Tales of Rock – The Rainbow Bar & Grill

I’ve got some interesting tales coming up in this series that occur here at the Rainbow, so I thought I’d supply you all with some background.

The Rainbow Bar and Grill is a bar and restaurant on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, CaliforniaUnited States, adjacent to the border of Beverly Hills, California. Its address is 9015 Sunset Boulevard.

The bottom level of the building is the restaurant, The Rainbow Bar and Grill. Upstairs is an exclusive club called “Over the Rainbow”, which consists of a full bar, a dance floor, and a DJ booth. The restaurant is next to The Roxy Theatre and The Key Club.

The restaurant was founded in early 1972 by Elmer ValentineLou AdlerMario Maglieri and others,[1][2] opening on April 16, 1972, with a party for Elton John.[3] At the time, the word “rainbow” signified peace and freedom. It quickly became known as a hangout for celebrities of all types.[4] John Belushi ate his last meal[5](lentil soup) at table No. 16[citation needed]. For many years, the owner was Mario Maglieri.[4]

Before becoming the Rainbow, the restaurant was the Villa Nova restaurant, which was originally owned by film director Vincente Minnelli, at the time married to Judy GarlandJoe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe met at the restaurant on a blind date in 1952.[6]

The Rainbow became known as a hangout for rock musicians and their groupies. Notable regulars at the Rainbow in this period include Keith MoonAlice CooperMicky DolenzHarry NilssonJohn LennonRingo Starr, and Neil Diamond.[5] Elvis Presley was known to have occasionally visited the Rainbow[citation needed]. The group of musicians calling themselves the Hollywood Vampires made the Rainbow their home away from home in the mid-1970s. In the last two decades of his life, Motörhead frontman Lemmy was a daily fixture at the Rainbow whenever the band was not on tour, and often played a video poker machine at the end of the bar table.[7]

Los Angeles songwriter Warren Zevon referenced the scene at the Rainbow in the last verse of his 1976 song “Poor Poor Pitiful Me“.

The musical group Rainbow was named after this club.[8]

The track “Rainbow Bar & Grill” from the Cheech & Chong album Let’s Make a New Dope Deal takes place in the bar and restaurant.

Producer Kim Fowley used to hang out at the Rainbow, especially in 1975, when he formed the all-girl group The Runaways. Actress and musician Cheryl Smithwas given her pseudonym Rainbeaux Smith early in her career as a result of her frequenting the Rainbow; she briefly replaced Sandy West as drummer of The Runaways at the end of that band’s existence.[citation needed]

As musical trends on the Strip changed towards heavy metal in the 1980s, the Rainbow followed suit. Members of Mötley Crüe,[9] Poison, and Guns N’ Roses frequented the bar.[10] It was mentioned in a number of songs, such as “Sunset and Babylon” by W.A.S.P., “Vampire” by L.A. Guns and “Peach Kelli Pop” by Redd Kross, and featured in the videos of “November Rain“, “Estranged” and “Don’t Cry” by Guns N’ Roses and also, although briefly, “Rock Out” by Motörhead.

Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers noted in his book Scar Tissue that he often sat with his father, Blackie Dammett, at the club along with various members of bands such as Led Zeppelin. Often the waitresses and bartenders were groupies as well as those who frequented the establishment. In Pamela Des Barres‘ book Let’s Spend the Night Together, the author commented that as a barfly in the early 1980s she met a number of celebrities including Billy Idol.[11]

In June of 2016, the Rainbow started having live music every Wednesday night from 10pm until closing. Various musicians would host the live jam every week. Local acts, as well as different well known musicians would show up to perform random classic rock cover songs every week. During this time, there were many jam band gatherings being established on Sunset Boulevard around the area. Viper Roomand The Whisky a Go Go also joined the Rainbow by allowing musicians to host jams on various week nights as well.

On January 18, 2017 the Rainbow was inducted into the Hall of Heavy Metal History (created by Pat Gesualdo and Joe Dell) for introducing the world to new Heavy Metal acts. [12]

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California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Frank – Lost Breakfast

Not me in this one but my roommate/band mate, Frank. He struck gold while suitably plastered up in West Hollywood.

