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Antix Gazzarris.JPG
Gazzarri's nightclub, 1986
Address 9039 Sunset Boulevard
Location West Hollywood, California 90069
Owner Bill Gazzarri
Type Nightclub
Genre(s) Rock and roll
Seating type downstairs: Standing room only
upstairs: balcony seating
Opened February 21, 1967
Closed 1993
Demolished 1995

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."


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 the 1980s thru the early 90's 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 and early 90's. 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, Hurricane (band), Page 3, Taz, Tuff, Foxx, Storyteller, James Bond, 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 The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years, 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.


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.

Live at the Key Club[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.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
5563 videos foundNext > 

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

Ambush At Gazzarri's "I'm On Fire" 1987

The One and Only Original Ambush Live At Gazzarri's In Hollywood In 1987 Doing "I'm On Fire". Steve Russo Vocals/Guitar, Sal Flamma Drums, Robby Millard Lead Guitar, Billy Millard Bass. More...

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 32:44 It's Not The Size That Counts...


The Doors, Byrds and many other bands earned their strips at the World famous Gazzarri's on the Strip. The Hollywood A- GO- GO Dancers, and Gazzarri Girls star.



Van Halen - Gazzarri's 1974

01. Chevrolet 02. Maybe I'm A Leo 03. We All Had A Real Good Time 04. Walk Away 05. Can't Get Enough 06. If You Can't Rock Me 07. Might Just Take Your Life 08. Make It Last.

Urban Blitz Damnation Celebration from Gazzarri's in 1992

Urban Blitz Damnation Celebration from Gazzarri's in 1992 Frog - Vocals Atticus Black - Guitar & Vocals Chris Austin - Drums & Vocals Tony Festa - Bass & Vocals Yoshi - Keys.

Urban Blitz Mary Ann from Gazzarri's in 1992

Urban Blitz Mary Ann from Gazzarri's in 1992 Frog - Vocals Atticus Black - Guitar & Vocals Chris Austin - Drums & Vocals Tony Festa - Bass & Vocals Yoshi - Keys.

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. January 3, 2012 - Tour dates announced.

The Crucified "The Pillars of Humanity" Live at Gazzarris

5563 videos foundNext > 

58 news items

LA Magazine (blog)

LA Magazine (blog)
Mon, 09 Mar 2015 12:11:10 -0700

Axl Rose, a Tower Video employee, once shoved a flyer for his new band Guns & Roses, which was playing down the block at Gazzarri's, into my bag. In 1976 Elton John told Playboy that if he weren't a rock star, he would have wanted to be a Tower Records ...
LA Observed
Wed, 18 Feb 2015 23:08:25 -0800

The Gazzarri Dancers had no official connection to Gazzarri's, the Sunset Strip rock club. It was just a cool name in the 60s. They were a mix of young pros and local girls who could shake it a little. June Fairchild was spotted dancing (at Gazzarri's ...

Rock Cellar Magazine

Rock Cellar Magazine
Fri, 06 Feb 2015 10:22:30 -0800

Using tear sheets as calling cards, I was able to gain access to various clubs around Hollywood such as the Whisky a Go Go, the Troubadour, Gazzarri's and a few others where I would review the shows and then send the reviews to the club owners. However ...


Sat, 24 May 2014 08:14:39 -0700

Eventually they end up getting a gig playing in a Hollywood club called Gazzarri's, which became the epicenter of hair-metal in the 1980s. “At the time Gazzarri's was a dying club. Its moment had passed. It was much more of a 1960s go-go dancer place ...

LA Weekly

LA Weekly
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 09:45:01 -0800

Rodney's wasn't even primarily a live music venue – it was a nightclub that occasionally booked live bands, and most of those weren't even from L.A. Why not devote a few minutes to seminal punk and rock clubs like the Masque, Gazzarri's, or the Fleetwood?
Music in Belgium
Thu, 12 Mar 2015 16:08:06 -0700

C'est là que sont implantés The Roxy, Gazzarri's, Whisky A Go-Go, Viper Room, etc.; tous ces clubs de légende où sont nés les géants du Hard Rock et du Glam américain. De Van Halen à Guns'n Roses, en passant par Quiet Riot, WASP, Dokken, Ratt, ...

American Songwriter

American Songwriter
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:52:30 -0700

Rocking a ripped jean jacket and a Robert Smith haircut, Adams looked like Edward Scissorhands transported to the Sunset Strip's glory days, waiting to see Warrant play at Gazzarri's. The '80s references didn't stop there. They literally littered the ...
Thu, 19 Feb 2015 12:43:41 -0800

Fairchild's dance career began one night at the bar Gazzarri's, oddly enough. Producer Al Burton spotted her dancing and offered her a role on Hollywood A Go-Go. At the time, she was dating Three Dog Night's Danny Hutton. She actually came up with the ...

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