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SUCKING IN THE ’70s

Whisky A Go-Go and Hal Sparks set to host a night of classic rock from one of the greatest eras for music.

If you weren’t fortunate enough to have lived through at least part of the ’70s, you’re in luck because the Whisky A Go-Go is going to take rock fans back in time to the good old days when Zeppelin ruled and nobody even knew what twerking was yet. 

Tuesday Night Music Club: Chuck Wright (l.) & Hal Sparks

On January 17, actor, rocker, and Nerd Halen frontman Hal Sparks is once again hosting Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood, which is themed “That ’70s Jam.” The set will include two hours of stellar rock covers of Me Decade masterpieces delivered by world-class working musicians that you probably have seen before performing in some of your favorite classic and modern rock bands, from Quiet Riot to Duran Duran.

Beasts of Burden: Rolling Stones circa 1970s

Plus, Sparks is a very entertaining and funny emcee that makes the segway between numbers go very smoothly, so the entire evening just feels like one big party.

Down at the Whisky: Hal Sparks at Ultimate Jam Night

Sparks is a musician and diehard rock fan who truly knows his rock history even when he’s not reading from the clipboard. He will often riff on interesting factoids about the bands and songs throughout the evening, which is also a fun part of the Tuesday night events.

Kings of Teenage Wasteland: The Who

During the “That ’70s Jam” tribute concert, you can expect the Seventies aura–and likely the aroma–to be spot-on during the Whisky’s homage to the hard rock hits and ballsy ballads of one of the best eras for music that gave us everlasting classics by KISS, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, The Sweet, and so much more.

Shout It Out Loud: KISS pretty much owned the Seventies

And when it comes to recreating classic songs, nobody does it like the band from the Whisky A Go-Go’s famous “Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood” event. In fact, a while back when they covered the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” with Leif Garrett on vocals, they had at least a dozen musicians on stage to make sure they replicated every nuance of that classic song. (Props to Leif Garrett, too, for completely delivering on that rock ‘n’ roll masterpiece.)

He Was Made for Rockin’: Leif Garrett at Whisky

So, if they dare to cover “Stairway to Heaven” at “That ’70s Jam,” you can bet it’s going to be the next best thing to sitting on a grassy knoll in Golden Gate Park stoned out of your mind watching Led Zeppelin do it at Kezar Stadium in 1973.

Rock and Roll: Led Zeppelin looking effortlessly cool backstage in the ’70s

The cool thing about watching the band cover Zeppelin at the Whisky is that you’ll be standing in the same room where Led Zeppelin performed on January 5, 1969. Like, that’s sure to give the stoners a super-cool high, man.

The Whisky A Go-Go is located at 8901 Sunset Blvd., at Sunset and Clark St. An opening band starts the evening off at 8 p.m. “That ’70s Jam” kicks off at 10 p.m. Free to those 21 and over. Yes, this night of world-class live music is free!

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.

SNAPSHOTS FROM THE STRIP

Viper Room gives a Sunset Strip salute to iconic Fleetwood Mac member.

Fleetwood Mac‘s legendary singer-keyboardist Christine McVie died November 30 at the age of 79 following a short illness.

“A few hours ago I was told that my best friend in the whole world since the first day of 1975 had passed away,” wrote bandmate Stevie Nicks in an online tribute to McVie. “See you on the other side, my love,” she added. “Don’t forget me.”

The Sunset Strip also paid homage to McVie via the marquis of the world-famous Viper Room music club.

R.I.P., Christine McVie. 😢

WHISKY TO GET A FACELIFT

Whisky A Go-Go is getting a new look, and the Sunset Strip is welcoming a ‘Rock Walk of Fame.’

Since the Whisky A Go-Go set up business at the corner of Sunset and Clark back in 1064, the two-story club has famously sported a number of shades and exterior looks, from the groovy purple and yellow scheme in the ‘70s to the more recent red and black design.

And of course, the billboard above the club has been advertising new album releases since the 60s. At one time or another everyone from Alice Cooper to Motley Crue has been featured on billboards above the club.

MODERN ROCK; Whisky A Go-Go, November 2022.

Now, the world-famous club and the Sunset Strip are about to get a modern makeover.

Earlier this week, the West Hollywood City Council approved the conversion of the club’s static billboard into a double-sided digital billboard.

CLASSIC ROCK: Whisky A Go-Go, April 1972.

The mammoth billboard’s origami-inspired 500- and 1,000-square-foot screens are designed to evolve as motorists and pedestrians pass the billboard. Either way, it’s certainly going to get the attention of crosstown traffic at Sunset and San Vicente.

