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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

My first job

whisky a go go, originally uploaded by Cool Auntie.

If you went to the Whisky A Go Go anytime between 1976 and 1982, chances are you paid your money to me, or told me you were on the guest list. When I started there, I worked in the box office.

If you happen to be Roger Taylor of Queen, you were the best-behaved, nicest really famous rock star I ever had the pleasure to comp! If you happen to be another drummer, one who lived in Los Feliz and played for a British guy... you weren't!

But I digress...I think I spent the entire six years between 1976 and 1982 within those four walls (except for the times I was on the road with Stiv or other bands... which was encouraged by the bosses). I lived on Clark St., which is the same street as San Vicente - its just called Clark St. running north of Sunset. It crosses Sunset Blvd. and its on the corner of San Vicente/Clark St. that the Whisky is located.

My apartment building is now infamous for being the place where Motley Crue lived, but while I was living there, it was much better known as the place where Freddie, the Whisky's hottest cocktail waitress lived. She, like me, lived on the third floor of 1140 North Clark St. I had the apartment directly above the Crue. Yeah - it was a musicians neighborhood at the time. It still is. Rolling Stones keyboard player, the late Nicky Hopkins lived on the next street over - Larrabee; his apartment building's windows and my building's windows looked at each other. Also on Larrabee, below Sunset, the same big apartment building boasted residents inMary Wells, and Sal Maida, of Sparks, Milk n Cookies, and Roxy Music.

Working at the Whisky was probably the dream job for someone like me at that time. It meant I could see every show there for free. It took me less than one minute to get to work. Because we operated a bar, I could buy booze off the club after hours... well, I DID do that... no one stopped me. As a result, my parties never ran dry.

If I booked a show at the club, the after party was usually at my house. Two people I didn't know until the mid-80s and who remain close friends to this day, both told me they attended by pool-side party for the British band, Secret Affair.

Because of our convenient locations, my friend and neighbor, Joan Jett (she lived across the street - on the San Vicente side) threw a lot of after parties related to Whisky shows.

Of course, there's this well-known photo of one such party:

Jett Idol

and this photo got published in about 47 different outlets. I guess people around the world thought I lived a glamorous life. Ha!

But we had loads of fun at the Whisky. Pleasant and I really made the most of our youth. She hung out:

Dave Alvin & his ladies

and we in the club paid tribute to our local scene in the most every day ways. Here's an image of the menu at the Whisky:
whisky menu

You can see a bigger image of it here on Mump Kristian Hoffman's website. There was a dish named for the Mumps - fruit salad -- as well as drinks named after our friends: Pleasant, Joan Jett, Kim Fowley, Rodney Bingenheimer, and the Runaways, among others.

Because of our relationship with the Whisky, Pleasant was able to hold "benefits" for Lobotomy there, and we hosted a couple nights featuring bands like X, the Germs, Alley Cats, Flesheaters, and more.

As time passed, I got to do jobs with more responsibility. I do have a particular claim to fame - I gave the Bangles their first gig. Although at the time, they were called The Bangs, and Annette Zelinskas was in the band, and its point-person. That show, with the Bangs and Three O'Clock was the stuff of local legend, however, I cannot take credit for it. Gary Stewart, my life-long friend, who worked at the Rhino Records store at the time, told me that's what I should book. And so I did. His idea, my juice. Everyone had a good time.

That's what its all about anyway.

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