Tag Archives: van halen

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

SONG REMAINS THE SAME

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BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE YOU ROCK & ROLLED? GET SET TO SHOUT AT THE DEVIL & DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY ONCE AGAIN! 

Not enough metal in your summer? Bummed about the closing of Rock Row landmark Hollywood SoundCheck? Disappointed by the lack of classic metal bands in the SSMF 2014 lineup? Don’t fret. A good mix of hard rockin’ fan bands is coming to a stage near you to save your end-of-summer partying.

Motley Inc.On September 12, a hard rocking trio of cover bands paying homage to three of the biggest rock groups in history–Van Halen, Bon Jovi and Motley Crue–will set their amps to 11 and rattle the roof of House of Blues Anaheim. Giving L.A. rock fans a good reason to make the commute over to The O.C. is Atomic Punks, the L.A. Music Awards-winning tribute band whose spot-on covers of early VH tracks has made fans out of metal aficionados like Bret Michaels and Howard Stern; Crue-worshipping rockers Motley Inc.; and Wanted, which will attempt to rock a million–or a couple hundred–faces with scorchin’ renditions of Bon Jovi’s runaway hits. Get tickets and additional details here.

Molly RingwaldsThe next night, on September 13, head over to House of Blues Sunset for a trip back to the awesome ’80s with Brit band The Molly Ringwalds. The costumed cover rockers’ roster of retro rock and pop classics generally includes tunes by Sunset Strip icons like Guns N’ Roses, The Go-Gos, Motley Crue and Poison. Timeless tracks by Eighties metal monsters like Twisted Sister and Whitesnake also often wind their way into The Molly Ringwalds’ set list. And considering that these cover rockers are from Sheffield, England, you can expect to hear some anthemic hits from the group’s hometown heroes, Def Leppard.

pyromaniaWanna get rocked? The Whisky A Go Go is the spot to head to on September 16, when fellow Def Leppard lovers Pyromania takes center stage as headliners of the return of AXS TV’s concert show The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands. Get more details and free tickets here.

Stroll the Sunset Strip east the following week and hit up House of Blues Sunset for a night of good times, rad times when Led Zeppelin 2 cranks up its amps on September 25. Winding down its national tour through America, the Chicago-based band sticks so close to Zeppelin’s repertoire that you can expect to get a contact high just by watching. It’s also why Metallica guitar legend Kirk Hammet has publicly declared, “These guys sound fucking exactly like Led Zeppelin!”

ATOMIC PUNKS

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FAN HALEN HITS UP THE MEAN STREETS OF THOUSAND OAKS

liveHard-rocking Van Halen tribute band Fan Halen drew a big, fun crowd to Thousand Oaks on August 13 for a scorching, free all-ages show in the Janss Mall courtyard. Faux Diamond Dave and his skillfully-costumed colleagues sent an appreciative crowd of rock fans of every age back in time to 1984 and earlier with two solid sets that celebrated all the timeless hits of the iconic Pasadena band’s pre-Sammy Hagar catalog.

fan-halen-1Fan Halen may not have VH’s famous Marshall stacks but they still managed to shake the foundation of Thousand Oaks with spot-on covers of killer rockers like “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love,” “Atomic Punk,” “Hot for Teacher,” “Jaime’s Cryin’,” and “Everybody Wants Some.” The band also bravely tackled Eddie Van Halen‘s signature soloing on “Eruption” and had much of the audience giving the two-fingered, devil’s horn metal salute in approval.

wpid-20140813_182059_1.jpgThe colorful crowd itself, with many fans proudly sporting VH tour jerseys, tatts and patches, helped create a vibe that made the two-hour event feel like a drift back to the awesome Eighties.

Check out the scene below.

Catch Fan Halen next at Pala Casino’s Infinity Showroom on August 23. The 21-and-over, 8 p.m. show is free!

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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.

CLASSIC METAL

BULLET BOYS, L.A. GUNS TO ROCK SUNSET

We were walking down Sunset this evening sulking from neglecting to get tickets to see metal gods Metallica play L.A. in May when we spotted the Whisky‘s marquee and two words made us feel better right away: Hollywood Roses, the best GN’R tribute band around will be rocking the Whisky ion February 9.

Then two more words smacked us upside the head: Bullet Boys – on February 15! That, naturally, was followed by another two words: Hell yeah!

The best of late ’80s/early ’90s metal is slicing its way right back to the Sunset Strip and to that we raise our Bic lighters high!

Fellow L.A. rock refugees James Hetfield and Metallica will also be playing L.A. soon, when the iconic band rightfully receives the Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award at rock mag Revolver‘s Golden Gods Awards Show at Downtown L.A.’s intimate-sized Club Nokia on May 2.

Also set to perform is Five Finger Death Punch, Dillinger Escape Plan and a bunch of other awesome bands. Tickets to this rockin’ once-in-a-lifetime event, unfortunately, are astronomical — plus, they’re general admission!

Catching Hollywood Roses and Bullet Boys at Whisky is definitely an awesome backup plan. Plus, with all the ca$h we’re saving by skipping the Golden Gods event, here’s all the other Sunset Strip shows we’ll be checkin’ out in the next couple of months:

Warner Drive @ Viper Room • Feb. 6 (and 13, 20 and March 1)

Fall Out Boy @ Roxy • Feb. 7

Lonely Drunks Club Band @ Viper Room • Feb. 8

Fan Halen (authentic down to the spandex Van Halen tribute band) @ Viper Room • Feb. 9

Buckcherry @ Viper Room • March 7-9

L.A. Guns @ Whisky • March 23  

Lizzie Borden @ Whisky • April 13 (Celebrating 30 years of metal!)