Motley Crue above the Whisky - 2010
DOWN AT THE WHISKY: Motley Crue overlooking Sunset, summer 2005.

The billboard is part of a new agreement between the Whisky and the city, which expects the digital billboard to bring in over $60 million in revenue over the next 30 years.

Whisky A Go-Go
Green Day and Riverdale cover the Whisky, fall 2017.

The best part is that the billboard is going to lead to a rock ‘n’ roll tribute on the Sunset Strip. The contract stipulates that the city will use nearly $350,000 to add a commemorative “Rock Walk” honoring the music legacy of the Sunset Strip.

MONSTER BASH

Slipknot drummer Jay Weinberg’s ‘A Hollow Realm’ Art Exhibit Opens in Silverlake for one night only, July 7.

Slipknot drummer Jay Weinberg is hosting his first solo art exhibit on July 7 in Silverlake. The multi talented musician will showcase his paintings in a one-time, in person show titled “A Hollow Realm.”

The rare showcase is described as “a fully-immersive virtual gallery experience created in collaboration with Optic Nerve.”

Fans are invited to attend the free event, which will take place from 6 p.m. through midnight at Rampart Studios Gallery, located at 2520 Sunset Boulevard in the heart of the Sunset Junction area of Silverlake.

To RSVP, head over to the “A Hollow Realm” website. See you fellow maggots at the show!

RAINBOW IN THE DARK

Sunset Strip rock landmarks Rainbow and Whisky set to pay tribute to metal legend Ronnie James Dio, July 7 and July 19.

The immortal Ronnie James Dio would have hit the big 8-0 on July 10, and to celebrate, the Rainbow Bar and Grill is celebrating with a rockin’ party dedicated to the late, great singer-songwriter, who once famously fronted a band named after this very restaurant.

On July 7, the Rainbow is hosting “Dio at the Rainbow in the Dark,” a record release celebration in honor of Rhino Records’ 40th anniversary remixed and remastered edition of Dio’s spectacular 1983 solo debut, Holy Diver. The classic rock masterpiece is being released on three formats: digital, vinyl, and as a two- and four-disc CD set.

Ubiquitous Sunset Strip headbanger and radio personality Eddie Trunk is emceeing the event, which is happening from 7-9 p.m. in the upstairs bar, where the evening is sure to be dominated by the glorious sounds of Dio’s timeless classics rockin’ the roof off of the Rainbow.

The Rainbow Bar and Grill is located at 9015 Sunset Boulevard. The “Dio at the Rainbow in the Dark” event is free.

One week after the Rainbow’s Dio celebration, the Whisky A Go-Go is hosting a night honoring the heavy metal legend on July 19, with the club’s biweekly Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood event set to crank out career-defining classics spanning Ronnie James Dio’s career, from Holy Diver to 2004’s Masters of the Moon as well as scorchers like “Man On the Silver Mountain,” “Gambler, Gambler,” and “Rock ‘n Roll Children” from his time in Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Elf, and Heaven and Hell.

The Whisky is located at 8901 Sunset Boulevard at Clark Street in West Hollywood. Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood’s Dio tribute will kick off at 10 p.m. and is free to those 21 and over, and $10 for those under.

SAY GOODBYE TO HOLLYWOOD

Tower Records Sunset is stripped from the world-famous boulevard, with only rockin’ memories left in it’s shadow.

Opened in 1971 and shuddering in 2006 when the company went bankrupt, Tower Records Sunset is unarguably the iconic brand’s most famous outlet.

Situated in the heart of the Sunset Strip’s Rock Row, mere steps from the Whisky A Go-Go, its exterior’s vibrant yellow and red color scheme and huge colorful album cover replicas added to the vibrancy of the world-famous boulevard.

The former record shop at 8801 Sunset Boulevard also hosted some of the most unique rock events, concerts, and record release parties for every superstar from Mariah Carey and Shakira to Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie

Plus, while browsing through the racks at Tower Sunset, it was not uncommon to see rock stars like Henry Rollins and Slash checking out the latest releases.

EX-RECORD STORE ROCKERS: Axl Rose (left) and Rivers Cuomo

Also, future rock superstars like Guns N’ RosesAxl Rose, Weezer‘s Rivers Cuomo, and Green Jelly frontman Bill Manspeaker worked behind the counter at Tower Records Sunset before they moved on to careers headlining arenas.

Once Tower Records Sunset closed its doors forever in 2006, the building was utilized for everything from a pop-up art gallery showcasing work by The Cult guitarist Billy Duffy to interactive walk-through mazes promoting shows like Roswell and the movie Captain Marvel.

