Tag Archives: music

HEY, I KNOW THAT DUDE!

On Monday nights in L.A., about the only sure shot you got is Fast Times at the Whisky A Go-Go.

The Whisky A Go-Go‘s Monday night house band, Fast Times, is a totally awesome and completely tubular ’80s tribute band that never fails to knock your neon lime green socks off and get your checkerboard Vans moshing.

Bored on a random Monday night, we cruised over to Sunset and Clark to catch yet another set by Fast Times, which has been the Whisky’s Monday night house band for the past two years. And they always give one of the coolest, most faithful sets of ’80s covers that are spot-on and have an awesome added edge that comes from the high-energy live show that includes plenty of audience participation.

Throughout the show, the faux Jeff Spicoli frontman brilliantly segues from handling the vocals of Jon Bon Jovi one minute to Dave Gahan the next and then effortlessly switching to Mark Almond and Holly Johnson, and the segue is as smooth and crisp as the keyboard riffs of a Casio.

Fast Times always manages to engage the audience to the point that for a moment in time, the Whisky feels like you just stepped into a rockin’ prom circa 1985. The crowd is very much into the experience, everyone knows the words of every song, and they’re excited by just how good the covers are.

Plus, the audience is often invited to sing/yell the choruses into the microphone during the many times various band members step up into the edge of the stage. Fast Times’ set feels more like a really wicked party than a concert. 

The only disappointment came when we stepped outside and realized there wasn’t a 1982 DMC DeLorean waiting to hit 88 mph and take us back to the ’80s for good.

HOLLYWOOD ROCKS

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 Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden to Friends and the 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.”

The studio’s rock and roll holy grail may be the old jukebox used in the 1957 Elvis Presley film Loving You, which featured The King using this jukebox to supply the music as he sang “Loving You” in the technicolor movie musical.

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.

BEST SHOT

Hollywood street art gives a shout out to classic Pat Benatar album.

When you’re strolling through HOLLYWOOD, there are usually a lot of distractions that have your eyes darting from one scenario to the next. One minute you’re gazing in awe at Marilyn Monroe‘s star in front of McDonald’s on Hollywood Boulevard and the next you’re trying to quickly look away from the crackhead pooping on the sidewalk in front of Madam Tussaud’s Hollywood Wax Museum.

Fortunately for us, while walking to the Hollywood Bowl recently to catch a Stevie Nicks show, it was a random, rockin’ homage to another music icon, Pat Benatar, that distracted us.

The vibrant, dye cut sticker-art tribute to Benatar’s fourth album, Get Nervous, is immortalized on the back of a sign post on Highland, just outside the Bowl.

The crazy-cool artwork immediately had the songs from the 1982 album streaming through our cabeza, timeless classics like “Shadows of the Night,” “Little Too Late,” “Looking for a Stranger,” and “Anxiety (Get Nervous).”

Caught up in the nostalgia, we found ourselves holding an old Bic lighter high in the air as we continued our stroll to the Hollywood Bowl.

SUNSET STRIP SALUTES MEAT LOAF

Roxy Sunset pays homage to hard rock hero with line from timeless Rocky Horror hit.

The Roxy in the heart of the Sunset Strip is using its famous marquee to pay homage to Meat Loaf, who passed away this week, by featuring a line from one of his best songs, “Hot-Patootie (Bless My Soul),” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The rock legend, of course, played motorcycle-riding badass “Eddie’ in a memorable cameo in the cult hit film, which was produced by Lou Adler, owner of the Roxy.

Meat Loaf, whose real name is Marvin Aday, sold over 100 million albums, with the iconic Bat Out of Hell, remaining one of his best-selling albums. Of course, the multitalented rock vocalist also had memorable acting roles in the Hollywood blockbusters Wayne’s World and Fight Club. The well-loved musician died from the coronavirus on January 20 at age 74.

The singer’s family confirmed the news of his death via Facebook, writing: “Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight surrounded by his wife Deborah, daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends. …We know how much he meant to so many of you, and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man. From his heart to your souls…don’t ever stop rocking!”

