It's that time again when I come over to see my good friends on Fort Myers Beach for a few days, and then fly over Los Angeles, Cali., to see a big bunch more friends and contacts, as well as several cool bands in concert.
Don't you just love flying on planes someone moans in First Class that it's too warm, and then we all have to freeze to death. Anyway, after coffee and numerous peanuts and pretzels, I get down to Los Angeles Airport called LAX what's the "X" all about anyway?
I spend the first few days hanging out with a buddy up in Woodland Hills, which is further out than my usual habitat of West Hollywood's "Sunset Strip" area. The views from travelling up there are unbelievable with mountains and houses down in a beautifully greened-up canyon going by the name of Topanga, if I remember right, that takes me up through the famous Mulholland Drive and Van Nuys Boulevard.
Glenn and Quentin Tarantino during his last trip out to L.A. Photo courtesy GLENN ANDREW MILLIGAN.
Talking of things starting with "M," we end up going down to Malibu that's got some incredible views on the way down and even more when we get in there. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we take a break there and run into one of Kathy's friends, none other than Quentin Tarantino! He's a really down-to-earth pleasant guy and has even hung out with footballers back in Sheffield, U.K. close to where I come from.
Later that night, it's rock time further up the coast at Redondo Beach in a venue on The Pier called The Brixton. It seems we are the first peeps to get there though I'd sooner be early than late. My guitarist buddy, Ronny North, who was opening the night, rocked out some killer instrumental numbers that were in a similar vein to guys like Steve Vain and Joe Satriani, all rolled into one and then some
The next notable band was Silent Rage, who I've known for a good 10 years after they sent me their "Still Alive" album to review for Metalliville it's a tight, hard melodic hair rock with a hint of the south at times, with highlights being "Whiskey Woman" and "Rebel Without A Cause." They even thanked me after their gig, for taking some great pictures of them.
Headliners for the night, since ex-Poison guitarist, Ritchie Kotzen had to pull out, were Faster Pussycat who I missed last October, as I was still on this side of the country. Taime and his rock 'n' roll battalion of old-school hair metal with debut album classics like "Cathouse," "Bathroom Wall" and "Babylon" mixed in with darker-edged stuff from Taime Down's "Newlydeads" band, which more like Marilyn Manson's style. The man has so much coolness and treats the stage like his own living room that we've all been invited to smoking many a ciggy (cigarettes) throughout the gig.
After a good night and decent sleep, I decided to check out the Sunset Strip for the remainder of my stay, and thank my good friend for letting me stay the last few days. Luck and behold, I stop at my fave hotel for the next week or so, called "The Saharan," that I fully recommend. After the room is sorted, I make my way up to my favorite place, The Rainbow Bar and Grille, and who is there filming? None other than Cyndi Lauper so a photo and quick chat is inevitable. Great lady, indeed!
Now, without boring you too much about all the networking and scheduling I got done over the next few days while on The Strip, I had some sure fine nights in the 'Bow, as we call it, and run into a few more notable friends and rock stars, as you call them notably, original Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach, other cool peeps like Bridgitte and Mike, who I met upstairs, and "Where Angels Suffer" guitarist Chris Holmes.
I had the privilege of hanging out and interviewing the original voice of Toto, Bobby Kimball, who was an absolute joy to talk to as well discussing his background as a singer and life before, during and after Toto, and much, much more.
In the Rainbow, I met up with Mike Hansen, the drummer of the excellent hard-rock-hair-metallers Hurricane, who were part of the line up of the 40th Anniversary Party of the 'Bow itself. Another super person, as well.
Now, if you ever get a chance to walk up Runyan Canyon, I totally recommend the hike up there it's tough at times, as the steps are high, but the view is worth it. Erik Kluiber, former guitarist of Overload and White Wizzard, now of Gypsyhawk, took me up there and I got some amazing photos of the entire city and even a shot of the Hollywood sign that was virtually in the clouds. We also chatted about his career, which will be a real enlightening interview on the Metalliville.com Webzine.
And don't you just love total-chance meetings? If you're in the Valley, there is no telling who you're gonna bump into. That's how I met my awesome friend Megan Potts of Fort Myers. Believe it or not we met at the 'Bow (crazy or what?!), and later got a real nice photo with Jay Leno while waiting for our food orders at In/Out Burger.
The same night, a bunch of friends, Megan included, and I went to see Jack Russell's "Great White" at The Canyon Club in Augura Hills. I ran into his manager, who took me to meet Jack before the show backstage, where we had a photograph together.
There's been all sorts of stuff written from both Great White camps, but let me tell you, Mr. Russsell was bang-on form and didn't miss a note or single cue on that stage, swinging the mike and being a simple delight, where he and his band performed classic G.R. songs like "Face the Day," the famous cover "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" and many other kickin' songs from the man's career.
Oh, and we were treated to a bit of Led Zeppelin and some exquisite solos from his band members. They even did a meet-and-greet straight after the show, too!
Next night, it's back to the Rainbow again, where I amazingly run into some cool rocker dudes who are playing later that night (well, less than an hour away) at the Whiskey A Go-Go, just down the street.
So, via a longterm buddy of mine in Hollywood, he takes me to meet Whitesnake members Brian Tichey (drums) and guitarist Doug Aldrich not to mention Keith St. John (frontman of Montrose). I also have a quick chat with Rusty Miller, who was the drummer in another favourite band of mine called Hericane Alice, as well as former LA Guns/Pretty Boy Floyd member Kev Ratcliffe, who I also met via another Hollywood buddy of mine.
That night was a busy night indeed, as I am now checking out two gigs in one night that are taking place at the same time. The first was The Dreaming (at the famous Viper Room), who featured former Stabbing Westward frontman Christopher Hall, and drummer Johnny Haro, who played in Freak Of Nature with Mike Tramp (White Lion).
They play to a packed crowed who just can't get enough of the fresh and zesty metal that borderlines on the industrial edge at times they are exceptional and I wish I could have been there for the full gig.
It's a quick dash over to the Whiskey to witness even more precision playing from Keith St. John's Hard Rock Saints, featuring the said Whitesnake members, as well as bassist Michael Levan, who is also from David Coverdale's well-known outfit.
They crank out a mesmerizing collection of songs from bands they have been members of or are now we are talking the said W-starting band, Montrose, Foreigner and then some!
You can't spend all your time at the 'Bow okay, you can but in between that, it was necessary to go to the sands again and see the beaches of Malibu and Venice. Wow, what views you can get there as can be seen pure joys of what postcards are made of.
Anyway, I am getting withdrawal, so lets go back to the 'Bow again, where I meet up with rock drummer/TV presenter Athena Lee who is a diamond lady for sure. What's that? Wyatt C. Anderson, frontman of White Wizzard wants to meet up the next morning? I'm there, dude, and we have a good laugh and a fun-packed enjoyable interview for Metalliville.
This is followed by a meet-up with Scott Foster Harris of The League of Gentleman/Tracii Guns' "LA Guns," who Megan arranged to come out to see us on the last night in Los Angeles, and what a fine way to round it off.
A big thank-you to all my friends, contacts and colleagues for making my time in LA such a legendary one. See you all again soon!
Glenn Andrew Milligan is the editor and creator of the online webzine METALLIVILLE.com, the premier site for concert coverage, promotions and one-on-one interviews with some of the biggest rockers and celebrities in all metal history. Visit Metalliville.com for a free online subscription.