Sunset Strip (2012) - full transcript

A documentary on the famous Los Angeles street.

{Record Crackle Sound}

Hollywood Sunset Boulevard,
famous boulevard...

glorified in movie,
song and story.

The glitter street of movie
town that winds its way from
skid row through Hollywood...

past the luxury of Beverly
Hills, and on to the sea.


♪ Where are you walking
I've seen you walking ♪

♪ Have you been there before ♪

♪ Walk down your doorsteps
You'll take some more steps ♪

♪ What did you take them for ♪

♪ There's a private
In my boat ♪

♪ And he wears pins
Instead of medals on his coat ♪

I'm going to tell you a story
of vice and of glory.

And how it was back in the day.

The yellow brick road it ain't,
it's the street of sinners,
not of saints.

It's LA's Champs-Élysées.

I'm going to make it funky
in the style of super junky,
poet of the Angola school.

And we'll ride east to west
in a short that's the best.

So lean back, dig the ride
and be cool.

When the city was dry,
the Strip could supply the
stuff of which dreams are made.

The pimps and the pushers,
the hustlers and hookers

all had it made in the shade.

When the Garden of Allah had
gone on to Valhalla and they
opened Pandora's Box.

Where the kids with long hair
flipped the wigs of the

'til the party got squashed
by the cops.

Then the teens made the scene,
Arthur Lee reigned supreme.

'Til the doors closed in on
him. But his coat of many
colors made way for lots...

of brothers, like that
light-skinned Hendrix named Jim.


♪ So this ain't the end
I saw you again today ♪

♪ I had to turn my heart away ♪

♪ Smiled like the sun
Kisses for everyone ♪

♪ And tales it never fails ♪

♪ You lying so low in the weeds
I bet you gonna ambush me ♪

♪ You'd have me down down
down down on my knees ♪

♪ Now wouldn't you
Barracuda ♪

I decided to run away
from home at some point...

when I was like six.

And so I took a Big Wheel...

and I rode it all the way down
Laurel Canyon to Sunset.

That was my first real

♪ No right no wrong
You're selling a song ♪

♪ A name Whisper game ♪

♪ If the real thing
Don't do the trick no ♪

♪ You better make up
Something quick ♪

♪ You gonna burn burn burn
Burn burn it to the wick ♪

♪ Aren't you Barracuda ♪

I believe in sacred places and I
believe that for a musician...

there are very few sacred places
in the Western world.

This is. It's a sacred place.
It's a place where you can stand
and think, this is exactly

where Jim Morrison stood and
figured it all out.

It's one thing to read some
jerk off's version of what
the Whiskey A-Go-Go

was like in 1966. It's another
thing to stand there

and go, wow. This is, it was
probably really powerful.

You can feel that resonant
energy, it's right there.

It's a living history.

From Doheny
to Crescent Heights...

there's a lot of ghosts,
you know?

And a lot of history
that I am familiar with.

And even the ghosts from times
past, I feel that haunting, too.

Talking about even the smell
of it and the sound of it.

And the, you know it's a very--
yeah, you can almost taste it.

A lot of these places are still
there, you know.

The structures are still there.
The history is still there.

The feeling is still there.

Hollywood itself is a magnet...

and obviously has
great feminine appeal...

a sexual appeal.

And the Strip is kind of the
personification of that.

Well, it certainly will draw you
in, and, you know, fuck you up.

It's the one street that you
gravitate towards...

no matter where you are,
because you hear about it...

and your dreams can start
out there and your dream
will end there...

you know, if you don't watch
your shit, right?

It'll end right there, because
you will die that night.

You know, and it will be because
of whatever dream you're


♪ On the first part
Of the journey ♪

♪ I was looking at
All the life ♪

♪ There were plants and birds
And rocks and things ♪

♪ There was sand and hills
And rains ♪

♪ I've been through the desert
On a horse with no name ♪

The social milieu and the
history of Los Angeles...

creates a unique atmosphere
for a place like Sunset Strip.

I don't think it could happen
anywhere else, not in the way
that it developed.

When you go back from the 20's
and the little dirt road...

to being this glamorous pathway
of movie stars and night

segueing into this whole
other era in the 50's...

of being, kind of you know,
semi-hipster hangout...

and then segueing into the
60's where you know that
legacy continues on.

Sunset strip is a civilization
for the broken hearted...

the mistreated, the overlooked,
the under-loved...

the underpaid and the doomed.

If you're gonna die, you might
as well die here, die in front
of all of us.

We'll write songs about it.

It was a very rough strip at one
time. It was the outlaw place.

It's where some of the
agencies set up shop...

because there was no taxation.

It's was kind of outside the
police jurisdiction...

of Beverly Hills
and the studios.

So it was always this kind of--

No man's land.

No man's land.

In 1892, a French immigrant
comes in and buys 220 acres...

a guy named Victor Ponet.

He then proceeds to turn this
area around Sunset Strip...

and West Hollywood into
poinsettia fields.

It was still you know you
basically have a lot of
undeveloped land...

with small trails that turn
into small little roads.

Sunset Boulevard then becomes
this place between the proper...

city of Hollywood where all the
filming is being done.

It's now a gateway to
a development called
Beverly Hills.

Most people think that the
Sunset Strip is named
because of strip clubs on there.

Which happened later, but it
really was because it was this
little strip of road...

that went between the
two cities.

We are in the center of the
universe in the 21st century.

You see a city in ruins,
Hollywood USA...

but once upon a time,
it was great...

Crescent Heights and Sunset

And in 1946, I came to this
exact location with my father.

And we went down to Schwab's,
which was this way, going
towards Hollywood.

What sort of fountain
was it?

The one at Schwab's Drug Store,
up on Sunset Boulevard.



Schwab's, thanks a lot.

The only place I really miss
is-- it was Schwab's.

Yeah, yeah.

Because it had the soda
fountains from the old days.

I drove down to headquarters.

That's the way a lot of us
think about Schwab's
Drug Store.

Kind of a combination office,
coffee clatch and waiting room.

Waiting. Waiting
for the gravy train.

That had that magic...

I miss that place.

That vibe, you knew a
lot of stuff was born there.

Yeah, you knew that's where all
the actors were who you looked
up to.

And that you would meet a
million actors in there that
would never make it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah,
but the vibe was there.

Yeah, the vibe was-- yeah.

You know, their elbows were
on those counters.

You thought you'd go in there
and have a fucking Coca-Cola...

and get discovered
for sucking on a straw.

Then we came here, wait
for the light to change...

and then we went behind me to
the fabulous garden of Allah.

The senior Robert Benchly had a
really nice villa there.

The guys wanted to smoke opium
in his villa.

You're the lookout. I had
on my miniature sailor suit.

There I am with my little boat
and my dad says...

"When the cops come,
scream and start acting like
a moron six-year-old...

and we'll flush the shit
down the toilet. You got it?

Yeah. They went upstairs...

and they laid down
and did the pipe.

On my first visit out here,
they threw a party for me
at the Garden of Allah.

And I was very much aware
of the history of the Garden.

And the many famous people
and celebrities...

from the Algonquin...

and people from New York.

It was a Bohemian atmosphere...

which was named
for Allah Nazimova...

who was a famous silent actress.

Her most famous film
was called Salome.

And it's a beautiful film,
but it ruined her...

'cause she used her own money
to make it, which is not
a good idea.

She owned the Garden of Allah...

which was a series of
Spanish-style bungalows...

built around a swimming pool
that was shaped like the Black
Sea or something...

that reminded her of her past.

And she lived in the large
house, and later she
had to sell it.

and that's when
I visited the place...

and she lived upstairs
in a little apartment.

She wore a famous wig
in Salome...

that was little balls
on wires that jiggled
every time she moved.

A fabulous thing, and that
was in her apartment
when I visited her.

