Monday, June 3, 2019

MansonBlog Tour 2019: The Whisky A Go Go

An opportunity arose when Jake, who works at The Whisky A Go Go called the MansonBlog bus (seriously) and offered us access while it was closed. Naturally, we jumped at it.

We were particularly taken by the size - or lack thereof. It's small inside - but the history is B I G. Performers have included Iggy And The Stooges, Alice Cooper, The Doors, No Doubt, System of a Down, The Byrds, The Germs, Buffalo Springfield, Steppenwolf, Van Halen, Johnny Rivers, X, Led Zeppelin, KISS, Guns N' Roses, Death, AC/DC, Linkin Park, and Mötley Crüe. In 2006, the venue was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

BTW, Dreath is a walking, breathing rock and roll encyclopedia.

The venue has some Manson connections too. You may recall this passage from Guinn's book:
As they moved toward it Manson broke away, saying that he wanted to dance. Charlie couldn't have chosen a more certain means of receiving his comeuppance. Few stylishly dressed, celebrity-obsessed girls at the Whisky would deign to dance with a short, scruffy nobody, and even if Manson did somehow make it onto the dance floor he'd just be one more body crammed in there. Had any of them been in a more generous frame of mind, Wilson, Melcher, or Jakobson could have escorted Manson down; dance space was always made for stars and their sidekicks. But they were content to let Charlie flounder on his own. Soon enough he'd slink over to their booth, chastened by an unmistakable reminder that, for all his philosophical prattling and grandiose dreams of rock stardom, at least for now he remained an insignificant speck in the L.A. galaxy. Manson disappeared into the crowd, and the three friends sipped drinks and chatted until they were startled by a commotion. Looking around, they saw something unique in the history of the Whisky a Go Go: Instead of vying to get on, everyone was struggling to clear off the hallowed dance floor, where they had been packed in so tightly that they now had trouble squirming apart. 
Melcher, Jakobson, and Wilson exchanged puzzled glances. They stood up to get a better look, and that was when they saw that smack in the middle of the floor a single figure remained—Charlie Manson, gyrating to the music. His dancing grew increasingly maniacal; he tipped back his head and threw out his arms and they agreed later that it seemed as though electrical sparks flew from Charlie's fingers and hair. The crowd had surged off the dance floor as if driven from it by some irresistible force field. Now it circled the floor, mesmerized by the sight of the whirling dervish who seemed oblivious to everything but the pulsating beat. 
Over the past weeks, Wilson, Jakobson, and Melcher had seen Manson effortlessly enthrall small gatherings at meals or parties. Until this moment they had no idea that he could extend his magnetism and dominate a much larger audience, let alone a jaded one like the regulars at the Whisky. It was one thing for Charlie to convince a string of needy female hangers-on that he was an all-knowing guru who must be worshipped and obeyed. But these were hipsters whose self-images depended in large part on not acting impressed by anyone other than the biggest stars. Now they openly gawked at someone who only moments before would have seemed the unlikeliest candidate to command their rapt attention. It was a reaction far beyond deference, Jakobson thought. This approached awe. "That was when we realized that he was really something different, that time at the Whisky," Jakobson said almost forty-five years later. "Anytime, anywhere, that Charlie decided to be the center of attention, he could be. At the Whisky, everybody thought that they had seen it all. "Until that night, when they saw Charlie."
This video contains interview footage which includes both John Densmore and Ray Manzarek talking about their memories of The Whisky A Go Go sandwiched around audio recorded performances there. Very worth the watch:



What it looks like today:






















Thanks, Jake!!!



49 comments:

Mon Durphy said...

I remember reading that story by Jakobsen on Manson direct and just like Guinness said in a matter of a couple of minutes Charlie had the floor to himself with pretty much everyone in the place watching him

Mon Durphy said...

Guinn not Guinness

Crazy Beens said...

Great pictures. Much smaller place than I had pictured in my mind for some reason. I actually watched the Doors documentary posted a few weeks ago. A lot of great history. Great post.

Robert C said...

This place is legendary beyond belief. Thanks for the interior pics.

Speaking of legend, the "myth of manson" continues to pervade even though oddly it had no effect while in prison. In fact he got his ass kicked numerous times and otherwise threatened to shut-up. I guess people on acid are much more entertained by a psychopath than those in prison experiencing a different reality.

Robert C said...

And to add that is one of the better recordings of "Light My Fire" -- very mesmerizing and I think I even caught a glimpse of Joey Heatherton doing a vigorous dance jerk of the day.

David said...

Matt,

You didn't tell the Manson story Jake told us.

