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How many of you moved to LA with high music expectations?

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by Dr_Willie_OBGYN, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    How many of you moved to Hollywood with high expectations to join or put a band together within a month or two and rise to the top of the club circuit in short order? How did that turn out?
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Close enough, in 92 I had all my ducks in order, Warner LA and Music West Vancouver supporting me. When the buzz was happening, our ticket to ride was all in place the lead singer decided to take a permanent holiday and sail around the world to rethink life lol..
    Needless to say, I went from creating our music to cover songs in a month and it took another 8 years to get back in the game. Thus, how RO was created. I went from tape to Pro Tools and decided to ask the planet what they thought about it all.

    Life... and the music business, what a racket.
  3. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    I really wish Trance music was prominent when I moved to LA in '87. Then I would have been a 1-man band since I'm all about composing and less about paying an instrument. Trying to find the right musicians and ones who are into the same music as you was and will always be a challenge.

    Arriving in Hollywood was a shock too -- a dump with crack heads and homeless. Not the palm trees and finely manicured lawns that you see on TV.
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    The distance between the manicured lawns and mansions of Pacific Palisades, and the beautiful ocean fronts of Santa Monica and Malibu, is a very short distance from the grit and grime of Hollywood. ;)
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    With internet the world is getting smaller for artistic attention. You could become famous from anywhere on the planet. LA and Nashville are legendary places because that's where people went to record a long time ago. Many studio as closed doors since then and game is changing.
    I don't say it's impossible but going there do not warranty fame and succes. In fact if you are doing music for fame and succes, you are not an artist I would want to work with.

    Celine Dion was well known in Quebec from young age before becoming a world famous
    Avril Lavigne, Rush and what about the beatles ?? They weren't form LA do they ?

    Be passionate learn the art and perform the best you can. Have a website and a good facebook and twitter community. Give some songs for free and post on youtube. If you get 1 million hits on any internet media, I bet you'll get a call from some producers ;)

    Dreams get real or broken anywhere in the world
    Just my honest opinion ;)
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    "...LA and Nashville are legendary places because that's where people went to record a long time ago..."

    The thing with L.A., at it's peak, which is arguably around 1964-1972 or so, was that it was the place you kind of had to be, if you wanted to be discovered as a rock and roll band or artist.

    Clubs on the The Strip - places like The Roxy, The Whiskey, The Hullabaloo Club, etc. were "rites of passage" places where bands like The Doors, The Turtles, The Mama's and The Papa's, and The Byrds all got their start, and where they were discovered.

    Other bands followed, like Three Dog Night, Alice Cooper, and later, into the 70's, Jackson Browne, the early Eagles, and Van Halen. All of these bands got their start - and eventually their record deals - by playing The Strip, because A&R Reps, Label Execs and Producers used to frequent those clubs all the time looking for new talent.

    Both Elton John's and Neil Diamond's big break outs happened in 1969 -1971 - as a result of playing shows at Doug Weston's Troubadour in West L.A.

    Eventually, most of those musicians who were discovered on The Strip ended up living in Laurel Canyon, and that had its own scene and vibe.

    Joanie Mitchell, Graham Nash, Jim Morrison, Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Alice Cooper, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Frank Zappa, Mama Cass -and even Mickie Dolenz from The Monkees - all ended up living in The Canyon at the same time.

    Mitchell talked about that time in an interview, she recalled sitting on her front porch, and listening to Jackson Browne two houses away, singing and refining his songs; he was living in the upper half of a house, up above two other young artists named Glen Frey and Don Henley, who were also writing and rehearsing their own material. Frank Zappa had a kind of "open door" policy at his house/studio a few hundred yards away, and you could record there as long as you agreed to chop wood, clean the house, do some laundry. If you were an accomplished musician, it was even better, you could pay your keep by playing on sessions.

    That must have been quite something to experience.
    pcrecord likes this.
  7. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    Agreed that nowadays you can stay right where you are if you have the musicians around you to complete your band. Back in 1987 it was different if you wanted exposure. And if you didn't have a band put together then LA was a hot bed gathering place for musicians. It still is, but definitely nowhere close to as jam packed as it used to be.

    I'm sure '64 to '72 was big but during the 80's the metal scene was huge too. Ratt, Motley Crue, Guns 'n Roses, Poison, LA Guns, VH, Quiet Riot, and so many other bands. Warrant and Jane's Addiction were about the last "metal" bands to capitalize on the label feeding frenzy and have success. The Sunset Strip sidewalk was a "club" in and of itself with mobs of people walking around and hanging out.
    pcrecord likes this.
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    There's no doubt about it. That big-hair metal scene was huge - right up until the moment that Grunge came knocking on the door. Metal's demise happened fairly quickly at that point.

    I knew Jani Lane (John Oswald) from Warrant fairly well, we came up at about the same time in the same town (Akron), played the same clubs, worked at the same studios as artists.
    The last time I ran into him was at a post office; he was back in town visiting family ( he died shortly after) we talked a bit, reminisced a little, asked each other about mutual friends, and he told me that things changed, almost overnight, when grunge hit the scene. He said that it was almost as if "someone had flipped a switch", and almost immediately, no one cared about those pop-metal bands anymore, including the club owners and the record label reps.

