Tag Archives: rock

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

WING FEST

WINGER CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF HITS AT WHISKY, NOV. 11

If you do the math, that nearly-jailbait babe that Kip Winger was serenading in 1988’s “Seventeen” would be a 44-year-old cougar today. But Kip and crew will still be cranking out the obsessive pop-metal ode to young lust when Winger hits the Sunset Strip to rock the Whisky A Go-Go on Nov. 11. And that’s a good thing.

The New York rockers will be in town to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of the band’s 1988 debut, Winger. The album spawned the hit singles “Headed for a Heartbreak,” “Madalaine,” “Hungry” and, of course, “Seventeen.”

Singer-bassist Kip Winger and his crew–guitarists Reb Beach and John Roth and drummer Rod Morgenstein, will be rockin’ and rollin’ out all the hits from Winger straight up to “Better Days Comin'” and the scorching guitar-heavy rocker “Rat Race” from 2014’s Better Days Comin’.

Evolution Eden and Osairis are opening the Whisky show.

30 YEARS OF ‘DOOM’

flotsam-and-jetsamFLOTSAM & JETSAM CELEBRATE THREE DECADES OF DOOMSDAY, NOV. 5 AT WHISKY A GO-GO

doomsdayMetallica‘s ex-bassist Jason Newstead‘s old band Flotsam and Jetsom is bringing its manic metal anthems to the Whisky A Go-Go on Nov. 5 . The metal stalwarts have just returned from a European tour and are promoting F&J’s self-titled 12th studio album, which was released last spring.

But even decades later, the Newstead-era “Hammerhead” and “She Took an Axe” from Flotsam’s 1986 debut, Doomsday for the Deceiver, and “Wading Through the Darkness” and F&J’s cover of Elton John‘s “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” from 1988’s breakthrough album Cuatro, are still as blistering and badass as they come.


flotsam-and-jetsam-drummer-jason-bittner“We are very excited to get out with this package and thrash through the United States, playing material from our new album, fan favorites, as well as celebrating the 30-year anniversary of Doomsday for the Deceiver,” promises Flotsam and Jetsam drummer Jason Bittner.

Bay Area thrash-metal newbies Hatchet will also be shredding at Whisky as Flotsam’s support act on the U.S. tour.

RETURN TO SUNSET

SLASH-MYLES-KENNEDY

SLASH AND MYLES KENNEDY & THE CONSPIRATORS SET FOR THREE-NIGHT L.A. TOUR AT ICONIC ROCK CLUBS, SEPT. 23, 25 & 26

slash-sunsetandclarkLegendary GN’R alum and Sunset Strip rock refugee Slash is heading back to West Hollywood and Rock Row in September to shred at three of the city’s most iconic rock clubs: Troubadour, Roxy and The Whisky A Go Go. The three-night mini-tour will have Slash reuniting with his SSMF 2010 guest artist, occasional studio collaborator and frequent touring mate, Myles Kennedy and his band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.

The band will first head over to Santa Monica Boulevard and Doheny and hit up the iconic Troubadour on September 23 for a headlining gig before cruising up to Sunset on September 25 to rock the Roxy. The party continues on September 26, when Slash and Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators take center stage at the world-famous Whisky A Go Go.

Get tickets and additional details here. See you at the shows!

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.

NUMERO UNO

Bon Jovi Live

SNC’S 10 BEST ITALIAN-AMERICAN ROCK VOCALISTS


1. RONNIE JAMES DIO – BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW AND DIO

dioIt takes cajones the size of Texas to fill Ozzy Osbourne’s boots, and Ronnie James Dio proved he had the chops to keep Black Sabbath’s legend alive on two stellar Sabbath albums, 1980’s Heaven and Hell and 1981’s Mob Rules. Before that the former Elf singer created future metal classics as a guest vocalist on Deep Purple bassist-songwriter Roger Glover’s 1974 concept album The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast and as frontman for guitar god Ritchie Blackmore‘s Rainbow.

The former Ronald James Padavona’s 1983 solo debut, Holy Diver, is unarguably one of the greatest metal albums of all time, and it’s all thanks to Dio’s supreme vocals, which remain unmatched by any other vocalist three decades later. We hold up a two-fisted devil’s horn salute to Dio every time we crank up “Rainbow in the Dark.”

2. JON BON JOVI – BON JOVI

jon-bon-jovi-sncAs one of the best and most badass rock singers-songwriters on the planet, Jon Bon Jovi has earned his famous Superman-inspired tattoo. His anthems are timeless, and every track on his band’s self-titled debut sounds just as stunningly kick-ass today as it did in 1984. Plus, we’re sure that the former John Francis Bongiovi, Jr. is probably the only dude with Francis for a middle name who can still kick your ass without breaking a sweat!






3. STEVEN TYLER – AEROSMITH

steven-tylerAerosmith‘s Steven Tyler, the artist formerly known as Steven Victor Tallarico, is the best thing to happen to rock n’ roll since the invention of the Stratocaster. And we’re not just saying that because he wrote one of the best pro-tolerance anthems ever inspired by 1992’s L.A. Riots, “Living on the Edge.” Although that certainly gets him some extra points.