He woke up the next day, in a strange apartment. Pleased with himself that he was not alone. Lying next to him was a beautiful babe from the night before. Frank, still suitably enamored, offered to cook her breakfast, tackling the short walk to the store for bacon and eggs by himself.

Alas, all was not well and after 2 hours of knocking on doors he realized he had totally forgotten where she lived.

He called me from a payphone on Sunset while he was walking to the store and told me that he couldn’t remember whether her name was either, ‘Emma’ or ‘Anna’. Then called me again in a panic some time later while looking for her house asking what two names he’d told me she might be called having forgotten both of those as well.

He returned home to me and our stinking apartment where he prepared breakfast for us both with a heavy heart and the bluest of balls.

It was delicious, but he never saw her again.

 

I love this story!

 

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California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Chapter 14 – Santa Monica, CA. – Kesslerville

We found a place in Santa Monica that was up at 23rd and Cloverfield.  There was a guy named Kessler that owned every house on this banged up old dead end street. All the houses were pretty run down so I guess you could call Kessler a Slum Lord.

Our rent back then was $40 a week. That’s cheap as hell even by 1982 prices for apartments.

It was perfect. We lived in a small one bedroom apartment on the second floor. (Over the garage) Kessler was a fat slob that had a shitty van with a dashboard clogged with trash and snakc wrappers.

His house was next door to us where he lived with his wife, and his hot blonde daughter who looked and dressed like Ellie May from the Beverly Hillbillies. (Yea…I wanted her)  He also had a son that seemed like a half-wit that lived in a trailer out back. If you looked out our bedroom window you could see the entrance and roof of the trailer. (Did this inbred have to live in the trailer o he wouldn’t diddle his sister?)

Across the hallway from us lived this old guy named Mike Lamia. He was in his forties and smoked tons of weed and delivered pizza’s for a living. He was divorced and had a couple of kids somewhere. We assumed they lived with their mom. He also said he owned a piece of land out in the desert. It sounded like he got ripped off or it didn’t exist because he said he could see his land, but couldn’t get to it. So it was either on the side of a cliff or all in his drug addled mind.

He would get high all day long and watch his little black and white TV and play the bongos. When he found out we were musicians he was always pitching us songs and we were like, yea that’s great but, fuck no.

The best thing we liked about Mike was he would always share his weed with us. The other thing we liked about Mike was the fact that he ALWAYS had pizza in his fridge. He never cared if we came into his house and grabbed some slices, heated them up and ate them. His door was always open and so was ours. It was kind of cool living next door to a burned out old hippie that had endless supplies of pizza and weed.

Frank and I both worked at restaurants so we always got fed there everyday and there was always pizza so we never went grocery shopping. It was a good setup for a couple of young musicians.

Our apartment was over a garage and Kessler let us jam down there as long as we didn’t play too loud or too late.  Liam and John would be joining us in a month and we’d have a whole band and hopefully start getting gigs. Sometimes Kessler’s daughter Patty and her friends would stop by and hang out when we were practicing. She seemed like the sweet normal one in the family. She wasn’t around much so I assumed she went to college somewhere.

The only drawback to the apartment was the roaches.

They weren’t rampant but they were small brown ones and were present. Frank and I slept in the same room on just box springs and mattresses. Frank’s bed was against the wall near the window that looked over the trailer, and mine was on the other wall by the window that was broken. There was a cardboard banner advertising a circus instead of a window pane. I didn’t give a shit because it was always warm in California.

I remember hanging some shirts up in the closet (no door) Frank and I shared. Written on the wall were the words: “Sadder… Budweiser.” I thought that was a clever statement about alcohol and regret, so I never forgot it.

There was this other couple that lived down the hall from us. They seemed nice and normal. Too normal for this neighborhood of misfits. But one night we were all partying and the doors were all open.  Frank and I are drinking these 16 oz beers called 102. Apparently it took 102 tries to get the formula for the beer right. I’m thinking, what a bunch of fuck ups theses brewers are. But… it was $3 for a six pack! We drank oceans of that shit on our limited budget.