    The whole "pay to play" thing was also a big part of the beginning of the end of The Strip as it had been "known" up to that point.

    Bands would rent the room (The Whiskey, Madam Wongs, Roxy, etc) from the owners, and then sell tickets to their gigs to try and recoup that fee. The intent was to try and get as many label and management reps as possible to come see your gig. Many bands sweetened the deal for those guys with promises of free blow and girls, if the reps would attend. Sometimes it worked, but most of the time, the reps showed up just for the powder and the chicks, and didn't much care about your band one way or the other, unless you had packed the joint several nights in a row. And after Grunge, they didn't care at all. They were getting on planes and heading for Seattle.

    Those bands you mentioned were good - although I don't know if they were really any better than many of the other "unknown" bands - but I would bet that each of them would likely tell you that there was a fairly large percentage of "luck" involved in them getting discovered and signed, along with being at the right place at the right time with the right guy. ;)
    bigtree and pcrecord like this.
  9. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    Having grown up in LA's San Fernando Valley suburb, I turned 17 in 1965 and shortly thereafter joined a band with some other guys from the Valley. We started out playing parties and what not. We were underage so couldn't play places like The Whiskey, but we found an entrance to the Sunset Strip club scene through the all-ages club called Pandora's Box. After a while we became their Friday night house band.
    Eventually, we entered several "Battle-of the-Band" events at The Hullabaloo club which led to us getting regular gigs there alongside the Palace Guard (house band), the Yellow Payges and other popular local groups. Eventually, as our name and following grew, we got gigs opening for the likes of The Doors (@ The Cheetah Club), The Jefferson Airplane (@ UC Santa Barbara), the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Wilson Picket. That doesn't make me a great musician, just a great name-dropper!
    We were courted by a record label but never signed, so for us, it was "Always the Best Man, never The Groom".
    But to be responsive to the OP, all this occurred without us having ANY expectation going in... it was more the result of the revolution in music that was happening and being geographically at the epicenter.
    I moved from LA on my 21st birthday and never looked back, finding a much more laid-back lifestyle here in the Pacific Northwest.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Nice one Jeff! Thanks for sharing that.
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Outstanding! Wow... what a great post. Thanks so much for sharing this, Jeff. House Band at Pandora's? How fantastically cool is that?? :) :)

    I take it you were around for the Sunset Strip curfew riots, then?
  12. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    I saw Warrant play at the Troubador. That was their last gig before they got signed. That was also the last time I ever went to the Troubador (LOL).

    Bullet Boys was another one of those last LA metal bands to get signed and have at least some success. I remember they got signed and produced by Ted Templeman before they had even played a single gig!

    I always remember the Roxy being pay to play. The Whiskey as well although you could play the No Bozo Jam night on Monday for free. Gazarri's was also pay to play although I never thought highly of that place.

    By about 1995 I remember hearing about small little hole in the wall clubs becoming pay-to-play.

    I'm don't know but I'll bet that the Roxy and Whiskey are still pay to play. Promoters rent the place and there's always a supply of stupid bands willing to pay.
  13. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member


    We weren't playing the night of the riot, but a couple of our guys were there. I may have been there... if I was, I don't remember it!
  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Apparently, Mike Nesmith wrote this song about The Strip... (Mickie Dolenz sings, and, used a Moog in the sesson... he was the first musician to actually own one). I always liked this track. Kinda spooky.

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SCWRjWOowkc
    thatjeffguy likes this.
  15. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

  16. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Darkened rolling figures move
    Through prisms of no color
    Hand in hand, they walk the night
    But never know each other

    Passion pastel neon lights
    Light up the jeweled trav'ler
    Who, lost in scenes of smoke filled dreams
    Find questions, but no answers

    Startled eyes that sometimes see
    Phantasmagoric splendor
    Pirouette down palsied paths
    With pennies for the vendor

    Salvation's yours for just the time
    It takes to pay the dancer
    Once again such anxious men
    Find questions, but no answers

    The night has gone
    And taken its infractions
    While reddened eyes
    Hope there will be a next one

    Sahara signs look down upon
    A world that glitters glibly
    And mountain sides put arms around
    The unsuspecting city

    Second hands that minds have slowed
    Are moving even faster
    Toward bringing down someone who's found
    The questions, but no answers

    Very groovy. Farm out, Man. Hey, don't Bogart that stick... ;)
    thatjeffguy likes this.
  17. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    It's funny because I still encounter dated sounding hard rock bands moving to Hollywood to get signed like it's friggin' 1987 or something. Interestingly they're usually from Europe. Places like Russia and Germany. And their music is always so bad it wouldn't even fly at the local club level in 1987. They'll hand me a flyer at the Rainbow like I still have the patience to stand and watch a local band play.
  18. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Really? I had no idea that was still going on. I thought that whole scene died with the first Pearl Jam or Nirvana album. LOL

    What's the style of these bands that are still doing this, Doc? Please don't tell me that they sound like Poison or Motley Crue... or, even worse... that they look like them.
  19. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    But ... but ... they RAWK!!!

    (Hail Santa)

  20. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    Hard core metal never really died. It has actually evolved.
    But every once in a while I encounter people doing this really dated sound.

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