digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:

Agriculture

Applied sciences

Arts

Belief

Business

Chronology

Culture

Education

Environment

Geography

Health

History

Humanities

Language

Law

Life

Mathematics

Nature

People

Politics

Science

Society

Technology

Gazzarri's
Location 9039 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
Type Nightclub
Genre(s) Rock and roll
Opened February 21, 1967
Closed 1993
Demolished 1995
Owner Bill Gazzarri
Seating type Standing room only downstairs upstairs balcony seating

Gazzarri's was a nightclub on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California, United States. It is most notable as the location where The Doors and Van Halen were featured house bands for long stretches before being discovered. It was also the LA club featured in Huey Lewis and the News MTV video for their hit "The Heart of Rock and Roll."

History[edit]

The club reached its peak of popularity in the late 1960s, featuring Jim Morrison's young new group, along with other LA talent such as The Bobby Fuller Four, Buffalo Springfield, and The Walker Brothers. It then achieved major LA relevance again in the late 70's, featuring the David Lee Roth-led Van Halen nightly for months on end, and then into 1980s as one of the top LA glam metal nightclubs. It was owned and operated by the "Godfather of Rock and Roll", Bill Gazzarri. Gazzarri himself was known for dressing up as a Chicago-style gangster and frequenting the club on performance nights. Located near the corner of Doheny and Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, and just several dozen yards from both the Rainbow Bar and Grill and The Roxy Theatre, Gazzarri's became famous as a launching pad for future rock and roll stars.

Along with The Roxy Theatre, The Whisky a Go Go, The Troubadour, The Starwood, and other nearby nightclubs, it was a staple of the Los Angeles music scene in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Some other bands that played at Gazzarri's either prior to or during their mainstream success include Johnny Rivers, The Go-Go's, Tina Turner, Southgang, Sonny and Cher, Ratt, Cinderella, Chicano rock band Renegade, punk band X, Victor Flamingo, Quiet Riot, Stryper, Mötley Crüe, Poison, Guns N' Roses, Warrant, Faster Pussycat, and Canadian rockers Hollywood Trash. Other notable local Los Angeles area bands to play there included Redd Kross, Brunette, Shark Island, Page 3, Taz, Tuff, Foxx, Storyteller, Reinkus Tide, D'Molls, Cold Shot, LEGACY,TRAMP and Pretty Boy Floyd, and bands that never made it like Odin, managed by Bill Gazzari himself, and featured in Decline of Western Civilization Part 2, bands such as Salute, Shocktop, and Broken Cherry. Many giant hand-painted pictures of these bands adorned the side of the club's outside wall for many years.

The 90 yard stretch of sidewalk on Sunset Boulevard that runs from the front steps of Gazzarri's (now The Key Club, 9039 West Sunset Blvd), to the parking lot between the Rainbow Bar and Grill (9015 West Sunset Blvd) and The Roxy Theatre (9009 West Sunset Blvd), was the national center of the 1980s glam metal movement that spawned dozens of MTV bands and radio hits. Aspiring bands and musicians from around the world, coming to Los Angeles to make it big, eventually found themselves on this small stretch of sidewalk passing out their flyers, watching the competition in the clubs, or enjoying the scene packed with thousands of other musicians, famous rock stars, porn stars, groupies, and Los Angeles teenagers.

The nightclub also "moonlighted" variously over the years a stage-dance venue, and Gazzarri's would often combine the strip-club-like dancing of attractive, young girls in between live band performances. The "Miss Gazzarri's Dancers" over the years included future Playboy Playmate and Hugh Hefner girlfriend Barbi Benton, and future television star Catherine "Daisy Duke" Bach. The club became a favorite hangout for teen dancers who loved live music, which was not lost on the neighboring television studios. Gazzarri's was acknowledged by TV executives as the real-life inspiration for music-based TV shows such as Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, The Monkees, and The Partridge Family.

Pay to play[edit]

The club was part of the controversial Los Angeles "Pay-to-Play" concept in the 80's, along with the other major Hollywood nightclubs that showcased bands with original songs. The philosophy then among club owners was that, since many acts that played their clubs went onto fame and fortune, and the world's most powerful record companies were literally right across the street, the bands would be willing to pay money to the club just to play there.