The folks who seemed quiet and normal are fucked up out of their minds. They’re laughing and acting crazy. Even Mike thinks they’re gacked to the nines. I ask the dude what he took and he shows me a bag of mushrooms.

“Want some?”

“No thanks. We’re good.”

He points to a light switch on the wall that for some reason someone drew a turnip in marker around it. He goes: “What’s that?”

“It’s a light switch with a turnip drawn around it.”

“No it’s not! That’s my wife.”

“Your wife is right over there.”

(Points to the light switch) “Then it’s my wife’s vagina!”

“Okay….”

(Flicks the light switch to the ON position) “And now she’s turned on! Get it? HA HA HA HA!”

“Yea, dude. Whatever.”

For the first time in my life I realize that all drugs are different. You don’t just get high. Every drug makes you feel a different way and think a different way.

Mushrooms made my neighbor nuts. Weed makes Mike introspective. Booze just makes Frank and I arrogant, giggling idiots.

Mike cruises over and he is high as fuck. “Hey guys, what if the color blue isn’t the same to me as it is to you?”

Frank: (Drunk as usual) “Check the crayon box, asshole.” (Bursts out laughing)

I love him.

So we liked where we were crashing. We’d come home drunk. Get high and go to bed listening to Steve Miller’s, Abracadabra album on my boom box.

When you’re drunk and high you don’t care how many roaches are in the room in the dark.

I remember lying on that bed and thinking about my be d at home and how different my life was now.

I was happy to be away from the prison of Wildwood and my father’s idea of what our family’s life should be. Poverty was actually really nice to be with my best mate, Frank.

We’ll get there and have a great time doing it. This is only week two here in L.A.!

We need to earn some money and go out and check out the music scene in this town!

 

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Tales of Rock – The Theory of the 13-year Rock vs. Pop cycle – 2002– 2016 – Part 5

Cycle 5

Our 12/13-year pattern holds more-or-less true, although here it begins to deviate (+/- 2 years) just a little bit.

Although Napster joined the music ecosystem in June 1999, file-sharing didn’t really begin to have its devastating effect on the record industry until 2002 when CD sales began to fall dramatically — which, according to our 12/13 Year Theory, should have been when we see a collapse of pop and the beginning of another rock resurrection.

And indeed we did. By the spring of 2002 (12 years after the Depeche Mode riot, 26 years after the breakout of punk, 38 years after the Beatles’ landing in America and 51 years after “Rocket 88”), the Backstreet Boys/’N Sync phenomenon had grown so big that the backlash against them was catastrophic. Happy, optimistic, danceable pop seemed inappropriate in a post-9/11 era. Rock began to once again reassert itself.

This time, though, the rock we got had more in common with the environment that produced “Rocket 88” in 1951. This music bubble, largely unfiltered from the streets, channeled through independent record companies rather than major labels. While some of these bands had been around for a while — both the White Stripes and the Strokes had been formed in 1999 — it took a few years before enough people began to notice what they were on about.

Indie rock was the kindling for Cycle 5 through 2002–2004. By 2005, rock’s dominance in public consciousness was greater than it had been since any time since 1992.

Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand, and the Killers came out of nowhere. Damon Albarn reinvented himself under the guise of Gorillaz. Linkin Park shook off any early associations with nu-metal and went on to sell tens of millions of records.

Audioslave was the perfect DNA splicing of Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine. U2, Nine Inch Nails, the Foo Fighters, the Beastie Boys, the Chili Peppers, Green Day and the Offspring all returned with hit records. Coachella exploded in California and Glastonbury became more important than ever. Even Lollapalooza came back.

But The Cycle continued. After peaking in the July of 2005 (when it seemed that every single rock band that mattered had a hit record out at the same time), rock once again slowly slipped in strength, losing ground to pop. The era of Bieber and Susan Boyle was ushered in to end off the first decade of the 21st century.

