Rockin’ new book For Those About to Rock teaches kids music history with some edgy fun.
If you respect and appreciate good music and great artists, then you may be feeling a bit indifferent about the trending videos on YouTube that feature millennials and Gen Zers sharing their reaction to first hearing classic songs by legendary artists like the Bee Gees and Motley Crue. Now, watching strangers react to music sounds about as interesting as playing Zeppelin records backwards hoping to hear Satan. However, the most surreal part of the whole “reaction video” trend is that some young people simply aren’t ashamed of their lack of basic music history.
Granted, being able to name the four original members of KISS without needing to check Wikipedia won’t land you a professorship at the local university. But by the time anyone reaches their teen years, you’d hope they’d have some semblance of how and why Bruce Springsteen and TheBeatles are just as important to American and world history as George Washington and Albert Einstein.
Considering how difficult it is just to get the American education system to provide a basic quality education, we’re not holding our breath. Fortunately, a new rockin’ new book has found a great solution. Author/rocker Kate Seldman‘s For Those About to Rock: A Kid’s Guide to 50 Legendary Musical Acts is a long overdue, gorgeously illustrated “text book” that highlights a rich musical education delivered in a fun and engaging presentation that would appeal to any young mind that loves learning.
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 likeLita 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.
However, while the temporary closure of the Whisky, Viper Room and Roxy is tough on everyone, there is some good news.
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.
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 MotleyCrue and The Doors.
RELIVE HOLLYWOOD’S HEAVY METAL GLORY DAYS WITH THE BEST OF RATT, DOKKEN, SKIDROW, CINDERELLA & MORE MONSTERS OF METAL AT CATHOUSE LIVE, AUG. 15 IN THE O.C.
Legendary club promoter Riki Rachtman is back to save the modern music scene by opening up a big ol’ can of heavy metal whoop ass on August 15 with the hotly anticipated return of one of his most famous Hollywood clubs, the Cathouse. And he’s bringing a few famous friends with him when Cathouse Live rocks The O.C. this summer.
Bringing added heat to Southern California’s summer concert season are legendary hard-rock frontmen Sebastian Bach, Stephen Pearcy (right), Tom Keifer, Don Dokken and Tracii Guns, whowill be covering the greatest hits of Skidrow, Ratt, Cinderella, Dokken and L.A. Guns, respectively, onthe Cathouse Live main stage at Irvine Meadows.
Theheavy metal hit-makers will besharing an all-star bill with Extreme, Trixter, Saigon Kick and Sunset Strip refugees Bang Tango, BulletBoys, Junkyard, Pretty Boy Floyd and Little Caesar. Plus, there are many more timeless metal bands that will keep Cathouse Live rockin’ from sun up ’til sun down on August 15.
Rachtman’s rockin’ summertime revival offers a rare opportunity for fans to get a taste of the famous club he launched in 1986 with some help from Faster Pussycat’s Taime Downe. Cathouse became a favorite hangout for the likes of everyone from Axl Rose (right) to Lita Ford and hosted every band from Pantera to Pearl Jam. The Hollywood hot spot, which closed its doors on Highland forever in the Nineties, is immortalized in classics by Motley Crüe, AliceCooper and Faster Pussycat.
We raise our Bics to Rachtman for bringing the best of classic metal back to SoCal this summer with Cathouse Live. And the best part? Tickets start at $15! Get more details here.
(Main photo: (clockwise from top, left to right): Don Dokken, Bang Tango, Sebastian Bach, Riki Rachtman, Trixter, Extreme, BulletBoys’ Marq Torien and Tracii Guns)
LED ZEPPELIN LEGEND ROBERT PLANT TO ROCK HOLLYWOOD HILLS, JUNE 2
Been a long time since you rock and rolled?
Robert Plant is returning to L.A. to grace the gorgeous Hollywood Hills summer skyline with his golden pipes when he headlines the GreekTheatre on June 2.
This time around, the Led Zeppelin legend is bringing along his new band, the Sensational Space Shifters, pictured right at L.A.’s Shrine Theatre in 2013. The iconic singer-songwriter and his band will be focusing on music from their 2014 album, Lullaby and… the Ceaseless Roar.
Get ticket information and more details on the Greek show here.
Check out and the Sensational Space Shifters in the short film Returning to the Borders, below.
Hollywood Roses Revisits Guns N’ Roses at Whisky, Feb. 14
Sure, on Valentine’s Day, you can always do the usual wine and roses thing with your better half.
However, we have a much better suggestion: the Night Train and Roses thing!
On February 14, toast the evening with some Night Train while getting your faces rocked off by the sounds of Hollywood hit-makers Guns N’ Roses at local faves Hollywood Roses‘ headlining gig at the world-famous Whisky A Go-Go!
The Whisky is located in the heart of the Strip’s Rock Row at 8901 Sunset Boulevard at Clark Street. Get more details and tickets for Hollywood Roses’ Valentine’s Day show here.
But don’t blame us if the date starts to feel a little uncomfortable should the band break out “Used to Love Her”!
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.
SUNSET & CLARK: 10 OF THE HARDEST-ROCKIN’ THINGS WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2015!
1. GETTING POISON’D
Metal 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
The 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
Sunset 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
The 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 Chains’ Layne Staley, who died in 2002.
The 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
“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.
“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
L.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
SoCal 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
Iconic 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
Shock 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
Los 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.
WARNER DRIVE TO HEADLINE CITY OF ANGELS RECORD RELEASE SHOW AT SUNSET STRIP’S VIPER ROOM NOV. 8
As 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 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.
Also 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.
Judging from this groovy graphic we spotted on the back of a stop sign near Sunset and Doheny, it looks like mysterious L.A. urban artist Alec Monopoly has the perfect solution for safely crossing the Sunset Strip: jump! We’ve gotten a kick out of stumbling across Alec’s cool street art, including his Jack Nicholson portraits, for a while now. And it’s good to see that the art world is now starting to embrace the New York transplant’s work in a big way, including at Miami’s recent high-profile and weirdly named shin dig Art Basel.