Dizzy Reed @ Hookers &a Blow @ Whisky • May 7, 14, 21 & 28

We’re also lookin’ forward to checking out Buckcherry’s support act Cherri Bomb again at Viper Room. OK, we admit we initially cast them off as a Runaways knock off awhile back…but that was when we were drunk and before catching them live and seeing the ladies rock the hell outta the Strip at last summer’s SSMF. Check out some rockin’ anthems below from the band’s that will keep alive the Sunset Strip’s enviable rep as the global anchor of authentic kick-ass rock and roll.

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Push Comes to Shove


TEEN TACKLES VAN HALEN TO HYPE ANTI-BULLYING CAMPAIGN

It’s always cool discovering new music on the Net. And we kinda dig this cover of Van Halen‘s “Right Now” by Washington, D.C. singer Becca Levy, whose rendition serves as an anthem for an anti-bullying campaign, Right Now, that she founded. The teen also recreates the classic Sammy Hagar-era VH video to support the cause.

Gotta hand it to a singer this young who not only recognizes great music but also has the chops to tackle the hard-rockin’ hit, which Hagar recently called “the best lyrics” he has ever written for a VH song.

Rock out to VH’s original 1992 MTV VMA Video of the Year below!

Van Halen – Right Now from Paulo Ferreira on Vimeo.

Is Van Halen Ready for Some Football?

DAVID LEE ROTH AND EDDIE VAN HALEN HINT AT  — BUT WON’T CONFIRM — SUPER BOWL XLVII GIG

If you read between the lines of a recent posting by David Lee Roth to a fan site and an interview with Eddie Van Halen in USA Today, it looks like Van Halen may be rocking the Super Bowl next year!

The iconic Pasadena band has been tied to recent rumors that the hard-rockin’ hit-makers are the NFL’s first choice to take the center stage spotlight in New Orleans next February as Super Bowl XLVII’s half-time show. The gossip is unconfirmed, but…Eddie revealed a cryptic clue in an interview with USA Today earlier this month.

“In the new year we’ll possibly do something special, but I can’t talk about it,” EVH said about his namesake band, which, following an unexpected hiatus after last month’s show in New Orleans, continues its A Different Kind of Truth tour in November in Japan.

Coincidentally, Roth addressed the Super Bowl rumors last week, posting an open letter to fans on the blog Van Halen News Desk, writing: “…First of all let me say this — be still my pigskin heart. That honor has not been bestowed upon us at this time though it is one we would accept in a NY minute.”

Diamond Dave’s choice of words are suspect. He mentions twice in the letter that an offer has not yet been made “at this time.” Considering that the NFL doesn’t generally announce its upcoming Super Bowl half-time act until much closer to the event, we’re thinking – and hoping – that the band is being coy until the contract is signed. Then, after, they get the go-ahead from Super Bowl publicists, Van Halen will confirm what will undoubtedly be the greatest show the Big Game ever hosted.

WLet’s just hope there’s no nip slip of any kind!

Here’s D-Ro’s full commentary:

An Open Letter

I’m compelled to address the now-rampant rumors that Van Halen is playing the Superbowl. First of all let me say this — be still my pigskin heart. That honor has not been bestowed upon us at this time though it is one we would accept in a NY minute.

Having heard VH blaring through stadium speakers on any given Sunday – more like every given Sunday, the idea of playing there live would be like – ‘okay, now we’re in the game’.

Van Halen’s collective memories are – and with all due respect to each and every one of these memories, teeming with been-theres and done-that’s, but none include playing at the Superbowl. Playing at the Superbowl is a veritable holy grail of musical recognition, a highly prized rite of passage for (game-changing) artists. Not a spiritual rite with snake pits or Hebrew school or anything, but it’s up there.

We are not on Commissioner Goodell’s dance card at this time, but we would be most honored to dance the halftime away in New Orleans.

It’s an honor to be considered and for that we would like to thank the rumormongers all over the World Wide Web.

– D-Ro

Slurpees, Ding-Dongs & Van Halen’s Demise

PUSH COMES TO SHOVE

Although it looks like an ordinary convenience store, this neighborhood 7-Eleven in West Hollywood is the spot that sparked the beginning of the end for the founding members of Van Halen.

In the early ’80s, David Lee Roth was already frustrated that bandmate Eddie Van Halen was pursuing outside guest artist projects when he stopped in his tracks outside this local 7-Eleven and had an epiphany of sorts; one with repercussions that would dissolve one of Southern California’s greatest and most influential rock bands.

Roth recalls that pivotal moment in his 1997 autobiography Crazy From the Heat: …I was in the parking lot on Santa Monica near Sweetzer, the 7-Eleven; there were a couple of butch Mexican gals with the doors open of their pickup truck, and the new Michael Jackson song “Beat It” came on. I heard the guitar solo and thought, now that sounds familiar. Somebody’s ripping off Ed Van Halen’s licks. It was Ed, turns out, and he had gone and done the project without discussing it with anybody, feeling as though I would stand in the way, which, actually, in that echelon of company, I wouldn’t have at all. Quincy Jones is stellar company. Great, go play it. If you’re going to do something, climb the big one. It was at that point I said maybe I’ll do something on the side as well.”