For the most part, Pay-to-Play was a successful 80's ruse for the clubs, including Gazzarri's. Up to four bands per night would each "buy" 100-200 tickets from the club at $5 or so, handing over in advance hundreds of dollars to the owner for a *single 45 minute slot on the "famous stage". If the band was able to unload the tickets (at any price they could get from fans, girlfriends, parents, etc.) then that was their pay for the evening. However, if the band couldn't get 20 or 30 people to show up after such an investment, they quickly learned "Hollywood Rock and Roll 101" - that the music business was as much (or more) about drawing people and making money as it was about good music. Soon, many bands were spending as much time promoting, handing out flyers, advertising in local magazines, and building mailing lists as they were on songwriting, practicing, and actually gigging live. Young, hungry bands such as Poison, Mötley Crüe, Van Halen and Guns N' Roses became early masters of self-promotion as a result, developing street-smart business skills that would serve them even as world-renowned superstars. Axl Rose stated several times in interviews that the "L.A. scene was so competitive, if half the bands in the Top 40 right now had tried to get their big break in L.A. instead of somewhere else, they never would have made it."

  • It might be noted that during the early stages of the "Pay to Play" time period (early to mid 80's), bands were playing three sets a night at Gazzarri's.

After[edit]

Bill Gazzarri died in 1991 and the club closed down in 1993. In 1994, the building suffered irreparable damage from the Northridge earthquake. It was torn down in 1995 and a new club called Billboard Live was built on the former Gazzarri's site. It opened in 1996. Billboard Live became The Key Club in 1998.

References[edit]

  • "Slash: It Seems Excessive...Doesn't Mean It Didn't Happen"; Slash with Anthony Bozza, 2008 Harper Entertainment Publishing
  • "Crazy From The Heat"; David Lee Roth, copyright 1986 Hyperion Books, New York, New York
  • The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years; film includes an interview with club owner Bill Gazzarri.

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gazzarri's — Please support Wikipedia.
A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
4087 videos foundNext > 

The opening of Gazzarri's on Sunset Strip. "HOLLYWOOD BACKSTAGE"

Warrant - Live at Gazzari's '87 [Full Concert]

00:00 Bill Gazzarri Intro 01:51 Cold Sweat 05:13 Down Boys 08:35 Let It Rain 12:20 Sad Teresa 15:14 Jimmy 19:50 All Night Long 24:02 Heaven 28:25 Bang Bang 3...

King of Gazzarri's - Van Halen story

This video was exclusive to the Van Halen News Desk and I just want it to be seen by a wider audience. All rights to Van Halen and the Van Halen News Desk. J...

THE " GODFATHER of ROCK " BILL GAZZARRI'S 65TH BASH

THE " GODFATHER of ROCK "...BILL GAZZARRI CELEBRATES!!! ALL OUT!!! .....BILL GAZZARRI'S 65TH BASH: with SAM KINISON; ART LABOE; EDWARD J. OLMOS; D.R. STARR; ...

Gazzarri Dancers A Go-Go!

Sorry about the annoying lettering but I thought the fans needed to see this piece of rare video: The lovely dancers in the spotlight! Enjoy! see the HD vers...

Rogue Gazzarri's 1987

Live show at Gazzarri's 1987.

Hazzard@Gazzarri's- Oh Marrie !

Oh Marrie has a Bitchin bridge into the solo, a gotta see. The music is 90% there, and the only part of the video that I cared about was my downbeat near the...

Mach 1 "New Day Dawning" Live at Gazzarri's, May 24th 1990

A rare "live" video of the 1980's L.A. metal giants Mach 1 performing "New Day Dawning" live during a sold-out performance at the legendary "Gazzarri's" on t...

LET'S PLAY DOCTOR : D.R. STARR BAND LIVE AT BILL GAZZARRI'S 0n the SUNSET STRIP 9-26-87

LET'S PLAY DOCTOR: D.R. STARR BAND LIVE: 9-26-87; at BILL GAZZARRI'S" night club, on the SUNSET STRIP... DR STARR BAND: SEAN E. RIVER (TAUZIER): Guitar / Voc...

Antix at Gazzarris

4087 videos foundNext > 

1 news items

 
LA Weekly
Tue, 08 Apr 2014 04:06:21 -0700

Once upon a time the Sunset Strip was known for breaking bands: The Doors got their start at Whisky a Go Go, while Van Halen came up at Gazzarri's. But that hasn't been the Strip's reputation for a while. The Whiskey, for example, is still mired in ...
Loading

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Gazzarri's

You can talk about Gazzarri's with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!