At such a devastating time, it’s great to see the Sunset Strip landmark take time out to pay respect to one of rock’s greatest vocalists and frontmen. R.I.P., Meat Loaf.

ROCKIN’ LIKE DOKKEN

Band founders Don Dokken and legendary guitarist George Lynch to reunite at Dokken’s headlining Whisky shows in December.

One of the greatest bands from the heavy metal era of the awesome ’80s, Dokken is returning to the very launching pad that kick-started the legendary group’s hit-making career. There’s nowhere else you’re going to want to be on December 17 and December 18 than at the Whisky A Go-Go, when Dokken returns to the world-famous venue to set the roof on fire with timeless classics like “In My Dreams,” “It’s Not Love,” “Just Got Lucky,” “Alone Again,” “Dream Warriors,” and many more scorching metal masterpieces.

Sure, the the band’s namesake founder is the only original member in Dokken’s current lineup, but these shows are extraordinary events for hardcore fans. It marks a reunion of Don Dokken and the band’s original guitar hero, George Lynch, who—along with drummer Mick Brown and bassists Juan Croucier then Jeff Pilsen—helped the band go on to sell over 10 million albums worldwide.

Continue reading ROCKIN’ LIKE DOKKEN

WHISKY CURES EVERYTHING

Five of the hardest rockin’ shows headed to the Whisky A Go-Go in 2021.

Sure, we all know that the year 2020 sucks worse than that recent Tommy Lee album, but with a promising vaccine reportedly on the way, there are plenty of awesome concerts that we’re looking forward to in 2021 as we start to make up for lost time.And thanks to Pfizer, we’ll be doing it mask-free and close enough to scare the band. (That was a Fast Times at Ridgemont High joke.)

While we certainly love, respect and appreciate livestream shows from our favorite bands and nightclubs, nothing can ever replace the euphoria and excitement and the intrinsic connection with bands and fellow fans that a live concert offers. Catching concerts at the Whisky A Go-Go–which I’ve done countless times for decades–is a unique experience that wows all the senses.

Whisky A Go-Go
Setting the scene for virtually every Whisky show is the ubiquitous aroma of fine cannabis that wafts above small cliques of Whisky patrons usually seen hanging out in front of the club between sets. The contact high provides a decent buzz that adds to the excitement of seeing the awesome interior of the legendary venue and its unique rock artifacts that cover its walls and pay tribute to past Whisky headliners and house bands like Motley Crue and The Doors.

Continue reading WHISKY CURES EVERYTHING

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.

Continue reading BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN

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.

SAINTS OF SUNSET

Warner-Drive
WARNER DRIVE TO HEADLINE CITY OF ANGELS RECORD RELEASE SHOW AT SUNSET STRIP’S VIPER ROOM NOV. 8

Warner DriveAs far as Hollywood buzz bands go, they don’t get much better than Warner Drive. The hard rocking fivesome has been tirelessly shaking up the Sunset Strip for a couple years now before recently taking some time off the club scene to record new material.

Local fans will get a live taste of the new stuff when Warner Drive hits up the Viper Room on November 8 for a headlining gig at the iconic rock club. The band’s return to the Sunset Strip is to celebrate the long awaited release of WD’s new album, City of Angels.

As expected, the band does not disappoint with City of Angels, which includes 10 solid tracks featuring WD’s newer club staples and brand spankin’ new material.

City of AngelsCity of Angels, which officially dropped September 9, kicks off with “Rising From the Fallen,” a full-throttle, Sabbathy hard rock anthem that Disturbed would have killed to have recorded. We think the late, great Dio would give this track two devil’s horns up.

The album starts off very strong and never lets up, seguing to the title track, “City of Angels,” which is the coolest L.A. anthem to surface from a Sunset Strip-launched band since Motley Crue‘s “Saints of Los Angeles.”