I was lucky enough to be here
when I came out...

to go around the Garden of
Allah, which is really the
history of Hollywood.

And that's where Robert Benchly
used to stay...

and Errol Flynn would have
a bungalow there...

and it was a great, charming
place with huge banana trees,
palm trees.

You'd walk into it and you
would think you were in some
kind of a paradise.

My first few days in Hollywood
and at the garden...

were all that I had anticipated.
It was party time, the entire

So, when I came out the second
visit in LA, I actually made a
point of staying at the garden.

By then, it was downhill and a
little on the seedy side...

but you know, for me, it still
had the mystique of its history.

They tore it down in the late
50's, and put up a parking lot
and a bank.

You know it's kind of a
shame. It really is.

When I first came out here in
1971, hearing from the locals
you know well...

that was the Garden of Allah
where you know Bogie
and Bacall stayed.

The present and the past
and the future you know,
it all kind of...

kind of rolls into one because
there's a colliding...

collapsing kaleidoscope
of images and impressions
from past times.

The feeling when you take that
drive riding a Harley down the
Sunset Strip towards the ocean.


That strip is like where you
leave and where you come back.

You know, taking Sunset
to the beach to go up PCH.

You go for a ride, you come back
and when you go, you know...

you come through Beverly Hills
and then you're coming up...

on the Strip, it's like,
that's when you go like, okay.
I'm back.

Places have souls and it,
and it was very clear that it
had something.

And it has so much history.
It feels a little haunted.

It had the allure, but in a
strange way, you know, a lot of
places in LA...

the Garden of Allah, which was
across the street, have a lot of
that history, too.

But it felt as though it had
suddenly become abandoned.
It was just sort of lost.

But it had all this history and
people would say, oh, when I
used to stay at the Chateau...

but no one was staying there
any longer.

Right, I remember coming there
as a kid, before you fixed
it up...

and it was pretty funky.

The fact that I live so close
to it is no accident.

I mean I-- I truly feel like my
early LA roots are in and around
the Chateau Marmont.

But back then, it was not
hoity-toity, you know.

I mean the Chateau was, it was
you know, it had those...

it was really a couple of layers
of grim. All over it.

It was a little rundown. Like in
room 21, there was Astroturf.

You know, you didn't really want
to take your shoes off. But that
was part of its charm.

When the Chateau started in
1929, it was just after the
stock market crash...

so they'd intended it as an
apartment house.

But they ran out of money
and no one wanted to move in.

So they ended up furnishing it
with all these furniture...

from all these estates up
in the hills.

That's why the lobby had this
look of very eclectic, old
pieces that came from that time.

So when we sort of resuscitated
the whole place...

it was very much looking at
those old historical photos.

And then as you went up into
sort of the penthouse...

and we sort of decorated it in
the scheme of what...

for example, Howard Hughes lived
there in the 50's.

So it was sort of like what
would be...

the high glamour of the 50's.

There's nothing nicer for me,
to feel like if I'm at say
the Chateau...

sitting in a place where I know
know 40, 50 years ago, great
writers, great artists...

great musicians. Not just the
whacked out stories and funny

and the drug stories, but just
sitting there writing a script
or working...

you know, maybe working on a
tune or working on new material,
whatever. I love sitting there.

The Chateau Marmont became
a kind of home; Thanksgivings,
and having Christmas...

and then having friends stay.
And, it felt like my unsafe,
safe harbor.

Tonight it's quite cloudy,
but I think you can see the view
pretty well.


It brings out people,
a dark, a side, a kind
of fun dark side of people.

I agree with you. It's something
I think a good hotel tends to do

I think unhinges--

It can be dangerous!

Yeah, there is that side.

It can be dangerous or it can
be very creative and very

However you want to cast it,
but certainly it invites and
encourages kind of an extreme.

And don't you ever forget it,
you [BLEEP]fuckers.

As the children say nowadays.

You know, I've had some really
great, crazy wild times there.

And some that probably overstep
the bounds a little bit...

personally where you just
have you know, some emotional
blow back.

Back in the 80's, you know, late
80's, when I was living there.

Basically there was this one
guy, he was the night guy.

He'd come in at whatever time
and you know, "Good evening,
Mr. Depp, how are you?"

The Chateau was loaded with
characters, but you have those
kind of guys still...

like in Dmitri, you know,

Dmitri's a-- he's a special one.

My name is Dmitri. I'm the
maître d'hôtel at Sunset
Tower Hotel.

My job is to create little
moments, just a little

a little moment and they
remember that moment.

And hopefully they remember
forever, then I've done a
great job.

It was built smack in the middle
of Hollywood.

You know on Sunset and for many,
many years it was sticking out.

It was one only tall building
in neighborhood and was nothing
else, you know?

And where, these people, you
know, as apartments and even
right now as a hotel, you know.

They're not these artists are
not just staying for one night
or two.

Normally they stay for awhile.
You know to create.

Here in LA, people come to like,
hang out, just like a retreat.

You know, people will kind of
actually, locals will actually
move in to the hotels.

I think that people will come
into a hotel...

and sort of get lost.

And I think you told me that it
had been Bugsy Siegel's room at
one point, right?

Bugsy Siegel's apartment, yeah.

At one point, right?

This whole floor was his

John Wayne lived right
below there.

What is now the spa.

Somebody told me wasn't it John
Wayne that had the, brought the
cow out on his terrace?

Yep. That's absolutely correct.

Is-- that's a true story?


The penthouse,
Howard Hughes lived there.

I lived there.

Sharon Stone lived there.
Elizabeth Taylor lived there.

Diana Ross lived there. It's
a suite that obviously attracts
a special energy.

On clear days, Mr. Marlow you
can see the ships in the harbor
at San Pedro.

There are things that aren't
talked about, like the House of

That's really not talked about
all that much.

In fact, it's forgotten...

by most contemporary Hollywood.

They wouldn't know what
you're talking about.

That it was a glamorous
house of call girls.

Lee Francis, really she traveled
the world to find out...

the sexual fantasies that were
being fulfilled...

in India, in Paris, in London,
in Rome.

As sort of like the
delicacies of sex.

In Paris, one of the practices
was to pour...

nine different kinds of wines
and liqueurs...

into nine orifices
of a woman.

And to sip it out
of each orifice.

Okay, I know you're counting.

And all of this she brought
back in the very late 20's,
early 30's.

And she began operating out
of a luxury suite in the
Piazza del Sol.

It was very elitist, but people
that lived on the Strip knew
about it.

They were very attractive,
young ladies.

Francis was much more
than a brothel.

It was like a private club.

Writers from MGM would take over
a room, and spend the evening

and being served food and
cocktails by pretty women...

who were smart and educated...

who they could run lines
and scenes by.

Sharing ideas, having fun,
it was a pretty exciting
place to be.

But there were some pretty
dark sex going on.

Certain people went in for the
bondage and that sort of thing.

And whipping, so there was a
sound-proof room for that.

Anything you wanted,
you could have there.

Women often were there in the
lobby partying, eating,

Women also went there for sex.
It wasn't just for men.

Jean Harlow had a voracious
appetite for both men and women.

Sometimes Jean Harlow would come
for a woman and end up going
home with a customer.

Lee Francis was the reigning
madame of her day.

Up until the 40's,
and that's when she fell.

Lee was busted at the Piazza
del Sol in January of 1940.

There wasn't a single soul that
would help her out.

All the fun,
all the high living...

that people did with Lee.

And she ended up without a dime
and without a friend.

And it is so often the story
in this fickle town.



If any of you people have never
seen the Strip...

I'd like to show you
a bit of it right now.

Oh, don't misunderstand me,

I'm referring to that fabulous
street in Hollywood called
the Strip.

It's only a mile and a half
long, but there's more glamour
and drama...

packed into this boulevard
of nightspots and hot spots...

than almost any other street
you could name.