Per Jake, if I recall correctly, Manson was seated in that first booth there and insulted one of the waitresses saying something about her appearance or her weight (can't remember which). The owner caught wind of it and had him removed, physically. When Manson hit the sidewalk he said something to the effect that 'you just threw Jesus Christ out of your bar' to which the bouncer (owner?) responded "then I must be God". Truth or legend, who knows, don't blame Jake, he wasn't there.

There is a different version here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/arts/music/mario-maglieri-dead-ran-whisky-a-go-go.html

Jake's version may appear in the book Straight Whiskey, which does get blasted.

I don't know, I wasn't there, either.

For me this visit was the highlight of the tour.

Dan S said...

I'll be playing there in October with hell on wheels. Anyone wants guest tickets hit me up. I'll remind y'all when we get a date and it's less than a month away. It is a great stage

Dan S said...

"I could have you killed" lol. Everyone knows Charlie would ask you to kill him first

Matthew Record said...

Who is the guy in the last photo?

Matt said...

Jake...


Mon Durphy said...
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Unknown said...

I can’t believe how small it is!!!!

DebS said...

Governor Newsom has reversed the parole board's decision to release Leslie Van Houten.

https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-me-ln-newsom-leslie-van-houten-20190603-story.html

Mon Durphy said...
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Crazy Beens said...

Understable. Yet Chicago over past weekend there was a huge surge of violence. Shootings, murders, gun charges. Most of those arrested have already been released from what I read. People really think Leslie is going to find a new Tex and terrorize the nation again? Yet they can't figure out how to stop the violence in Chicago.

Milly James said...

I believe Lemmy used to hang out there...

starviego said...

DebS said...
"Governor Newsom has reversed the parole board's decision to release Leslie Van Houten."

What do you expect from a @#&%! politician? I'll bet he feels all good about himself protecting the public from a little old lady who has long since paid for her crime.

Mon Durphy said...
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Doug said...

Lemmy's priority hangout was the Rainbow, at the bar, playing video trivia.

I never played the Whiskey myself...Bido Lito's (as the Gaslight), Bar DeLuxe, Headkine Records, Shamrock, Al's Bar, Madame Wongs, Stardust, Olympic Ballroom, Club With No Name, Coconut Teazer, Rajis, Club Lingerie, Mr Ts Bowl, Spaceland, HELTER SKELTER...and, alas, no Whiskey...didn't rate!

Lol

Doug said...

Awesome Dan!!
Wish I wasn't in Vancouver...have a great gig

Doug said...

Headline...don't rate ss a spelling wiz either

starviego said...

In the '70s, the Starwood was where it was at.

Doug said...

Forgot Anti-Club

Doug said...

HEAVY Wonderland connections too
(perfect for the 2019 Mansonblog Tour!!!)

beauders said...

I agree she wouldn’t jaywalk if released but Newsom is going to be President one day.He is thinking of his future political ambitions.

Crazy Beens said...

You got a point. Dead celebrities though...the boogie man. Kid mumbler rappers killing other kids over Instagram beefs. Or just out of boredom. You never hear about innocent bystanders not involved in that life getting killed in cross fire.
There is a video on YouTube where Snoop Dogg is talking about how they put to death Tookie Williams while Charles Manson got to live after cutting a baby out of Sharon Tate.
Maybe it all really did start out wanting to start a race war?

Rock N. Roll said...

The Whisky is incredible. I saw the Doors there with my Dad in the 60’s. In the 70’s I hung out there quite a lot seeing Tom Petty, Blondie, Ramona’s, Devo, X. One night Lita Ford was throwing cherries off the roof saying the guy who caught it in their mouth could come up on the roof with them. In the 80’s I had a boyfriend who band played there often. I used to walk around backstage imagining all the incredible bands that played there.

Jenn said...
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Jenn said...

Blogger Unknown said...
“I can’t believe how small it is!!!!”

I know. The legendary places on the Strip and nearby are all smaller than most folks imagine. They are really basically nightclubs, after all, not arenas. The Whiskey, The Troubadour, Gazzarii’s, the now gone (or soon to be) Viper Room, etc.

Milly James said...

Cheers Doug. Madame Wongs sounds an interesting establishment.

Matt said...

I like Gavin Newsom but you'd think a seasoned politician could come up with a more believable public statement than that. "Unreasonable danger to society"?!?


Matthew Record said...
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Matthew Record said...

How on earth could 69 year old Leslie be a danger to society?
At least Jerry Brown used section 2281 for his reasoning.