Rock fans — people who loved their music loud and aggressive — spent most of the Obama administration wondering what happened. The music softened and everything — including rock — got more poppy. Plaintive singer-songwriters with woe-is-me lyrics were everywhere. Hits came from artists with acoustic guitars, banjos, and even ukuleles. Meanwhile, on the pop side of the equation, boy bands seemed to be coming back.

But then, an unlikely savior. By mid-2016, it was apparent that Donald Trump had a serious shot at becoming the next president of the U.S. With an ultra-polarizing figure capturing the attention of the world, people opposed to his agenda, style, and politics began to make and seek out music that expressed their anger, fear, confusion and opposition. Within months, the vibe changed. A nation under Trump seemed to be better served by a nation under rock.

This brings me to another factor in The Cycle. Going back to the 1950s, booms in angry music seem to follow the election of a Republican into the White House.

Think about it. The folk movement gained traction under Eisenhower. Some of the best music of the 1960s was made during the Nixon administration. Punk came from the fall of Nixon and the ineffectual era of Gerald Ford. Hardcore punk and rap came along during the Reagan eras. Under George H. W. Bush, the world fell under the thrall and the music of the Lollapalooza generation. When we got to George W. Bush and the post-9/11 era, indie rock exploded and the music toughened up again.

Let’s look at it from the other direction. When a Democrat is in the White House, pop tends to rule. The early 1960s — Kennedy’s era — was dominated by soft sounds. During Jimmy Carter’s administration, punk turned poppy, resulting in a slew of New Wave bands who battled for attention as disco swept the world. Skip ahead to the 1990s, when the latter part of Bill Clinton’s time as president was dominated by the Spice Girls and a new generation of boy bands. And with the eight years of Obama, it was all pop, all the time.

We might be stretching things a little, but it appears that The Cycle is holding, albeit rock arrived a little late this time. By all rights, this resurrection should have begun in February or March 2014. But why the delay?

Technology has greatly disrupted how we access music. For the pattern to hold on both sides of the pop/rock equation, a great deal of consensus about what constitutes “good” (or at least popular) music is required. With everyone able to access whatever music they want, whenever they want it, consensus amongst music fans is extremely hard to come by.

Another thing to consider: the pop-rock battle has been joined by a third player. Hip-hop has grown to become the driving musical force in culture, relegating rock to second place in many countries, including the U.S., the biggest music market in the world. Pop has absorbed much hip-hop influence, giving it new strength in its struggle against rock. Could this disrupt things? Very possibly.

Or maybe there’s some greater power at work here, something unalterably eternal like the precession of the poles. The Cycle bears watching. Here, in the early months of 2018, we have indeed swung back to the rock side of the ledger, with rock growing louder and more angry. It should stay that way until at least 2020 — which, as it turns out, happens to be the next time Americans elect a president.

 

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Tales of Rock – The Theory of the 13-year Rock vs. Pop cycle – 1990 to 2002 – Part 4

Cycle 4

The first indication of rock’s next rebirth came on March 20, 1990, when there was a riot at a Depeche Mode autograph session in Los Angeles. No one expected that many people to show up to see a band that had been a solid cult act at best for most of their career.

That riot came 13 years and 10 days after the Sex Pistols’ infamous Buckingham Palace stunt, 26 years and one month after the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan and 39 years after “Rocket 88” came out.

The Depeche Mode Riot was the start of the era of the Alternative Nation of the 90s. The next six years were once again incredibly fertile: Manchester, grunge, industrial, Goth, Lollapalooza, Britpop, hip-hop. Rock’n’roll was resurrected, this time in the image of Generation X.

The peak came shortly before Kurt Cobain’s suicide in April 1994. But then things quickly went off the rails. Metallica hijacked Lollapalooza in 1996. The Smashing Pumpkins melted down in a haze of drugs and death. Nu-metal’s polarizing sound tore the scene in half. And then came grunge derivatives like Creed to put the final nails in the coffin.

Meanwhile, a period of solid economic growth and the seeming end of the Cold War led to a rise in public optimism. Meanwhile, Generation Y began to come of age musically and all they wanted to do was dance to the Spice Girls, ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. Rock limped through the rest of the 20th century.