I thought it was very glamorous.

Oh, yes, it was.

I used to wear cocktail dresses
from Jack's and get dressed up
every night.

You're born in a cocktail dress.

I was, I was.

I'm overdressed when I'm naked,
so it's perfect for me.

But I remember when I was
a kid growing up there...

it was always so chic and
then Bobby Darin...

was the opening night,
and Tony Bennett.

I mean, there was a lot of
glamour on Sunset Boulevard.

Oh, yes,
it presaged Las Vegas.

There's a little speakeasy
called the La Boheme Club.

And then in 1934, Billy
Wilkerson comes up, sees this

decides that he's going to turn
this La Boheme into a nightclub,
the Trocadero.

So it becomes the first
nightclub on Sunset Boulevard.

My father's Billy Wilkerson.

William Richard Wilkerson
the second...

but he was known as Billy.

He got a tip from a government
friend of his...

that Prohibition was going
to be repealed.

So he took a boat to France...

and bought like 60 or 70,000
dollars worth of French wines
and champagnes.

That was a lot of wine.

It was-- yeah.

So that's when he decided to
build a nightclub...

and then from there, his next
venture was Ciro's, where we
are today.

Mocambo, Ciro's, Trocadero,
which were the triumvirate of
the nightclubs.

And that becomes kind of key,
because all the other clubs that
are coming along...

are all kind of supporting
those, and there's, it's rife.

There may be 20 or 30 really
nice clubs on Sunset Boulevard.

So the reputation of
Sunset Boulevard...

is pretty much
locked from 1934 onward.

It was such a fabulous time
and there were so many clubs.

I loved working there. I worked
the Crescendo and the other one.

So the way it was that there
was The Cloister.

Then there was the Crescendo and
then the Interlude. They were
next to each other.

I worked the Interlude,
that's the other one.

Yeah, the Interlude was great.


These clubs were very exclusive.

They were small, a lot of them,
you almost had to be invited.


When my dad had the Troc, he got
people to come in and eat at his

He had his illegal
card games in the back.

If they didn't like that, they
could go for roulette or

And then there were the
exclusive bordellos up here
in the hills.

It was cpmpletely

Los Angeles being LA in the
1920's and 1930's...

you have a police force that
is easily bought off.

And now you have anybody who's
opening a nightclub clearly...

is going to be involved in some
kind of crime syndicate.

One of the most colorful and
notorious gangsters...

in the United States
in the late 1940's
was Mickey Cohen.

An ex-prize fighter, he
reportedly controlled

bribed policemen, and killed
gang land rivals on the West

until 1951, when he was sent
to jail for four years
for income tax evasion.

Mickey, you say you've never
mixed with prostitution, you've
never mixed with narcotics.

You have made book, you have

Most important of all,
you've broken one of the

you've killed, Mickey.

I have killed no men that
didn't deserve killing.

Of course, there was an out and
out war, it was called the
Battle of the Sunset Strip.

That's where Mickey got shot.

Coming out from across the

Guy was across the street.

That was where they were
waiting for him?

They shot-- they got Mickey
in the shoulder.

He's out going from one club
to another in 1949.

And it's 4:00 in the morning,
you know...

and he's out with the writer
from the LA Times.

She gets shot in the ass,
and he gets shot.

There's a rumor around town
that somebody's posted a bounty
on your head.

Have you heard about this?

No, I haven't.

Are you much concerned
with it?

Not too much.

Well, he had a grip on it all.

Yeah, 'cause from what I'm
hearing, it's pretty hard to get
a grip out here, you know?

It always has been. I think this
is the wild, cowboy element.

TONY (V.O.):
I took care of all
the numbers on the books.

I was a lieutenant and whatever
he wanted done, got done.

That's it. No questions
with him.

No questions.
I learned that fast.

And the three big book makers,
him and Marty the Nose
and Pete Rooney.

Pete Rooney,
remember Pete Rooney?

He's still going, he's going.

He's still going?

Oh, stronger than ever.

So, he had Sneeky Pete.

Where your club is now, The Cat
Club, yeah.

It was a steak house.

Yeah, a steak house.
Yeah, Sneeky Pete's.

Mickey Cohen had a little casino
in the back. He had a couple 21
games back there for a while.

The police were always watching
him, following him and

So he would walk around and stop
traffic, 'cause everybody knew
who he was, you know.

The Chief of Police was Parker
at the time...

and he had the intelligence
squad that didn't arrest
anybody, watched everybody.

And the one fellow, the big guy
from Oklahoma, Otis, was tough
as nails.

I mean, he did what he wanted

Otis, oh, that son of a gun.

That son of a bitch,
he was always on my--

They stopped us and they would
take Mickey to the front
of the car...

take me to the back of the car.

"Why don't you start running?"
he said.

He's like, "I could shoot you."

He said, "Go ahead."

He was a piece of garbage.

Go ahead, run, he said.

And I just stand there
and say nothing.

Otis, he used to call us,
you "dago".

Oh, yeah. He was-- I don't know
how tough he was, 'cause--

I don't know how tough he was,
I didn't care how tough he was.

I never saw him
in a beef or nothing.


But he was a nervy
son of a bitch.

He had the badge and the gun.

That's right.

He had that on him,
he had this--

You gotta understand one thing.

When you walk into the fire,
and come out unscathed...

you're part of the thing,
and that's what you
gotta expect.

You gotta be careful,
you gotta keep your word.

Honesty to me, is the best
policy in the mob.

I don't care how mad Mickey got,
he's always honest.

Mr. Cohen has realized
from his experience
that he so told me...

that the one big lesson he's
learned while he was in prison,
was that crime doesn't pay.



What is now the Roxy used to be
the Largo, which is a very
famous strip club.

Miss Beverly Hills
performed there.

Candy Barr...

There'd be lines, am I right,
lines to get in.

Did Mickey go there?
Because he was involved with--

Oh, Mickey, he was into Candy
Barr. He was in there every

He took out Candy, he took out
Miss Beverly Hills.

He's funny.

One of the great things
of 1930's and 40's era...

of burlesque was that,
you know you had raids
on the burlesque theaters...

and they would arrest certain
performers who were breaking
the law...

and it would be the classic like
being taken away in a mink coat,
still wearing the costume.

Like it was sort of a great way
to get people to come see
her show.

Everyone wanted to come see you
if you were breaking the law.

So a lot of women climbed to the
top billing...

by bringing the house down
in what ever way she could.

It was about titillation
and sex.

Burlesque had
a whole style to it.

The important thing about the
strip tease was not the strip,
it was the tease.

And, you know, it was magic.

This was a nightclub per se.

Ciro's, they had the best acts.

Mocambo had good acts,
but this had the best.

The night I opened at Ciro's...

the excitement that happened
could not have happened
anyplace else.

Sammy Davis opened up here,
when he lost his eye.

And he came and he opened
up here. We were sitting
over there.

And he put on a show you
wouldn't believe.

This place went crazy,
because they'd never seen
anything like this.

And everybody after the Oscars
was here.

He danced,
then did impressions.

Then he played everything
and the band.

I think he played every
instrument except his coat.

Because he was supposed
to do 15 minutes.

Somewhere around an hour and--

Yeah, right, The Hollywood
Reporter said, "A star is born."

♪ My Ho-Bohemia is the place
I want to be ♪

Sammy Davis Jr.--

He was the king of the Strip.

People loved it when he came in
and that was the first black guy
to really--

Could get in there, yeah.

And he'd be, you know,
dancing with white girls
and all of that stuff.

He did a lot of things
for the first time.

He's so bad ass.

I don't hear any sound.

Well, good, you'll hear it
in a minute.

It's gonna come up.
Soon as it warms up.

There we go. Sounds like
one of your arrangements,
I think.

Isn't that wonderful to have my
arrangements up and playing?


