’ KISS tribute band that is fronted by four fierce female rockers.

The L.A. band, which certifiably kicks ass — check ’em out here — will be heading to the Sunset Strip on Friday, November 14, to bring the hits from one of the greatest rock bands on the planet to the Viper Room. The 21-and-over show also features two more really good local bands that are definitely worth checking out: Spirit in the Room and Breaking Arrows.


Even the “God of Thunder” himself, Gene Simmons, has given PRISS a seal of approval, featuring the band on Family Jewels last year, when Shannon Tweed joined PRISS on stage as “Queen Simmons.”


The ladies of PRISS not only prove that KISS’ famous costumes — and various incarnations of them — look even better on a sexy-edgy all-female band, they are also remarkable musicians that rock just as hard as the ground-breaking, multi-platinum group that inspired them.

PRISS-3PRISS is comprised of starry-eyed guitarist-vocalist Doll Stanley (Moa Henriksson); darling demon bassist-vocalist and “Goddess of Thunder,” Jean Simone (Andrea Zermeno); spacey lead six-string slinger Lace Frehley (Jennifer Paro); and foxy feline drummer Luda Criss (Judy Cocuzza).

Viper Room is located in the heart of West Hollywood, at 8852 Sunset Boulevard at Larrabee. Doors open at 9 p.m. and tickets are only $10. (Seriously, $10!) Get tickets and more information here.

The only reason you can possibly have for missing PRISS on the Sunset Strip is that you’re laid up in a KISS Kasket! See you at the show!

Photos: prissarmy.com

CREATURES OF THE NIGHT

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STREET ARTIST HUGE GIVES THE SUNSET STRIP A ‘MINI KISS’

sunsetandclarkmagazine1A curious new character has popped up on Sunset Boulevard this week.

Sunset and Clark spotted this four foot tall heavy metal midget affixed to a utility box on Sunset and Horn, across from the old Tower Records Sunset location.

We give major props to the guerilla artist, Huge, not only for the bizarre yet badass idea to morph two timeless pop culture icons, KISSAce Frehley and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me’Mini-Me, but also for showcasing one of the coolest rock artifacts ever: the Gibson Flying V!

 

ROCK N’ ROLE

trick or treat-ozzy-gene-simmons

MOVIES’ MOTLEY CREW: THE 10 BEST, WORST & WEIRDEST ROCK STAR CAMEOS IN HOLLYWOOD FILMS

1. VINCE NEIL

VINCE-NEIL-SUNSET-AND-CLARK-MAGAZINE

DEJA VU DEBUT: VINCE NEIL IN FORD FAIRLANE

vince-neilMotley Crue singer Vince Neil didn’t need any acting classes before stepping into the role of heavy metal singer Bobby Black, ill-fated frontman of Black Plague, in Andrew Dice Clay‘s big-screen comedy The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. The Dice Man, an avowed rock ‘n’ roll junkie, also invited a few of his other famous rock star friends to appear in the 1990 flick, including Sunset Strip refugees like legendary Brit bassist Phil Soussan and drummer Randy Castillo, who have both played on some of Ozzy’s greatest albums, and Quiet Riot guitarist Carlos Cavazzo. Neil tapped his real-life band to punch up the film’s soundtrack with the Crue classic “Rock ‘N’ Roll Junkie.”


2. GUNS N’ ROSES

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COOLEST SCREEN DEBUT: GUNS N’ ROSES IN THE DEAD POOL

carrey-dead-poolSeemingly possessed by Ozzy, Axl, Mick Jagger and Michael JacksonJim Carrey is brilliantly bad but entertaining to watch as a faux Axl Rose covering “Welcome to the Jungle” in the 1988 Clint Eastwood flick The Dead Pool. Fortunately, it’s the original Guns N’ Roses band that steps in to add some credibility to the flick and steal the spotlight with a brief bit in the cop drama. Axl, Duff McKagan, Slash, Steven Adler and Izzy Stradlin are featured in a funeral scene mourning the murder of Carrey’s Axl character.