Again, there were exceptions — the Red Hot Chili Peppers and U2 come to mind — but the era 1999–2002 was all about boy bands and pop tarts.

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Tales of Rock – The Theory of the 13-year Rock vs. Pop cycle – 1964 to 1975 – Part 2

Cycle 2

The second cycle began with the appearance of the Beatles. Even though they were originally rejected by Decca Records (“Guitar bands are on their way out! They have no future in show business!”) the Beatles eventually landed with EMI and — well, you know the rest.

They arrived just as the earliest of the Baby Boomers began entering their teens. These kids had their portable turntables and transistor radios, devices that allowed them to take their music away from the prying ears of parents. And psychologically, rock provided an escape from the funk that had fallen across the West following the JFK assassination in November 1963.

The Beatles had a fresh sound, were quick with a quip and were made up of four distinct characters with whom fans could identify. (Interestingly, you can make the case that the Beatles were the first boy band. What’s the difference between the reaction of Bieberites and what we saw with Beatlemania?)

Cycle 2 really kicked into gear with that Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964, about three weeks shy of the 13th anniversary of the release of “Rocket 88.”

The Ed Sullivan Show First Appearance of The Beatles in video on Jukebox[4]from Zip Code on Vimeo.

To say that the Beatles rescued rock is an understatement. The years that followed their landing on American shores was one of the most vibrant times in music, a veritable gusher of guitar-based creativity that lasted for the rest of the decade. If you have to pick a moment when it peaked, I’d go with the Woodstock Festival in August 1969. But then came Altamont later that year with its bad vibes, corruption, and death. Almost overnight, the life drained away from the rock scene.

Creatively spent and disillusioned by the failure of the peace’n’love movement — not to mention America’s ass-kicking in Vietnam, Watergate, the oil crisis, the Cold War and a brutal recession — the mainstream turned away from rock toward pop music.

The Baby Boomers, who had driven rock through the 1960s, grew up and moved on. Instead of driving rock further forward, they settled into a period of nostalgia for the good ol’ days of the 1950s and the early 1960s. This was manifested in the rise of bands like Sha Na Na, movies like American Graffitiand TV shows like Happy Days. Even Elton John, a star in his prime, couldn’t help but get all misty-eyed for the old days.

Meanwhile, the aging hippy generation had a very hard time believing that the generation following them could be sucked in by simplistic pop made by the Bay City Rollers, Bobby Sherman and the Partridge Family. Of course, the Stones and Zeppelin were at their peak, but they were the exception. And we need to remember that critics absolutely loathed Zeppelin back then.

AM radio was at its absolute worst. Can you believe a song like this could be a #1 hit?

 

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Tales of Rock – I Wouldn’t Want This For My Daughter or Anybody’s Daughter: Will #MeToo Kill Off the Rock’n’Roll Groupie? – Part 2

Lori Mattix (sometimes known as Maddox) says she was just 14 when she lost her virginity to David Bowie. Her next lover was Jimmy Page. Now 59, she says she never thought of herself as a groupie, but tells me that the affair with Page was “the most beautiful pure love I thought I could ever feel. I’d only had sex once before in my whole life. I felt like I’d won the lottery.” She juxtaposes it with other experiences “where men have harassed me … it’s a different thing when you allow someone to be with you”.

Keith Moon, drummer with the Who, pictured in 1974 with girlfriend Annette Walter-Lax, left, and Lori Mattix.
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Keith Moon, drummer with the Who, in 1974, with girlfriend Annette Walter-Lax, left, and Lori Mattix. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Mattix was under the age of consent, she says, when Page pursued her. Post-#MeToo, does she see the situation differently? “I think that’s what made me start seeing it from a different perspective because I did read a few [articles], and I thought: ‘Shit, maybe,’” she says. As for whether Page was in the wrong: “That’s an interesting question. I never thought there was anything wrong with it, but maybe there was. I used to get letters telling me he was a padophile, but I’d never think of him like that. He never abused me, ever.” Still, Mattix sounds conflicted – rapturous reminiscences (“honestly, I had a great time”) are followed by cautionary notes. “I don’t think underage girls should sleep with guys,” she says. “I wouldn’t want this for anybody’s daughter. My perspective is changing as I get older and more cynical.”