There still are a lot of ties...

between Sunset Boulevard
and Las Vegas.

And so, pretty soon, you start
in the late 40's, early 50's...

Vegas starts to suck all the
entertainment off of
Sunset Boulevard.

The Strip had its own

and it certainly dramatically
changed from decade to decade.

It evolved, but always reflected
what was going on.

I personally have a prejudice
related to the fact...

that I grew up during a much
more romantic time.

And a much more glamorous time.

And without question I miss it.

I think that with the social,
sexual changes that I very much
played a part in...

and embraced,
you also pay the price.

And I think we did lose some of
the sophistication and romance.

Ciro's kind of closed down,
in the dark period of my family.

The family and the nightclub
kind of went down at the same

Early 1958, that was in my
memory as a young girl...

the dark period of the 50's. And
nightclubs were kind of over.

But something bigger was
changing in the culture...

and it took a while to see
it really change.

Once the glamour of the 40's and
early 50's started to fade...

I think it was headed
for a youthful explosion.


I was the first
television teen idol.

You know it was like, at the
height of the popularity...

it was probably almost like
Elvis at his top of his game.

There's not much you don't dig.

Way I dig it, you dribbled out
of your place looking real
bombed out like traumatized.

You'd had it, Dad. Do I always
have to bring you on?

Kookie, Kookie,
man with the comb.

Kookie, yeah, Edd Byrnes, man.

We all remember that shit.

Remember his fingers snapping,
yeah. But we all had them little
combs back then.

Don't use them anymore, do they?

I do.

Yeah, you do, you're the last.

Don't leave home without it.

You got it on you?

Yeah, I do, let me see.

Oh, that's old school,
you're going-- give us the--

Handkerchief and-- perfect.

The whole thing might shift.


September 30th, 1955, drove out
here with a friend of mine from
New York...

to become a movie star...
not an actor.

A movie star, and I arrived up
here on the Sunset Strip

Oh this is the Edward Brynes
costar of Warner Bros...

TV production, 77 Sunset Strip.
A Kookie comb.

And get a free wallet photo.

That was it.

I mean, I would get the view...

of the Sunset Strip as a kid...

from that TV show. And whenever
the show started off...

you'd see this T-Bird
pulling out.

This is the parking lot
of 77 Sunset Strip.

The view hasn't changed at all,
it's the same view that we had.

Da, da, da, da, da,
Sunset Strip.


Everybody thought of the sunset
Strip as being the hip place in
the world.

And that was-- for some reason,
the golden highway.

When we first got here,
I remember we all going,
let's find number 77...

'cause we thought it was
a real place, you know.

I don't know-- is there
a 77 Sunset Strip?

So people would just come from
everywhere because it had that
magical name.

For some reason 77 Sunset Strip
it just clicked.

77 Sunset Strip.

Click, click, you know.

That address does not exist.
There is no 77 Sunset Boulevard.

The days of the super glamour
stars seem to be gone.

And the super nightclubs have
changed into hangouts for
hippies and teeny boppers.

Tonight, recorded live at the
Whiskey in Los Angeles...

Johnny Rivers and the
Whisky A-Go-Go.

That's February, early '64.

And you know, "Live" at the
Whisky was the album that went
to number one.

Every night lines up and down
Sunset Boulevard...

which hadn't happened in those
three or four blocks...

that became famous as the Strip
with the Roxy and the Whisky...

and the Rainbow later on.

So that opened up the club era
to rock and roll.

And here's the world famous
Whisky A-Go-Go on the Strip.

A favorite dancing spot for
both the mods and movie stars
who want to get it on.

Let's drop in and see what's
happening tonight.


Elmer, my godfather, my dad told
me this story...

he went to Paris and he saw
that they were doing it
for the first time...

with just a DJ
and people dancing.

And he brought that back
and sort of created the
nightclub in Los Angeles.

Before that it was
you go out and you see a band.

But he was like, no they're
going to come just to
hear music and have a good time.

And that was sort of the birth
of this crazy scene.

For 15 years I was a detective
in Chicago and I'd always liked

being in them, being a customer,
working in them, even when
I was a policeman.

So I decided to move
to Los Angeles.

Elmo was a crooked cop in
Chicago during like that whole
gangster era.

Mario was a crooked bailiff.
I don't know if I should
be saying all this.

But this is my family history.

Mario was a crooked bailiff, and
my dad was born in Chicago...

so I think they had some Chicago
connections when they met.

You know I think they were the
thugs running the night.

And I think he brought the music
and together they would make
this whole thing.

They already made their money in
chicago, and then came here.

And then with their capital,
were able to, you know, Lou was
able to bring the art into that.

♪ California dreaming ♪

♪ On such a winter's day ♪

♪ I stopped into a church ♪

People started coming
in to LA...

seduced by not just like
the Beach Boys and
Good Vibrations...

but like California Dreaming by
the Mamas and the Papas.

It was like a siren call, I
think, for so many people.

The neon Neverland that the mod
set calls home.

Hundreds upon hundreds of cars
inch their way up this
fantastic boulevard...

every Friday and Saturday

fighting their way through
teeming throngs of people...

that are drawn here every
weekend, like moths to a flame.

It can mean only one thing.

That this is the place.
This is where it's at.

This is where it all happens.

The new sound, the excitement,
the pulsating fever that blocks
out the humdrum existence.

Honestly I mean, it was so
packed with kids, you couldn't
walk down Sunset Strip.

You had to actually walk out
in the street on a Friday
or Saturday night.

It was so alive.

Suddenly all these hip

kind of invade the place and
start to sort of take over.

Mountains of people walking
back and forth, back and forth.

And people standing around at
certain restaurants and parking
lots and even in gas stations.

People would be standing around
meeting each other, chatting up
and just a really cool scene.

There was nothing like it

It became a real magnet for
kids, not simply inside the
clubs, but on the street.

And that became I think a major
problem for the city...

and they, in effect,
chased the kids off the street.

The curfew law is now in

Anyone under the age of
18-years-old remaining in the
area will be arrested.


There were at least three big
buses full of sheriffs, there
had to be a lot of these guys.

And I could see them, they had
their helmets on and everything
and I thought...

"Far out. Looks like
it's gonna go bad."

I can see these guys all
running, but like soldiers on a
run, marching run, enforcement.

Running west.
Tons of these guys.

I don't know. All with their
little helmets and batons.

And I got some close looks, you
know, cranking the telephoto.

You watch, click and you see
scared eyes, really, these guys
were scared shitless.

Because some of them were

and they'd never been in this
kind of thing...

and they believed everything
they had heard in the papers.

That there were massive riots
going on and cops were getting
clubbed and stoned and all...

When you smoke a joint, you
don't go out to the club and
stone people, period.

The protest was against closing
our club, the Pandora's Box.

It was like a little house
on an island in the middle
of Sunset Boulevard.

And it was our
favorite place to go.

There were a lot of local bands
played there and we had this
gigantic protest...

and you know in those days there
were no cell phones, or phone
machines or anything.

We had to, it was all
word of mouth.

And somehow the thousands of
kids who hung out on the Strip
all showed up that night...

and we had signs, and were
chanting and it was all about us
against them, you know.

They didn't understand us and we
thought we were going to change
the world. It was a revolution.

Well I was coming in from Laurel
Canyon and we got about a block
away and I see kids...

and I see a line of cops lined
up like they were Roman

And I went,
"Turn the car around."

I didn't even want
to go in there.

I've seen all I need to see and
I wrote "For What It's Worth" on
the way back.


People were really
running by me.

I hid behind one of those cement
stanchions for a light post.

So people wouldn't hit me
as I was photographing
what going on...

until, suddenly, I was ripped
away from the lamp post and this
young cop...

with his baton, whack-- he tried
to hit my cameras.

And handcuffed and pulled off to
one of the buses.