 

3. OZZY OSBOURNE & GENE SIMMONS

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BIZARRE BITS: OZZY & GENE SIMMONS IN TRICK OR TREAT

OzzyThe only thing scary about the 1986 horror flick Trick or Treat, about a vengeful rock star zombie, is that the film was ever made. Saving the low-budget, bizarrely directed 1986 movie from being a total waste of film are guest appearances by rock legends Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons.

Ozzy’s appearance in Trick or Treat is not as memorable as his stint in the 1997 blockbuster Private Parts, featuring the P.O.F.D. famously calling Howard Stern a “f**king jerk,” but it is worth a watch. Ozzy is in fine comedic form again in a tongue-in-cheek cameo that sees the sometimes Black Sabbath frontman taming his famous locks and adopting a clean-cut persona to play an evangelist ranting about dirty lyrics in heavy metal music. Talk about art imitating life!


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Gene Simmons has been moonlighting in Hollywood for awhile, including co-starring alongside Tom Selleck in the 1984 feature film Runaway. However, if you ever thought that Simmons could never make a film worse than the 1978 TV movie KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park, think again. The rock bassist and “God of Thunder” singer puts his famous deep vocals to work in another capacity in Trick or Treat , playing a creepy-cool rock radio DJ. Looking like the bastard offspring of Ted Nugent and Merle Haggard, Simmons sports a leather cowboy hat and Wolfman Jack-like growl as a disc jockey enlisted to help battle a troublesome zombie musician. Where’s the KISS Army when you need it?

Continue reading ROCK N’ ROLE

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD

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KISS’ GENE SIMMONS GIVES ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS THE SECRETS TO SUCCESS: SPEAK ENGLISH & GET LEGAL

Gene SimmonsOne of the world’s most famous American immigrants, legendary rocker Gene Simmons is sounding off on a controversial political topic that is dividing the nation: immigration reform.

In a recent interview with The Huffington Post, the famously quotable rock superstar bizarrely goes off topic while answering a fan’s question about the band’s longevity. Simmons brings up his immigrant past before seguing into a speech on immigration, and he doesn’t hold back while giving advice to illegal immigrants seeking success in America: “Learn to speak goddamn English…and get legal.”

“I’m actually saying the thing that needs to be said because the politically-correct climate is bullshit,” Simmons says unapologetically in the Huff Post Live video interview before kicking into a near-10-minute dissertation on his views on immigration reform and the current influx of illegals into U.S. border states, including the New Yorker’s adopted home state of California.


‘As an immigrant, I’m telling you: Learn to speak goddamn English…If you make the effort then all the possibilities of this culture will open up for you & give you all the rewards that I’ve gotten.’

 

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“[Immigrants] have an inferred fiduciary duty to learn English, like I did, be a legal immigrant, like I am…make the effort to learn the culture, assimilate…agree to one culture that we can all communicate with and then go off and [speak] however you wanna talk,” Simmons advises.

“You don’t want to upset anybody by saying, ‘Learn to speak goddamn English,'” he adds. “So, as an immigrant, I’m telling you: Learn to speak goddamn English. It is the key that will unlock the keys to the Kingdom. If you make the effort then all the possibilities of this [American] culture will open up for you and give you all the rewards that I’ve gotten.”

gene-simmons-la-kiss-footballSimmons, who emigrated from Israel to Queens in 1949 at age 8, has done more than most moguls in helping to stimulate the American economy, especially in California, with his seemingly unstoppable KISS empire. In addition to the arena-selling band and countless related merchandise, the KISS enterprise also includes coffee houses, rock-themed restaurants, books, reality shows and, most recently, the launch of the Los Angeles-based LA KISS arena football team and its related reality show, 4th & Loud.

gene-simmons-me-incThe self-made mega-mogul and New York Times best-selling author, who has a new advice book out this fall titled Me, Inc., has never shied away from addressing political and social issues in the media, usually with unrestrained candor and brilliant sarcasm and regardless of any concerns over ruffling a “politically-correct climate.” And now, it’s great to see this unwavering American hero tackling tough topical issues while also graciously offering fellow immigrants sound advice on how to secure the “American Dream.”