Most recently, the Tower Records Sunset location was used as the setting for the Hulu movie Pam & Tommy.

The local landmark is a protected historic institution that somehow ended up completely losing its shell recently thanks to lax protections and a new directive by its new retail proprietors.

Earlier this week crews began dismantling the walls and famous storefront. Despite its historic value, the building was forever changed and is unrecognizable as the famous yellow and red square building that was an unforgettable part of the Sunset Strip cityscape since the early Seventies.

Popular clothing and sneaker shop Supreme is the space’s new proprietor. It’s kind of ironic that in order to showcase their mammoth sneaker shop, Supreme completely removed the sole, er soul of the Sunset Strip.

RISE UP, GATHER ‘ROUND

Def Leppard’s Diamond Star Halos shines on the Sunset Strip on eve of band’s invite-only Whisky show.

On the eve of their hotly-anticipated show at the Whisky A Go-Go on May 26, Def Leppard left their mark on the Sunset Strip earlier today to announce the release of their new album, Diamond Star Halos.

The British band is in town to perform an invite-only concert as a promotion for the new album, sponsored by streaming giant SiriusXM.

Continue reading RISE UP, GATHER ‘ROUND

‘ROCK ROW’ RETURNS TO FORM

Sunset Boulevard welcomes rockin’ resurgence thanks to Rainbow’s ‘Party in the Parking Lot’ and Whisky’s tireless championing of live rock n’ roll.

For almost two long, agonizing years, the world-famous Sunset Strip’s “Rock Row” seemed like a ghost town because of the pandemic and it’s stranglehold on the fears of the general public.

But once the mask debates subsided and the world got back to semi-normal, the sounds of authentic rock and roll began once again filling the Sunset Strip with a buzz that has kept the scene alive since then, courtesy of some of the coolest concerts to ever hit WeHo post-pandemic.

Cherie Currie delivering timeless classics by The Runaways at “Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood.”

The Whisky A Go-Go and Rainbow Bar and Grill should be commended for keeping the flame of rock n’ roll alive through some challenging times by hosting recent free shows at the Whisky, with Tuesday’s Jam Night, and at the Rainbow with April’s “Party in the Parking Lot” with Ratt‘s Stephen Pearcy, Steel Panther, and Hollywood legends Pretty Boy Floyd.

Continue reading ‘ROCK ROW’ RETURNS TO FORM

RHOADS WARRIORS

Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood’s Randy Rhoads tribute concert was a family affair at Whisky A Go-Go, with special guests Kelle and Kathy Rhoads making a guest appearance.

The Whisky’s long-running Tuesday night showcase Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood, which has hosted tribute nights dedicated to everyone from Metallica to Motley Crue, set it sites on the iconic music of Randy Rhoads on March 15.

The evening paid tribute to Rhoads’ influential guitar work as well as the songs he had co-written while a member of Ozzy Osbourne‘s band and Quiet Riot.

The show featured Ozzy’s greatest hits performed by amazing tribute performers and rockin’ guest artists covering two hours of the greatest heavy metal classics ever written.

Continue reading RHOADS WARRIORS

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.

SUNSET STRIP’S BEST ROCK SHOWS OF 2021

BulletBoys frontman Marq Torien rocked an acoustic show, Wolfgang Van Halen sold out the venue, and Dokken was back for the attack at Whisky A Go-Go throughout 2021, providing the Sunset Strip with some of last year’s best shows.

There was a good variety of decent rock shows to check out in 2021 that gave Angelenos something to take their minds off of the pandemic. And while legends like the Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, and Slipknot rocked Inglewood’s newly-opened SoFi Stadium last year, some of the best intimate shows were happening in WeHo, where rock superstars like Wolfgang Van Halen, Don Dokken, George Lynch, Vivian Campbell, Vinnie Appice, and BulletBoys’ Marq Torien kept the Sunset Strip shakin’ with memorable sold-out shows and timeless stories at the Whisky A Go-Go.

BulletBoys’ Reunion Show Unexpectedly Turned into an Unplugged Solo Set with Frontman Marq Torien Sounding as Smooth as Ever

The hotly-anticipated BulletBoys reunion show at the Whisky A Go-Go in December had been advertised for months. But at the last minute, plans unexpectedly changed on show night, explained frontman Mark Torien from the Whisky’s stage, where he delivered a scorching mostly-unplugged solo set. He didn’t explain why the reunion was cancelled, and instead he invited Whisky fave Ira Black to help out on timeless BulletBoys hits like “Smooth Up in Ya,” “Hell On My Heels,” and “Shoot the Preacher Down.”