Photographed with a Polaroid 1A.

As I looked at it I thought, did
they reserve this for me?

Is this the position they're
giving me? Far fucking out.

All right, I don't like
this, but here I am on the bus.

How do I get out? So, shackled I
am in the bus, or handcuffed.

And I looked out the window and
I saw Bob Denver, and his wife

So I thought, screw it, I took
my handcuffs and I banged them
against the chain,,,

that was up against the window,
enough until he looked up.

And yelling, get help!

Call somebody.


You hear the legends of Sunset
Strip and you hear the, well
of course the riots...

put it on the map, I think.

But it was all part of
that whole 60's revolution,
music revolution.

And it all seemed
to come out of LA.

I mean a lot of the people that,
the beginnings of rock and

with not show business

You know, we were babies in that
sense. You know we were trying
things, you know...

because we didn't have
any rules.

You didn't know that you
couldn't do that.

You didn't know that you
could do Pee-Wee Herman
on a Monday night.

and you could do Bob Marley...

and Cheech and Chong...

the rest of the week, you know.

So we just mixed it up.

It's fabulously freaky.

Rocky Horror, Pee-Wee Herman,
they all did stem from music,

I mean there is this culture of
music on the Strip...

and I think that box is not this
big, it's really this big...

and I think you're able
to fit a lot of stuff into it.

At the bottom of it,
there's a song there.

I think as a musician, what we
learned about this building...

and a lot of what was going
on in this area was the art
of sharing.

And our musical legacy of,
certainly Fleetwood Mac...

was greatly affected by being
more open, less judgmental...

and entertaining
that anything could go.

And I learned that here.
We learned that here.

That's how it was in those days,
you could actually sort of make
a living at these places...

playing every night and you
really got to hone your songs...

in front of people, which was
great, because you can see
which one works...

and which part
of one doesn't work.

That's why our first couple
albums were so good...

because we really had them
down to a T before we went
in to record.

You know over the period
of a year or so, playing
the songs every night.

When your house band
is Jim Morrison
and the Doors or Love...

or The Buffalo Springfield or
Iron Butterfly, I mean that was
pretty amazing.

You know rock gods were walking
the earth here.

Rock gods filled this room.

And that, that will never
happen again.

You know this small space,
I saw The Who play,
Jimi Hendrix...

Led Zeppelin, I mean in this
small, tiny, little space.

The Who, can you imagine how
they filled it up?

I mean it was just, you were
pressed against the wall,
you know.

This booth right here is the
Mamas and Papas' booth where
they would hang.

Right where you're sitting
is where I was sitting...

the night Hendrix played
for the first time in LA.

And that was amazing.

Everybody was standing on the
tables, so you had to stand up
in order to see him.

This is Miss Pamela direct from
the heart of Hollywood...

the heart of rock and roll
and I really mean that today...

because look where I'm
standing, in front of the
Whiskey A-Go-Go...

Hollywood's rock and roll

Every 24 hours was like a month,
because so much was crammed
into it.

Every minute, honestly I'd get
up that day, and I had no idea
what was going to happen.

And it was always
anything-can-happen day.

I think we should take
a little walk over here
to the Rainbow Bar & Grill.

Now this is where everybody
winds up, every night of the
week to just rock out...

hang out, have a wonderful time,
and just get loose.

The first time I came to the
Rainbow was like '73.

The year after it opened.

If you've been coming here
for a while, you get into it.

You know, the ambiance, if
you'd like me to say an artistic
word for it.

The ambiance of the place, yes.
It's got a lot of history in it
for rock and roll, you know.

I mean it's the whole history
of rock and roll, just about,
you know?

And it goes back even further
than that.

I mean, Judy Garland met
Vincente Minelli here.

And Joe DiMaggio met Marilyn
Monroe here when it was an
Italian restaurant.

Sinatra and Dean Martin used
to hang out here, so it goes
back a long way, you know.

You know, I used to park my bike
outside the Rainbow on a Friday
and Saturday night.

Literally just sit on the bike
and ten minutes there'd be a
bird on the back and I'd be off.

We'd be gettin' blow jobs under
the table at the Rainbow.

It's a fucking dinner place,
you know, like what is-- like,
I can't--

Because they had these little
nooks and crannies where you
could creep...

go back in the corner and you'd
be having a just, a raging

and nobody would ever come by
and be like, you guys can't do
that here.

Are you crazy? No one
would say anything.

The bathroom, under the tables,
out in back, in the alley, like

like I can't even imagine that
happening right now.

I mean I had my cock sucked
everywhere, behind the Roxy, in
the bathroom at the Rainbow...

behind the Whisky, you name it.

There weren't one place
I didn't get me cock sucked.

Nothing mattered.

There wasn't AIDS,
there wasn't--

People just ripped it, man.


The Hyatt House
was the party place.

I don't know if anybody

I think they got rooms just to
go from party to party to
party to party to party.

And, it was, it was like the
Old West. There was no law
at the Hyatt House.

You'd go to any floor, get off
the elevator and there was some
kind of party going on.

And you'd go to the next floor
and there was another party
going on.

But this was 24 hours a day.

It was the insane asylum.

I am under the influence of a
dangerous drug and I'm liable to
flip out at any moment...

and kill you or myself.
LSD does funny things.

And then they were looking and
laughing right, I was like this
myself and I said...

Shut up or I'll squirt every one
of you with tear gas.

We gotta do something to them.

Two flipped out groupies
kill pop star.

Wouldn't that be something?

It was called the Riot House,
you know.

I mean, the crazy stuff
that went down there.

It was, it was like, I mean,
here in England...

when a guy meets a girl, he asks
her out and goes to the movies
or whatever...

and eventually things happen,
you know. Not here.

It's just straight in the sack,
you know?

It was just like, wow. What
disease have I got now?

I stayed with Led Zeppelin
there, a lot.

And they had the entire
sixth floor.

They always rented out the
entire sixth floor, and you
know, took over.

Everyone knew in Hollywood that
Zeppelin were in town and those
guys were so fucking wild.

They'd abuse the chicks, they'd
like to push it to see how far
they could go.

Burning them, cutting their hair
off, handcuffing them.

I mean, leaving them handcuffed
for a couple of days in the

And they'd be riding motorcycles
up and down the hallway at the
Continental Hyatt House...

and they'd have these wild, wild
parties. Up all night, throwing
TV's out the window.

All that stuff is true.

Like Led Zeppelin
did a lot of stuff.

Richard Cole, he took this
leather strap and he started
beating me...

and I didn't even know him.

They threw Cynthia in the
swimming pool and ruined all her
velvet clothes.

They were really weird.

They were probably the worst,
but there were many that abused
loads of people on the Strip.

But that would never, ever, ever
have been tolerated anywhere
else but America.

In America, they were like, oh,
do you want to hit me some more?

Do you want to burn me?

Do you want to fuck me with a
fucking you know, rod of iron?

We'll do it.
And that's how it was.


If you stay insane, and you stay
in a magical place...

and you float,
you're not gonna ever die.

Don't be afraid, come on in.

I needed bars, I needed clubs, I
needed places like this...

to feel like there was a purpose
to what I was doing.

I mean it's hard enough to think
that there's a purpose for

when we're spinning around
in infinity.

So forgetting about that show,
I-- got a little scared for a
second didn't you?

I know you did.

It's a frightening profession.
I was a schmuck, I could've been
a caterer.

I realize now, no, I don't want
to be negative. It's too hot,
it's too nice up here.

Uh, I am, I'm, well I got to
tell you something,
my mother lives in Jersey.

How does she get the Roxy
backstage number? It's really
unbelievable. I just tell

No one knows who the fuck we
are. We don't know why we're
even doing anything, you dig?

So, anyway, it's good
to have a clubhouse.

And there were a lot of
clubhouses on the Strip.