Check out the full Huff Post Live interview here.

 

KISS ALIVE ON SUNSET

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KISS SCORES PRIME SPOT ON ROCK ROW TO HYPE NEW TV SHOW

kiss-sunset400-1Rock legends Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley tower over the Sunset Strip’s Rock Row in a hot new billboard hyping the founding KISS members’ latest project: the premiere of the AMC reality TV show 4th and Loud, which goes behind the scenes of the L.A. KISS arena football team.

kiss-billboard-original-400The billboard, which features Simmons and Stanley sans their iconic makeup, sits above Aahs! at Sunset and San Vicente and overlooks the Whisky A Go-Go.

It’s great to see KISS in the WeHo ‘hood again following the unveiling of the band’s billboard for John Varvatos that lit up La Cienega earlier this year.

YOU CAN’T KILL ROCK & ROLL

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SUNSET & CLARK’S TOP 12 GREATEST ENDURING HEAVY METAL BANDS 

ozzy-osbourne-sabbathWhen Ozzy Osbourne proclaimed in 1982 that “you can’t kill rock and roll,” he and fellow enduring metal icons like MetallicaMotley 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.

Guns-N-Roses-Axl-RoseRockin’ 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 and the 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
metallicaLaunched 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 Stone that the project is in the “fourth inning.”

2. MOTLEY CRUE
motley_crueIn 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
Van_HalenSurviving 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
KISS perform live at Allphones ArenaIn 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
iron maiden denmarkFormed 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
Judas-PriestSure, 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
sabbathBlack 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
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
Def-LeppardPowerhouse 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
Megadeth-2014Legendary 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
Slayer-2013Southern 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
anthraxAnthrax 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.

WICKED STYLE

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DEMONS ON MELROSE: KISS BRINGS ROCKIN’ STYLE TO WEHO

kiss-700Detroit (Rock City)-born designer John Varvatos is giving KISS Army members a good reason to trade in their uniforms and step-up their style by using KISS to showcase his latest menswear collection.  The front windows of Varvatos’ West Hollywood store at 8800 Melrose Ave at Robertson feature likenesses of the iconic band members donning the designer’s Spring 2014 fashions.

KISS Billboard - OriginalWhile we have never personally owned a man purse, we have to admit that no one looks more manly with one than the Demon himself.

The WeHo window display follows the recent unveiling of Varvatos’ KISS billboard on La Cienega featuring the New York band on its home turf and dressed to kill in designer suits from Varvatos’ Spring 2014 collection.

The couture designer also debuted a limited-edition KISS “Dressed to Kill” t-shirt, a double-sided tee that received the band’s blessing. The only downside to the cool collaboration? The t-shirt costs $118! We guess that if you want to look like a rock star you have to have a rock star’s income, too. Better brush up on those power chords!

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High Notes

“KISS crack? Not such a good idea. Even if you spell the crack with a ‘K.'”

Gene Simmons, deciding that there is at least one thing he won’t market to the KISS Army! (Billboard)

New Crue

MOTLEY CRUE TO DROP ‘SEX’ ON JULY 17

Summer is about to get a whole lot louder beginning July 17, when Motley Crue releases its titillating new single, “Sex.” The new track drops three days before the Hollywood band kicks off a co-headlining summer tour with KISS on July 20.

Although this is great news for fans, unfortunately, “Sex” is just a random one-off  release to hype the tour, but the band has no plans to release a new album anytime soon. In other words, “Sex” is kind of a one-night stand as far as new Crue music goes.

Guitar Heroes

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.