The Whisky A Go Go, The Roxy, The Viper Room, Rainbow Bar & Grill and The House Of Blues are all staples in the West Hollywood Sunset Strip music scene and hold a place in every rock lover’s heart. Nearly every famous rock band has played at least one, if not every club, on the iconic Strip. The Doors, Motley Crue, Aerosmith, Poison, Guns N Roses and more practically lived on the streets of West Hollywood promoting their bands when they weren’t performing there.
The biggest rock band to ever grace the stage (Led Zeppelin anyone?) called the Sunset Strip their American home as their first U.S. tour brought them to the World Famous Whisky A Go Go as they became known worldwide superstars. They even rented entire hotels in the area for their entourage that they trashed and were eventually kicked out of (The Hyatt House, aka The Riot House) as their offstage antics increased with fame.
As the West Hollywood music scene has seen a dramatic decline in recent years, it’s being further hindered by the rapid and record breaking growth of commercial development in the area. While many of the music venues have come and gone over the years, including Gazarri’s (now known as the defunct Key Club) and The Cat Club, Bloomberg reports that the House Of Blues Sunset Strip is next as it’s set to be demolished at the end of 2015 to make room for a luxury hotel and condominium complex, featuring 49 hotel rooms, 40 condos, five rental units and an entertainment venue. The complex is one of many that investors AECOM Capital, CIM Group and Schrager are planning to build along the 1.6 mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.
Ashton Spatz, a representative for Live Nation, confirms to The Los Angeles Times that the company is looking for a new Los Angeles home.
“Regarding the story, our legendary House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard – the flagship for 20 years of our popular venues around the country – will operate business as usual while we look for a new home,” Spatz said in a statement. “We have a terrific relationship with our landlord who has other plans to develop the property and we’re working together on a very smooth transition. We have two-plus years to find that perfect spot for a new Los Angeles House of Blues home with no interruption for music fans. Stay tuned. The best is yet to come!”
While the Sunset Strip draws tourism from around the world for its rich music history, John Keho, Assistant Director at West Hollywood’s Community Development Department, states the new development will help the area grow more rapidly across the board.
“The clubs have gone up and down in interest, and with it the interest in the Strip,” Keho claims. “The Strip has always been an entertainment area. Today, all the new hotels will help attract a higher-profile entertainment crowd and people from around the world. And that in turn will spawn more destination venues like restaurants and bars.”
The House of Blues Sunset Strip may not have been around during the Strip’s heyday, as it didn’t open until 1994, but it has become one of West Hollywood’s premiere entertainment destinations with a who’s who of performers gracing the stage for the last 20 years.
Guns N Roses, Linkin Park, Prince, Ozzy Osbourne, Snoop Dogg, Aretha Franklin, Billy Idol, Britney Spears, Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Metallica, Stone Temple Pilots, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Foo Fighters, Eminem, Alice Cooper, Tupac Shakur, Sublime, Eric Clapton, Aerosmith (who were tapped to play the location’s grand opening) and many many more have performed on the West Hollywood main stage. Upcoming performers include Rick Springfield, Better Than Ezra, Kirk Franklin and the popular Pink Floyd tribute band, Which One’s Pink?
Despite the commercial growth and the Strip’s musical struggles over the past several years, hundreds of thousands of music fans are expected to attend the 7th Annual Sunset Strip Music Festival (SSMF) September 20th and 21st on the streets of West Hollywood in front of the Whisky A Go Go, The Viper Room and Roxy, which will also be hosting concerts during the two day festival.
Legendary alternative rock band Jane’s Addiction has been named the 2014 SSMF honoree kicking off the two-day music festival on Friday, September 19th when they will will be honored with the “Elmer Valentine Award,” which celebrates the music and icons that have made an impact on the legacy of The Strip. Then, the original members, Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, and Stephen Perkins, will headline the first day of the event on Saturday, September 20th, and celebrate the 25th anniversary of their ground-breaking album, Nothing’s Shocking, by performing it in its entirety alongside some of their biggest hits.
“It all started for me back when my big brother used to tell me about The Strip, and about the amazing scene where artists like Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison blew people’s minds by pioneering a new sound and influencing culture in a more exciting way than ever before. Complete with massive crowds from all over the world streaming through the streets and flocking to The Strip just trying to be part of it all,” said Perry Farrell, Jane’s Addiction frontman.
“So when it came time for Jane’s to record our first album we told Warner Brothers that before we could even release a studio record we had to make a live record on The Strip, and we even recorded it at The Roxy, because we knew that it had to embody that inspiration that came from the heart of that scene. We are very proud to come from this heritage and are truly honored by the Valentine Award.”
The Music Universe’s Rob Perez says, “The Sunset Strip is probably the one thing that doesn’t rival anything New York has. It’s in a class all it’s own.”
Fans wanting to preserve the Strip’s legacy can join the Save Sunset Boulevard campaign. While not necessarily a music-oriented group, the non profit ensures responsible development along Sunset Boulevard by raising awareness of the impacts of large developments on nearby communities. This could help ensure that The Sunset Strip remains the musical hub of Los Angeles.
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.