When this was Ciro's, I'm
telling you this place was

The thing that the different
eras had in common...

were you had cocaine, you had
young people, you had alcohol,
you had free--

He keeps going back
to the drugs.

The people who made this thing
happen, the public came
to see all of this.

We were all crazy.

I was studying for the ministry,
I have no idea what you're
talking about.

The Comedy Store, I mean walking
in there when you're 20 years

and you're, you know,
like this kid from Iowa.

And seeing those names on the
wall, and the pictures...

and there's Letterman
and Robin Williams and
there's Steve Martin...

and it's just impossible, it's
impossible that you are there.

There was a method to the
madness. You had a place
to work.

You had to fight to be
a part of it.

You had to fight to be a part
of it, you had to be good.

And that's why the people
packed this place.

When Pryor would play here,
you know, on like a weekend?

It was like attending
a heavyweight prize fight
in Vegas.

I was a cocktail waitress
at the Comedy Store
from October of 1980...

until October of 1981.

And that was the explosion
of stand-up comedy.


This man's a genius.

Now who else can take all
the forms of comedy,
slapstick, satire...

mime and stand-up, and turn it
into something that will
offend everyone.

Richard Pryor was at the Comedy
Store every single night back

preparing for his film
"Live on the Sunset Strip".

He was the god that we must all
obey. Whatever he said, went.

Thank you.

I want to know the two people,
the two people who first
did coke.

And one looked at the other and
said, "We're not gonna tell
anyone about this."

I think it was me
and Richard Pryor.

When I first came out, it was
Sam Kinison and those guys...

and they had guns and they were
always doing coke and they, I'd
never seen it before...

and I thought, I thought, man,
this stand-up is a lot tougher
than I thought.

I think I did too much! Oh!

I did too much!

No, uh, I don't do drugs.

Was it Kinison or Dice, somebody
shot a car or something.

Dice didn't do it.
It was Kinison.

And people, you hear these
stories of bowls of cocaine
and stuff.

You say that's bullshit, you
know, that's bullshit, that's

But no, they actually,
that happened.

And then people started
getting greedy.

Listen, you think that
they're ballers now?

These kids now don't know what
balling is, they don't know.

That stuff was pure,
and they had it--

These kids today,
they don't know drugs.

No, I would be in limos and with
Richard and with the gang...

and they would, I mean,
they would have thousand
dollar bills...

they would put the cocaine
and snort it.

And pass it around. When it got
to me, I'd wipe it off and put
the money in my pocket.

I was so rich during that
whole era, I loved it.
It was the best.

I believe him.

Yo, free cocaine, come on in.

You know, I used the Strip for
many other things that had
nothing to do with my craft.

The Strip, you know, for me
was a source of--

It's hard to delineate what was
just fun and recreation...

and what was like, I should die
tonight, but I made it through,
you know.

John Belushi careened
at a breakneck pace...

between the irreverent
and the outrageous.

It was not only his comedy that
was unpredictable...

there was always a strong sense
that the act was a reflection
of the man...

and the man a bizarre
reflection of a generation.

Now John Belushi is dead.

The Chateau Marmont sits just
above Sunset Boulevard...

in the Hollywood Hills.

It is a landmark in this town.

A hotel where many actors
stay while in Los Angeles
and where some live.

John Belushi was among the
hotel's frequent visitors.

He had checked into bungalow
three last Sunday.

And it was in the bungalow's
master bedroom where Belushi
was found dead...

just after noon today.

We were kind of excited that
Belushi was popping in,
and then he did come in.

And he just looked like shit.

He just looked like hell.

He was trying so hard
not to do coke.

He actually had to hire people
to keep people with drugs
away from him.

On March 5th, 1982,
my partner passed away.

Or was taken by a, what we
can say is an accidental
drug overdose.

You know Belushi was
a workhorse.

He could smoke more than anybody
else. He could drink more
than anybody else.

He could eat more than anybody
else. He could take more drugs
than anybody else.

And Belushi died? I mean, people
were freaked.

And Richard Pryor
was one who was freaked.

And Paul Mooney, his writer
and dear friend...

who had tried so hard
to keep him sober...

had Richard up against the wall

"Man don't you get it? This is
what they're saying about you!"

Everybody thought
that would be you.

Richard Pryor was on the wagon.
Richard was clean.

I know what that means. I've
been on it a couple times.

Okay, good.

When Belushi came in,
loaded out of his mind...

he came up to me and said,
"Paul, is Pryor coming tonight?"

I said, "Yeah."

He said, "Well, I'm at the
Chateau Marmont."

Tell him to come to the house,

And then he left, and then
Richard came in, and I gave
the message.

I said, "Richard, don't go up
there to the Chateau Marmont...

"because they're all up there
and you're on the wagon, you'll
get offered it if you go there."

So you saved
Richard Pryor's life.

No, I said go home,
and he did go home.

That's for real. He went home
when the rest of it did happen.

Yeah, Richard would've went up
there and been in the middle
of all of it, too.

I don't know what to say to you,
you know? I mean, I see you
here, y'all look beautiful.

And I'm sober, and it's still
a strange feeling being sober...

because I got nothing to do
tonight but go to sleep.

Well, there are two instincts
we have, the instinct to live...

and the instinct to kill
ourselves. You do know that,
that's for everybody.


Living or dying in LA, it all
happens here it seems like.

Hey, man,
what is this place?

I got something better
for y'all.


You feel as though Jack Kerouc
was down in Venice Beach,
you know.

Or Jim Morrison was over here
and Otis Redding was over there.

And you feel like, yeah,
I'm a part of that and
it's sort of true...

and you're sort of blowing smoke
up your own ass, so.

But I think everybody had
a sense that we were
doing something.

Punk rock fans,
between '77 and '80...

you were making a flyer or you
made a fanzine, or you were
writing for Slash Magazine.

So in that way it
was very Bohemian.

'Cause people had jobs, but
they, that was secondary.

It was pretty crazy.
It was pretty scruffy.

You know, there was
a lot of runaways.

We were totally outside
of society and all the bands
were and the fans were.

We didn't fit in anywhere.

It was clique-ish.

But it was still us against
them, so the cliques
would unite...

against people from the outside,
and I think it was more

If one band succeeded a little
bit, it was good for all of us.

We'd be at a show, we'd say...

what's happening tomorrow night?

And everyone would congregate...

at that club the next night.

They'd have acts, you know,
The Bags and The Weirdoes and
The Germs.

And stage diving. It was packed.
A lot of noise, loud.

Angry, violent, Germs,
X were good, though.

It was an angry, violent scene.

In the punk rock days, hanging
around, the police would come
and clear everybody away.

You know, they seem to like the
hair bands, because they--
I don't know, they were--

Girls wore skimpy clothes
and the guys were loaded.

I don't know what--

The Sunset Strip! And it's time
to go round and round. Yeah.

Early 80's, '80, '81.

'81, '82.

It turned from the punkers
walking the streets and

into all the like rock bands,
like over a summer.

I mean, those were the good
days, because it was all new.

You know, we were just--

There's Sunset Boulevard...
have at it.

Between the Roxy and the
Whiskey, it was just like a
parade of freaks...

walking up and down Sunset.

Metal head!

The Rainbow being kind of the
epicenter of the whole thing,
the meeting place.

So there's like a whole scene
of people just like walking
from show to show.

Come in here to get a drink,
going to another show,
and it just...

It was like a street festival
every night.

I mean, there was a time
when hanging out in front
of all the venues...

was probably more fun than
actually being inside.

I mean, I would say the street
life of Sunset Strip was really,
really happening in the 80's.

All through the 80's,
actually it was great.

You didn't have to go anywhere,
you could just walk down
the street...

and it was fun, everyone was
hanging out, flyering,
it was good.

Poodle heads on the Strip.
It was a nightmare.