“Radio Love Song” echoes with ’80s-metal-style harmonies and is the most radio-ready and badass sing-along track since WD’s signature jam “The Scarecrow.” Likewise, the band’s new single “Boys N’ Girls” is another killer original rock song that would have fit comfortably on any early Skidrow or Dokken album.

SAMSUNGAlso on the new release, frontman Jonny Law and crew — guitarists Candice Levinson and Ryan Harris, bassist Elvis James and drummer Jonny U — switch gears from party rock to get political and bust some strings on the catchy, hard-rocking “West Memphis Three.”

“King of Swing” is standard Warner Drive: mercilessly melodic chorus, scorching guitars and a solid rhythm section that kicks this tune into overdrive and should blow the roof off of the Viper Room on November 8.

Also, considering that WD has already immortalized Viper Room in one of its best songs, expect Warner Drive to deliver a particularly scorching version of “Viper Room.”

Viper Room is located in the heart of the Strip at 8852 West Sunset Boulevard. The show starts at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $10, or $15 with a copy of City of Angels. Lose Control and Kicking Harold are also on the bill. Get ticket details here.

C’mon, Feel the Noize

B-6

BIG B DROPS SMOKIN’ NEW TRACK, ‘NOTHIN’ TO PROVE,’ ONLINE

Taking a break from finishing up his new album, Fool’s Gold, hip-rock hooligan Big B dropped a preview of it online via HipHopDX. On Dec. 1, the music website premiered “Nothin’ to Prove,” a tight track with enough attitude to topple Fort Knox.

Picture 2The Vegas-based rapper is currently recording his follow-up to 2011’s Music for Misfits. And by the sounds of it, “Nothin’ to Prove” hints that Fool’s Gold holds the same weight as its rockin’ predecessor.

On the new album’s debut track, B unapologetically drops stories about his history of crime and rhyme and delivers another groovy and gritty ode to drinkin’, dissin’ and dropping awesome outlaw anthems. There’s a whole lotta cool sounds — from cosmic synth lines to rock percussion — going on in the track, melding seamlessly with B’s killer delivery and destroying any haters along the way.

Listen to “Nothin’ to Prove” at HipHopDX. Big B plays The Whisky Dec. 27.

We’re still rockin’ Music for Misfit’s breakthrough hit, “Before I Leave This Place.”

Fully Loaded

Warner Drive

WARNER DRIVE DEBUTS NEW SONG, ‘KING OF SWING,’ WHILE GIVING HOUSE OF BLUES A CRASH COURSE IN HOW TO ROCK

Never say Monday nights in L.A. are boring because local buzz band Warner Drive proved that it just ain’t so. The five-piece power-rock band shook the amps at the Sunset Strip’s House of Blues on December 3 with a spectacular set from their arsenal of original arena-ready rock songs. The band also premiered an awesome new track from WD’s upcoming third studio album, due out in early 2013.

Jonny LawFrontman Jonny Law, sporting a NOFX T-shirt, set things off with the melodic rocker “Ok K-Go” from WD’s latest release, K-Go!, and immediately had the packed venue moving and grooving with a frenzied fervor of rock and roll ecstasy that would make Fat Mike proud.

Confident that they have the chops to keep the crowd amped for the band’s entire set, Warner Drive choose to crank up its signature song, “The Scarecrow,” early in its set, and judging by the audience’s enthusiastic reaction and sing-along, it was apparent that most of the crowd was here for WD, which was opening for Steel Panther.

kgoWarner Drive rounded out its set with nearly a half-dozen tracks from K-Go! and a few more from the band’s 2005 debut, Fully Loaded, before showcasing a rockin’ new tune, “King of Swing,” which Law penned as a tribute to his dad, who, he mentioned, recently passed away from leukemia.

“But this isn’t a sad song,” Law said before launching into the anthemic rock jam whose chorus promises that “everything is gonna be alright” and proves that Warner Drive – which also includes bassist Elvis James, drummer Jonny U and guitarists Ryan Harris and Candice Levinson —  is only getting more awesome with each gig.