Black’s scorching guitar contribution and Torien’s soulful metal pipes immediately had the crowd forgetting all about the reunion as they rocked along. Throughout the 90-minute show, Torien covered most of the best tracks on the L.A. band’s first two albums, BulletBoys and Freakshow. The Whisky crowd seemed won over by the impromptu solo show, especially when he got to the unplugged renditions of “Hard as a Rock” and the BulletBoys’ cover of The O’Jays’ “Money.”

Just as memorable as Torien’s set were the awesome stories he told between songs, about his glory days creating heavy metal history on the Sunset Strip, and getting props from David Lee Roth and Alex Van Halen when performing at WeHo’s Troubadour when he was 16.

Then again, hearing these first-person stories is what makes seeing a show at the Whisky so special. Throughout 2021, other Sunset Strip legends would also share fascinating personal anecdotes about their connection to the Whisky and the Sunset Strip.

Wolfgang Van Halen Marked a Milestone with Mammoth’s Historic Headlining Show at Whisky

When Wolfgang Van Halen’s band Mammoth headlined the Whisky shortly after their North American jaunt opening for Guns N’ Roses, the frontman looked around the room in awe from center stage and reminded the sold-out crowd, “So, this is where it all started…”

He seemed as in awe of the venue and its history as we were, and we all knew what “it” meant, of course. The Whisky’s stage is where his father and uncle’s iconic band launched a career that would make music history over and over again while inspiring countless young musicians whose first taste of world-class hard rock was hearing Van Halen’s self-titled 1978 debut.

Wolfgang seemed to know he had an important family history to uphold, and the former Van Halen bassist then spent the next hour and a half proving that he doesn’t necessarily need his Van Halen cohorts to effortlessly deliver a commanding, amp-shaking performance before a fist-pumping packed house at one of the world’s most iconic—and intimidating—rock n’ roll venues.

Continue reading SUNSET STRIP’S BEST ROCK SHOWS OF 2021

BACK FOR MORE

Gilby Clark covering the Rolling Stones at Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood.

Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood officially confirms it’s coming back to the Sunset Strip in August!

It has been a long couple of months trying to get used to some kind of balance of a normal life during this crazy corona situation that’s happening around the world. It’s been especially tough in Los Angeles County, where the mask mandate just seems to fluctuate with the wind.

However, I received some great news recently as I was walking down Sunset and passed the Whisky A Go-Go as it was hosting a surprise show by Yungblud.

I spotted Whisky’s owner and had to ask about the return of Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood, which is the greatest thing to happen to the world-famous club since The Doors was its house band. Mikael Maglieri confirmed that it was “definitely coming back, most likely in August.”

Eagles of Death Metal’s Jesse Hughes showed up to Jam Night on his motorcycle.

Then, a short time later, the official Instagram page of Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood confirmed that the night is coming back on August 24. Nothing could be more awesome than hearing that news, because that one single night is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen of the Whisky A Go-Go in my life, and I have seen plenty of shows there by the biggest artists on the planet going back as far as the awesome Eighties.

Continue reading BACK FOR MORE

HEAVY METAL HERO WORSHIP

Dio Portrait

Feuding bands Last in Line & Dio Disciples to rock Sunset in 2018.

Fans of the late, great Ronnie James Dio are getting two good reasons to hit the Sunset Strip in early 2018. The world-famous Whisky a Go-Go will be welcoming back to its stage Dio Disciples on Jan. 25 to start the year off right — and LOUD — with a night of RJD classics. Dio Disciples is comprised of musicians who worked with Dio later in his career, including drummer Simon Wright, who backed up Dio on 1990’s Lock Up the Wolves and RJD’s tenth and final studio album, 2004’s Master of the Moon.

Then, as “Hey Angel” and “Evil on Queen Street” are still echoing in your cabeza, the Whisky’s walls will be shakin’ again to the sounds of Last in Line, which headlines the Sunset Strip club two weeks later, on Feb. 16.

As far as authenticity goes, this Dio tribute band launched by guitar legend Vivian Campbell (pictured with Dio, right) carries a bit more cache and is comprised of members of RJD’s career-making early band, which also helped co-write tracks on the first three hits-packed Dio albums: 1983’s Holy Diver, 1984’s Last in Line, and 1985’s Sacred Heart.

Continue reading HEAVY METAL HERO WORSHIP

GUN CONTROL

Hollywood Roses

Hollywood Roses Revisits Guns N’ Roses at Whisky, Feb. 14

hollywood-roses-axl

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”!