It was like post-Motley Crue
now, so it was a nightmare.

Pay to play,
that whole fucking nightmare.

Just when everyone would like--

What year?

This is 1988.

I moved here in '88,
that's when I moved here, yeah.

That's when like every
idiot wearing--

We're playing the Roxy April
7th, headlining, we have pins
for you.

But you gotta wear 'em.

There you go.
That's the band to see.

You really, if you wanted to
come to LA and you didn't have
anything to do...

you could just
come to the Sunset Strip...

and there were so many people.

Talk to people.

And people dressed crazy,
you know, of all different types
of rock genres.

It's just like toast.

Too many long-hairs. It's no
more punkers and turf rockers.

Too expanded, too much
of the same thing.

Too many glam dudes.

Yeah, yeah.

But it's basically just all sex,
just all sex.

That's the basic feeling along
the Strip, sex.

Sex and rock and roll, it's
total decadence, you know.

Total sex and decadence, you

There was that one point
in the 80's there where like...

people kind of stayed away from
the Strip because it was so that
like glam rock era thing...

you know what I mean?

So if you didn't have teased
hair or whatever...

they had kind of taken over
this whole part of the Strip.

Well, I think that's why we all
hung out here, because we
weren't in that scene.

Yeah, so we had to have a little
place to, you know, hide out.

We were lost in the past.

Ladies and gentlemen,
you fucking broke it,
you fucking bought it.

Give it up for Steel Panther!

It's been 11 years we've been on
the Sunset Strip.

Every single-- we're the longest
running heavy metal weekly

in the history of the
Sunset Strip.

I want to fuck some bitches
tonight, two, three, four.

Ugh! Like that.
That's fucking awesome.

If you're into heavy metal,
like we all four are...

it's the only place
to be is right here.

Right, or during the day,
you could, if you're not
doing anything...

you could go to the zoo.

It's just a place where you can
come and fucking be whoever you
want to be.

You can wear like lip gloss...
if you want.


I wear sparkly kind of lip
gloss, because sometimes the
lights glisten off of it.

Plus, the glistening, actually
it comes off on some of the
cocks that you suck.

You're an asshole.

Glistening kind of cocks.

Asshole, I was in jail.

'Cause that's his other band.

He's in a solo band called
Glistening Balls. Awesome!

The whole hair thing happened
with the hair bands.

100 of them, and I actually got
into that whole scene.

I had long hair, I had the
Harley Davidson.

I was in shape and I had a
couple of solo albums out...

and now this is pre-AIDS...

and all the birds
looked like strippers.

And it was great.

It was rocking, there were
people just up and down the

Everyone was making out flyers.
It was the best time.

I wasn't in that kind of band,
but I lived around here, loved
it around here always.

And that's what was
going on at the time.

It was truly rocking back then.

All the bands were kind of
in like a community.

Handing out flyers to their next
show, and every bar had
something going on in it.

That went on for about
four years maybe? Three
or four years...

And then Nirvana came along and
it all ended.

Then the whole grunge thing,
dirty looking people, started.

And just yeah, somehow
gave the perception...

that it was uncool to be,
you know, here.

Which was-- we all know
it's all the same stuff.

Instead of spandex, it's
flannel, it's all the same,
it's-- you know?

But that is a time and it's
because people dying of drugs...

and people getting AIDS,
that time is just gone...

because when you hear the term
"sex, drugs and rock
and roll"...

that was it, I mean, that
really, really, really was it.

That was the last time it was
like that on the Strip.

And people won't-- now it's not
cool to say hey, I got drugs.

You're like, yeah, you're a

It felt real hollowed out.

People would come back and be
like, you guys want to do some

And I'd be like, no, and they'd
be like kind of depressed, like
nobody to party with, you know?

Grunge at that time, although it
seems very cozy and cute now...

completely anhilated everything
that hair metal stood for.

It was sort of a joke. It was
more like cartoon characters
coming through the door.

We didn't want to be part of the
cartoon. We were sort of blowing
the cartoon up.

And so the Sunset Strip
we encountered was the sad-face
clown version of it.

You know, like, it used to be
so much fun, now it's not
fun anymore.

When grunge took over metal,
and it did, it really knocked
it out.

We were kind of--

Why do you keep saying that?
You keep reminding--

It's like having-- being dumped
by a girlfriend...

and somebody keeps bringing it
up, how you got dumped by your

Well, this is how--

It's been 20 fucking years.

I don't want to hear that

Let me finish, Jesus!

I swear, I see people walking up
and down Sunset Strip...

I'm like, seriously, have you
been in a fucking time capsule?

I mean, there's been so many
different generations of things
that have gone on in music...

and things that have happened
but you still stuck in like 80's
hair metal bands.

And that's kind of what I love
about the Strip...

because it's, you know what
you're getting.


What I wanted out of the
Viper Room, I mean, first
and foremost...

wouldn't it be great to have...

a place that you could go
to where...

you weren't necessarily...

on display all the time...

or you didn't feel like
a novelty, you know?

Um, you didn't have to sneak
in and sneak out...

you know, hide, all that, and
you could listen to the music...

you know, that you
and your friends like.

We wanted to hear Louis Jordan
and we wanted to hear
Cab Calloway.

And we wanted to hear old blues,
Robert Johnson and Howlin' Wolf.

So that was the initial thing,
you know.

Let's make this place feel like
it should have been or like
maybe it was back then...

you know, in the 30's,
a speak-easy.

It was called The Melody Room
then, which is at that time...

I mean, the people that I heard,
that had played there were like,
you know...

Charlie Parker, Coltraine,
you know, all these amazing,
amazing players...

from back in the day,
you know?

So, yeah, we were all very
excited about the history
of the place.

It was a really cool time, it
was definitely something that
was so different.

The Viper Room paved the way for
everything from where I am today
with the Pussycat Dolls.

There's something so amazing
about the intimacy performing
for such a small crowd.

And every single person
is just feeling it.

The Pussycat Dolls started as an
underground cabaret act really.

I remember Johnny saying this
is why I opened the club.

This is-- I wanted this,
you know?

And it had only been open
for like six months.

He said, oh, I'd love for you
guys to come and perform here
and maybe...

you can do like once a week kind
of residency, and I'm like, oh,
my god, this is amazing.

And that's how it started,
and then we were there
for ten years.

Johnny helped me live out my
dream, and it might sound

but it's real, that is real.

Young film star River

died early today outside
a popular West Hollywood

Among the films...

He came with his girlfriend
and his guitar.

He wanted to play music.

You know, for me, you couldn't
erase what had happened.

You couldn't erase the memory,
you couldn't erase the tragedy.

And also this place that was...

basically just a bar, a club...

that started for
all the right reasons.

Suddenly there was
this cloak over it, you know.

I mean, talk about mystique,
talk about, you know...

the idea that wow, you know,
there's something weird
at the Vipor Room.

It became this kind of dark
entity for a lot of people,
you know, it's mystery...

that they, you know, you know,
for (all of us) there's
something evil there.

There's something weird there,
you know?

And when Johnny Cash
came and played in '94
I believe it was...

It was like a great cleansing.

It was like he'd performed this,
this exorcism.


♪ I got a friend
Named Whiskey Sam ♪

♪ He was my boonie rat buddy
For a year in 'Nam ♪

♪ He said I think my country
Got a little off track ♪

♪ Took him 25 years
To welcome me back ♪

♪ But it's better than not
Coming back at all ♪

♪ Many a good man I saw fall ♪

♪ And even now every time
I dream ♪

♪ I hear the men and the
Monkeys in the jungle scream ♪

♪ Drive on it don't mean
Nothing it don't mean nothing ♪

♪ Drive on ♪

Thank you.

You really start to have a
history with these people.

You see people come, you see
people go, you see people sadly
die, you see people succeed.

And it's all happening
in one place.