Shirazi thinks that “the model of rock’n’roll is about being as debauched as possible, and that is the model younger bands look up to”. But that’s up for debate in an era when fans are questioning the idea of rock as a heteronormative man’s game. Alleged incidents that might have passed as “rock star behavior” in the past have left some fans feeling uncomfortable and disappointed.

Rochelle (not her real name) was 17 when she was allegedly propositioned by the frontman of a then up-and-coming rock band, whom she met at an acoustic warm-up show in 2012. “I introduced myself and said I was looking for [a place on the] guest list for the main event in the evening, as it had sold out and I was broke,” she says. “The frontman looked me up and down – a developed young woman, wearing shorts and tights from what I can remember – and, with a seedy look, said: ‘It’ll cost you.’ I knew exactly what he meant when he was biting his lip.”

Some would call his behavior typical of a young man emboldened by his growing fame, but Rochelle, now 23, feels uncomfortable. “To know I was 17 – over the age of consent, but still a child really – and not interested, and keep trying it. I’m disgusted,” she says. “I know it’s more harassment than sexual assault, but I worry that he may have done it to someone else.”

A 23-year-old woman told the Guardian that the lead singer of an up-and-coming rock band used his phone to take photos of naked selfies on her own phone screen without her consent in 2014. The band were staying at her house after a show. “I didn’t really know what to do; my dad had already gone up to bed and I was the only one in the room with my favourite band. Teenage, naive me did not know how to handle that situation at all.” She made her allegations public after she heard a few years later that another member of the band had left after allegedly sending unsolicited explicit images to another woman. The woman we talked to reported the singer to police in October last year, but the case was not pursued due to a lack of evidence. The band’s success has continued.

There are, however, those who still embrace the groupie lifestyle. Becky, 24, describes herself as a groupie of the spoof hair-metal band Steel Panther. Although she has exchanged direct messages with band members, she hasn’t had any sexual encounters with them.

“If you’re a single rock star and there’s a fan throwing themselves at you and you fancy them, why wouldn’t you take it?” she says. “I’ve had my bra signed by them: I’ve stood there with my boobs out. If they were to jokingly give them a squeeze and then I tried to sue them for harassment, they’d be in trouble, but it would be my fault.”

I approached three record label employees in an attempt to ascertain whether a contract tends to include specific policies about sexual misconduct by musicians. “Not to my knowledge; it’s really [about] business terms,” says Gary Lancaster, label manager at First Access Entertainment and also a former employee of Warner and Eleven Seven Music. “That’s not to say there isn’t some form of gross misconduct clause. I suspect there would be something to say that in the event of irreparable damage to the relationship – and should both parties agree – it can be ripped up.” The other two people I talk to confirm there is usually a clause stating that an artist can be dropped at any time, but they had not seen anything relating specifically to sexual issues. The Musicians’ Union has an email address that anyone with concerns about sexual misconduct in the industry – be it harassment, sexism or specific instances of assault – can use.

Hill is in two minds about whether top-down policies in the industry would lead to change. “If it’s done in the wrong way, it could definitely get people’s backs up,” she says. “Even if bands start out with good morals, the idea of being a rock star is rooted in these deeply problematic ideas of masculinity. If older, well-respected people in the industry started talking to younger bands about changing those attitudes, that would be really valuable.”

The most notorious rock stars may have made their admissions before the conversation around consent began, but the younger fan demographic is unlikely to see such antics as excusable. Where fans might once have lapped up tales of debauchery, they now want something different from their idols: an awareness of social issues, respect for their fans and an attitude that condemns, rather than continues, the hair-raising exploits of rock’s bygone days. “When I meet fans now, the conversation isn’t: ‘I really love your band,’” one musician told me recently. “It’s: ‘Please don’t do anything wrong.’”

 

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