London and Los Angeles are the cities that come to mind in rock music. In London, the image of Led Zeppelin, who created the base of contemporary rock, was strong in the early 70’s, but the time is a bit old for me and, I am attached to Los Angeles.
Rock boom broke out in Los Angeles following the debut of “Van Halen” in the late ’70s. In the ’80s, many glam metal/hard rock bands such as “Motley Crew”, “Quiet Riot”, “Ratt”, “Great White”, “Dokken” etc. appeared in the rock music scene. These bands had started to play at rock clubs in Los Angeles and this was “Sunset Strip” where several rock clubs gathered.
“Guns & Roses”, who appeared in the scene in the late 1980s, were also bands from the Rock Clubs at Sunset Strip, and in the ’90s, gave up the role to grunge bands. It seems that epicenter moved to Seattle from Los Angeles, but personally, Los Angeles was still the center of rock music.
The famous Rock Clubs in Sunset Strip are “Whisky a Go Go” and “The Roxy“. Other than these two, there is “The Viper Room” and there was “Gazzarri’s” in the west side of “The Roxy”. I have been visited Sunset Strip since 1991, and glam metal boom was already about to be ended. Mainstream was already moved to “Grange”. I have walked around the Club in Sunset Strip, by checking the free paper “LA Weekly” that is difficult to see in the street now, then stepped into the Club, which Metal and/or Hard Rock is played.
The most memorial Club for me is “Gazzarri’s” that is in the far west in the Sunset Strip. I have stepped into “Gazzarri’s” in 1991. The band member at that time was long haired, make-up, lavished Gram-metal band, then audiences in front of the stage were only two girls with 80’s body-conscious costume. They were standing just in front of guitar player and swaying to the music.
I was sitting at the chair located at the back side of space, and looking at the stage, then base guitar player on the stage is looking at me and insisting, “I am here”, I have felt something empty from his expression and recognized that glam metal period is really ended.
Though glam metal boom was faded away and mainstream was moved to “Grange”, Sunset Strip was still spirited and many youngsters are walking around the street. In front of the temporary parking space along the street, men are standing and calling the passing car, the street was congested by car. I parked my car in a low-cost temporary parking lot, a little away and walked down the Sunset Street to Rock Club.
In Los Angeles, there are Clubs other than Sunset Strip. One of the iconic places for the “Grange” music Club, was “Anti-Club“. This Club was in Melrose avenue heading to downtown, and I was so excited for the band performance, it was so energetic and I became the high tension. As for others, I have a good impression for “Al’s Bar” located in the south part of downtown, and “FM Station” in the north Hollywood.
In Los Angeles, there are Clubs other than Sunset Strip. One of the iconic places for the “Grange” music Club, was “Anti-Club”. This Club was in Melrose avenue heading to downtown, and I was so excited for the band performance, it was so energetic and I became the high tension. As for others, I have a good impression for “Al’s Bar” located in the south part of downtown, and “FM Station” in the north Hollywood.
“Al’s Bar” is in downtown and I have felt its location dangerous and scary. I had a little nervous after selecting the parking space near the Club and walking to. When walking into the Club, its atmosphere is a running down and cool, when moving to the main performance room next to the area with bar counter and billiard table, it was totally different atmosphere in the Club at Sunset Strip. My feeling of devastation swinging to peak level. In addition, with occult atmosphere of the performer, I got a big impact on the Club like “my head is smashed”.
“FM station” located in the north Hollywood, interior was stylish. In front of the stage, there were round table and chair with high legs, I have sat down its chair and listening to the music with relaxed condition. During the time between the performances, video screen is going down from the ceiling, then some music video was played. It was very rare for me, such a video screening, this place must be the forerunner on this. In general, I felt a little snob at this Club, however, it was fun place.
“Troubadour” located in the southern part of Sunset Strip, along Santa Monica street, is a legend Club. This Club has a little big space, but I like the place on the 2nd floor, feeling like the gallery for freak show, and I recommend its place.
The famous “Whisky a Go Go” on the Sunset Strip, remains the same, but “The Roxy” on the Sunset Strip has changed a lot to me. Long time ago, there were tables in the space, and I could sit down wherever I like, cocktail waitress to come to the table to have an order. These tables have taken away when I have visited in the early 2000s. I have not visited “The Roxy” in my previous 10 years since Rock music is not played recently.
In contrast, “The Viper Room” had played Rock music a little. It was like the place where celebrity to come in ’90s, ’00s, however, it has been changed that many Rock music is playing recently. A building structure on this Club is interesting, Club is facing to the Sunset Boulevard, however entrance is not there. There is a liquor shop besides the building facing to the Sunset Boulevard, and its entrance is down to the street in the side of its liquor shop. Its entrance is like tunnel, heading to the reception located at the basement on this Club, then going up by stairs to main stage room located at ground floor.
By the way, main stage is facing to the wall on Sunset Boulevard, and therefore, you can hear the music by standing outside facing to the Sunset Boulevard. In addition, its place facing to the Sunset Boulevard is the place where “River Phoenix” has fallen in 1993. Many people were observed at this place, taking picture, painting graffiti on the wall, however its scene was not observed recently.
List of Rock Club in Los Angeles
■ Whisky a Go Go：West Hollywood, CA
■ The Roxy：West Hollywood, CA
■ The Viper Room：West Hollywood, CA
■ Gazzarri’s : West Hollywood, CA (Closed)
■ Troubadour: West Hollywood, CA
■ Anti Club : Los Angeles, CA (Closed)
■ Al’s Bar : Los Angeles, CA (Closed)
■ FM Station ; Los Angeles, CA (Closed)
(described on Dec 30 2018)
(latest update on Jan 11 2020)