♪ 13 men and me the only
Gal in town ♪

♪ There were 13 men and me
The only gal in town ♪

This club means so much to me,
because it was not only on the
Sunset Strip...

but it's the first place
I ever actually sang in my life.

♪ I won't tell you where
I've been ♪

♪ 'Cause if it's just a dream
I hope to dream it again ♪

I did everything for the first
time on Sunset Strip.


I even feel like I probably--
yeah, I lost my virginity on the
Sunset Strip even.

I had my first getting drunk,
I went to my first club.

We weren't Hollywood kids,
we were Sunset Strip kids.


♪ Friday night
The weekend crowd

♪ Move on in to get on down
On Sunset ♪


♪ Sunset people ♪

♪ Sunset people ♪

♪ Sunset people ♪

It used to be so much fun.
I used to love going out
on the Sunset Strip.



No doubt.

It's all paparazzi down here.

We all used to be able
to roll around...

and the guys that moved up here,
and got their houses here.

You weren't worried
about being followed home.

You didn't worry about where
you lived. You had people over.

It just was pretty provincial.

And I've seen plenty of people
become prisoners of their own

But I also do think there is a
debasing of it on the strip.

The paparazzi culture and the
tabloid culture has changed

You leave your house now, you go
to get a hot dog, it's a press

So a lot of folks don't
want to go anywhere.


It is what it is, and I came up
here and I call this home.

So even if it was just a bunch
of burned out shop windows...

and whatnot, I'd still feel
a sense of belonging here and
all that.

I think one of the biggest
things that changed you know,
Tower Records closing.

That was a major, that was when
you really had to accept that
things have changed...

massively in this town.

The Tower Records, even from
when I was a little kid...

was like almost a home
away from home.

And a lot of people, tons of
people sort of identified with
Tower Records...

as being the music store that we
all used to hang out at.

There was conversation,

There was nothing like driving
out of that parking lot and
holding up the CD...

on my way out when my friend
was going in and being like,
I got it.

You know, and that was, you
know, things were more local.

They were more in--
you know, right here.

Tower was much more
than a record store.

It was really a haven for music
lovers everywhere.

Just seeing the listening

Seeing the
immersion in music.

It was so special, so that the
original Spago, right across
the street.

I would go there with my
family or colleagues...

and immediately go into that
parking lot and spend an hour
or two hours there.

When you're used to seeing
a certain building with a
certain color...

it's imbedded in your psyche.

And you go there and it's just
gone. It's like, what happened,
you know?

Like something blew it up or
something? You know, it's just,
it was sad, very, very sad.

When Tower Records closed,
I think...

that was definitive proof that
Sunset Strip changed forever.

The places do go
every 20, 25 years.

The same places ain't going
to be there...

but the streets gonna always
connect to heaven or hell
or where you're gonna go.

I could've ended up
living in Ohio...

and my dad owned the
hardware store on the corner...

and he said son get down here,
you're on the register today.

It just happened to be on
Sunset Strip and Guns N'Roses
was playing.

The artists, the manager,
all those people should be
treated better.

That was why the Roxy opened.

But Elmer had done that at the
Whisky for years before that.

And Nic has seen it,
seen how it was operated.

And it was very easy for him
to then be that kind
of a club owner.

Then at the end of the day you
have the Rainbow, which is
a combination of our family.

And then you have the Roxy is a
family business and the Whisky
is a family business.

And Tenmasa, the Japanese
restaurant is a family business
and believe it or not...

Hustler, they live in the
community, they're a family

and the Cat Club's a family
business and not for a year
or two years or five years...

but for 20 years and 30 years.

It's like this tree and the
roots of this tree...

and how this handful
of families have now...

our generation led to our kids'
generation, and then it's going
to go again, hopefully.

So it's like all these
generations of us have
grown up together...

and if you were to do like a
family tree of Sunset, it would
be very incestuous.

I think we all kind of realized
that we are a family.

And it's pretty cool to see
you know, the clubs initially
made the Strip.

Now it seems as if the Strip and
its history is making the clubs.

I think we were kind of forced
to make it something that we
thought was cool.

And something that we were all
into and not something our
parents showed us...

or grandparents showed us.
It was like, we want to make
this our thing.

It took for a new generation to
come in and make that happen...

machine and we were churning.e a

It just kind of wore on itself
and then we kind of looked
and was like...

Oh, well we actually have to
start discovering music again.

It seems like there's a new
iteration of the essential

of what the Sunset Strip
represents every few years.

I don't whether there
ever will be again.

We're now at a place where it's
sort of sponsored and

and the Sunset Strip has
just become like a kind
of museum in a sense.

I'd love to think that it
could be revived and reborn
in some way...

but I'm not quite sure how
that's going to happen.


I've been playing on this street
now almost 20 years.

It's not the same as just
playing in another
show in a city.

It's a place where you can
measure things against
other things.

Maybe that's not always
a public understanding.

But, personally it means

She's probably like some
rumbling going on under there...

it's going to burst
out again anytime. It has to.

Because of the incredible
history and energy that's
boiling up underneath here...

and will always be here.

It was creepy and exciting,
really dangerous, you know?

Like tonight we were going
to bring a little bit
of that back, man.

We're going to suspend some
women from the ceiling
by their flesh.


The person that comes in tonight
and is standing in the
front row...

and is looking
at their favorite artist...

and they can't believe that they
can touch their shoe and they
can hold their hand...

and that's all that matters,
that one moment.

You know, and that moment will
live with them forever.

And they'll look back and
say it's never going to be
like that.

You know, it'll never be that
great, but in that same

someone's reliving that

There's another 23-year-old
kid that's standing
in the front row...

and having the greatest music
moment of their life.

And then that's going to happen
again the next night.

And I think that's been
happening, probably for--

Since Frank Sinatra.



God has provided a place where
you can make mistakes, be hated,
be loved...

be ignored, and then come back,
just because it's within
your right...

as a magical human being
to do so.

You make your last stand in
Eden. And this is Eden.


♪ We was a-d-d-d-drivin'
D-downtown L.A. ♪

♪ About a midnight hour
And it almost b-blew my mind ♪

♪ I got caught
in a colored shower ♪

♪ All those lights were
t-t-twinkling on Sunset ♪

♪ I saw a sign in the sky ♪

♪ It said T-t-t-trip a t-trip,
I trip, trip ♪

♪ I couldn't keep up up
if I tried ♪

♪ Ah we stopped down
To reality company ♪

♪ To get some instant sleep ♪

♪ And the driver turned
I said welcome back ♪

♪ He smiled and he said
Beep beep ♪

♪ What goes on
Chick-a-chick ♪

♪ What goes on
I really wanna know ♪

♪ What goes on all around me
What goes on ♪

♪ I really wanna know ♪

♪ When in should come-a
My dream woman ♪

♪ She got sequins in her hair ♪

♪ Like she stepped out
Off of a Fellini film ♪

Straw chair ♪a white

♪ But I thought I'd take a
Second look ♪

I could see ♪ what

♪ And my scene had popped out
Like a bubble does ♪

♪ There was nobody there
But me ♪

♪ I said Girl you drank a lot
Of drink-me ♪

♪ But you ain't
In a Wonderland ♪

♪ You know I might-a be there
To greet you child ♪

♪ When your trippin' ship
touches sand ♪

♪ What goes on
Chick-a-chick ♪

♪ What goes on
I really wanna know ♪

♪ What goes on
Chick-a-chick ♪

♪ What goes on
I really wanna know ♪

♪ A silver goblet of wine ♪

♪ Is-a to be held
In a bejewelled glove ♪

♪ And her knights they toast ♪




♪ What goes on?
Chick-a-chick ♪

♪ What goes on
I really wanna know ♪

♪ What goes on all around me ♪

♪ What goes on
I really wanna know ♪

Well, come on!



One, two, three, four!