Commitment Offense. The prisoner committed the offense in an especially heinous, atrocious or cruel manner. The factors to be considered include:

(A) Multiple victims were attacked, injured or killed in the same or separate incidents.
(B) The offense was carried out in a dispassionate and calculated manner, such as an execution-style murder.
(C) The victim was abused, defiled or mutilated during or after the offense.
(D) The offense was carried out in a manner which demonstrates an exceptionally callous disregard for human suffering.
(E) The motive for the crime is inexplicable or very trivial in relation to the offense.

Mon Durphy said...

Wasn't that an Eddie Nash club?

Mon Durphy said...

That will never happen, Newsom is far too liberal for the flyover states to vote for, for most of her career Hillary was a centrist Democrat so that's why she still pulled a decent amount of mid America and even Obama showed he could be strong when it was needed, Newsom would be a doormat like the clown in Canada right now

Mon Durphy said...

Nothing personal Starviego but would you feel the same about Leslie if it was your wife, mother, sister, etc that she killed?

Rock N. Roll said...

The Starwood was an Eddie Nash club. A fun club I liked as a teenager. I think I saw Rick Derringer there.....

starviego said...

Mon Durphy said...
"Nothing personal Starviego but would you feel the same about Leslie if it was your wife, mother, sister, etc that she killed?"

Probably not. But as a citizen I realize there are good reasons we eventually let most violent offenders go. And singling the Mansonoids out for special punishment seems to be a violation of the 12th Amendment "equal protection under the law" clause.

CarolMR said...

Sharon met Jay at Whisky a Go Go.

Kathleen diGregorio said...

Thank you Governor for the state of CA - that inmate and cold prison are a sweet match for one another!

Mon Durphy said...

Eddie lived up in Laurel Canyon too I think, the house Launius and Lind held him up and stole his drugs, guns and money, that Wonderland death scene made Cielo look like 2 kids fought in the sandbox

Matthew Record said...

Mon Durphy said...

Eddie lived up in Laurel Canyon too I think, the house Launius and Lind held him up and stole his drugs, guns and money, that Wonderland death scene made Cielo look like 2 kids fought in the sandbox

Yeah, they were clubbed to death with pipes and hammers..

Dan S said...

Didn't rate lol. Gotta sell 60 tickets to break even. Mega racket for old rockers. There's a statue of lemmy in the rainbow now. We usually play there the same weekend up on the dance floor

all8 said...

Threaded pipes at that

Mon Durphy said...

Set up by good ol Long John Holmes lol

Doug said...

@ Mon Durphy - Yes it was an "Eddie Nash" Club

Doug said...

Amazing!
I was a very small part of one fairly debauched event that began at the Whiskey and ended at the Starwood. Why on earth a vehicle was being driven or, needed at all, is just insanity...but, key to the craziness...

I was just shy of 16yrs old and on a brief West Coast "starvation" punk rock tour and, ended up as 3rd wheel with Black Flag's first two vocalists - Keith Morris and, Ron Reyes. First time I tried the evil white powder was with Keith on that weekend...Ron was "sober" as he was a beer guy and, not into drugs at all. Keith was at his party best at this time, I was game but more I to weed and run n cokes and, not cokane in my brane

So Ron drives. His (El Monte) Rambler. He sees David Lee Roth in his drunk Puerto Rican radar. Keith spots him. I am in the back seat so it took me longer to notice DLR but we were on a mission...it was Death Roth 2000. We had Dave on the run. Loss of Control...nearly DOA. Took him around 20 mins to elude us. We had driven maybe 2 blocks. We get to the Starwood (not a long way from the Whiskey) and, Keith wants us to seek out Top Jimmy for more party favors. We find TJ who is in deep dialogue with Diamond Dave. Roth is peaking about some "straight up crazy mo-fo hitmen" who were trying to snuff him out by vehicular means

We couldn't hold back our laughter and, we all lost it. Dave had no idea. We told him and Top Jimmy how we'd been messing with DLR.

His solution...he took us out for more craziness and, we were fast friends. For one nutty evening.

Dave thought we were awesome.

Hollyweird

Keith - sober
Me - basically sober
Ron - 2 beer Ronnie lol
Top Jimmy RIP
Dave....

Panamint Patty said...

See what really happened is stoner got us access because he is a people person. Jake took stoners tour and watches stoner on Instagram, hence the invite. Think what you will about my boyfriend. He's a good man and a shitload of fun!

David said...

Panamint Patty said: "Think what you will about my boyfriend. He's a good man and a shitload of fun!"

Indeed he is. I can corroborate that statement. Just don't turn the light on twice in the middle of the night (even if technically you didn't turn it on).