4. GLENN DANZIG – MISFITS, SAMHAIN AND DANZIG

glenn.danzigNew Jersey’s Glenn Allen Anzalone, known better as Glenn Danzig, not only created three of hard rock’s greatest bands — Misfits, Samhain and Danzig – but his first one inspired some of the best musicians out there, from Henry Rollins to Metallica. And it’s not every dude who can carry off that Chippendale’s hairstyle for over three decades and remain one of the most badass vocalists in rock history.






5. RIVERS CUOMO – WEEZER

rivers-cuomoThis former Tower Records Sunset clerk not only fronts one of the best L.A. bands to ever surface from the Sunset strip scene, Weezer, but he also played a pivotal role in showing the world that heavy metal fans are smarter than Tipper Gore ever gave us credit for by earning a degree in English from Harvard in 2006! He may look just like Buddy Holly, but he’s also as smart as Stephen Hawking!






6. GARY CHERONE – EXTREME AND VAN HALEN

gary-cherone-extremeBecause, as frontman for Extreme, Gary Francis Caine Cherone also gave us killer metal anthems like “Kid Ego,” “Mutha (Don’t Wanna Go to School Today),” “Get the Funk Out,” “Hip Today” and, of course, “More Than Words,” it’s easy to forgive him for Van Halen III.








7. GERARD WAY – MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE

Gerard-WayEven before starting up one of the coolest art-rock bands of the 2000s, MCR’s Gerard Arthur Way had already earned piints with us after revealing that his stellar music career was inspired by his love of fellow Italiano Bon Jovi. Also, like smartie Rivers Cuomo, Gerard and his younger bro Mikey helped up respect for metalheads everywhere by naming their band after a respected novel, Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance. Plus, 2006’s The Black Parade and its successive music videos remain some of the most awesome art-rock to ever hit the charts.







8. DAVEY HAVOK – AFI

Davey+HavokEven if the former David Paden Passaro didn’t front one of the best ’90s bands out of NorCal, we’d still give him a two-handed devil’s horn salute just for his role as a straight-edge and vegan activist. In addition to AFI’s “Silver and cold” and “Love Like Winter,” Davey Havok also dropped some of our favorite guest vocals on timeless tracks by some of our other fave bands, including The Transplants’ “Quick Death” and The Dance Hall Crashers’ “I Don’t Wanna Behave.”









9. RICHIE SAMBORA – BON JOVI

richie-samboraAlthough we are still feeling a bit angsty about Richie Sambora’s split from Bon Jovi and his recent maybe/maybe not trashing of Jon Bon Jovi in his latest song, we’re still man enough to admit that we kind of liked his three solo outings, especially 1991’s Stranger in this Town. While Sambora is no JBJ, his backup vocals and co-songwriting duties definitely made Bon Jovi the band that it became. And, hey, Italians can be a bit too passionate with their emotions sometimes, so we’re gonna give his feud with Jon some time to cool down because we think these two rock icons will eventually patch things up. In fact, we’ve already said a couple prayers to the patron saint of forgiveness, St. Maria Goretti, in hopes that they reunite soon!

10. NIKKI SIXX – MOTLEY CRUE AND SIXX: AM

OK, we know it’s sort of a stretch to include Nikki Sixx in the vocalist category, but we didn’t want to have a chart about Italian rockers without somehow including its most badass addition to the heavy metal scene, the former Frank Carlton Serafino Feranna Jr. Plus, Nikki’s backup vocals on Motley Crue’s classics give the timeless tracks an extra edge, and we totally dig his lead on “Rocketship,” too.

SUNSET DRIVE

WARNER DRIVE TAKES OVER VIPER ROOM

Sunset Strip rock refugees Warner Drive are returning to the Viper Room in February and March with four shows that are sure to officially rock the roof off the joint.

Awhile back, when Sunset and Clark first stumbled — and we do mean stumbled, following drinks at Rainbow — upon Warner Drive at Viper Room and witnessed, through bloodshot eyes, the band crank up its signature jam, “All by Myself,” it took us all of 10 seconds into the addictive rocker to proclaim them the best Sunset Strip band since Guns N’ Roses.

Now, as Warner Drive —  JonnyLawCandice LevinsonRyan HarrisJonny Udell and Elvis James — are steering their way back to the comfy confines of the band’s unofficial Sunset Strip home base, it’s hard to believe that these arena-worthy mofos haven’t yet headlined Staples considering that the VR shows are celebrating these local legends’ 10-year anniversary.

Warner Drive, however, is working on its follow-up to the band’s fantastic full-length sophomore release of original songs, 2011’sK-Go!, and considering that the band debuted a dynamite new tune, “King of Swing,” at a recentHouse of Blues show (right), you can likely expect to hear some more cool new tunes!

The band’s Jan. 30 warm up show at the Viper Room in anticipation of WD’s month-long Wednesday night residency sold out quickly. Get tickets and more deets about WD’s Feb. 6 to March 1 takeover of Viper Room here. Plus, advance tickets are only $10, but a still-cheap $12 at the door. (But trust us, there likely won’t be any left!)

Rock out to “Viper Room'” Warner Drive’s sonic salute to the iconic Sunset Strip club, from the band’s debut, Loaded, below. See you at the shows!

C’mon, Feel the Noize

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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.