During my recent trip to Los Angeles, I visited the historic Whisky A Go Go. The venue is so influential it was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Doors, Frank Zappa, Neil Diamond, Van Halen, and Guns N’ Roses (to name only a few) have performed on the sacred ground. Maybe more importantly, it introduced the world to the fine art of go go dancing.
I was lucky enough to attend the 100th Edition of The Ultimate Jam Night. Every Tuesday an all-star group of musicians gather to bring rock and roll back to the streets of Los Angeles. Most of these artists are from national touring groups, studio musicians, tribute bands, and local talent. Oh, and it’s free.
|Paulie Z and the house band|
The Master of Ceremonies, Paulie Z (Paul Zabildowsky), led the talented group of troubadours through a diverse set of rock classics. He started with the fitting AC/CD’s It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock N’ Roll) complete with bag pipes. Paul Z took center stage and filled the room with the essence of Bon Scott. Next was Cheap Trick’s Dream Police. The entire mixed crowd of old long haired rockers, young hipsters with aggressive piercings, and tourists (like me) sang along “‘Cause they’re waiting for me/Looking for me/Every single night/(They’re) driving me insane/Those men inside my brain.”
Jimmy Sakurai – All photos by
The Rock and Roll Princess
Survivor keyboardist Walter Ino belted out Paul McCartney’s Maybe I’m Amazed with the help of the lyrics in the monitor in front of him (cheater).
Joe Retta from Dio Disciples performed Rainbow’s Man on the Silver Mountain follow by Dio’s solo masterpiece Like a Rainbow in the Dark (one of the few dark metal songs about rainbows). Bass player and Kevin Dillion doppelgänger Sean McNabb backed the chaos. Besides playing in Quiet Riot and Dokken, McNabb played on the music tracks for the Dr. Phil Show and the McDonald’s I’m Loving It breakfast commercials.
Cherokee Fortune from Absinthe took the stage in her 1970’s inspired bell-bottoms to sing Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir. Two female violinists joined providing a fuller sound for the classic. Jimmy Sakurai from the Led Zeppelin tribute band Mr. Jimmy mesmerized the audience with his licks and tricks. He stole the show with his staggering moves, big hair, and open shirt (a little something for the ladies).
|Acid Queen Debby Holiday|
Los Angeles’ own soul rocker Debby Holiday embraced her inner Tina Turner with her take on Acid Queen from The Who’s Rock Opera Tommy. Holiday smoothly transitioned into the Ray Charles classic Don’t Need No Doctor. Guitarist Mitch Perry, who has performed with Edgar Winter, Cher, Lita Ford, and Ratt, played an extensive guitar solo intertwined with Holiday’s long braid dancing and sexual screaming.
Others joined the all-star band to play Ozzy Osborn, Metallica, Pat Benatar, and Pink Floyd covers. There wasn’t much down time between songs. Which is impressive due to the number of musicians that came and left throughout the night.
|Go Go Dancer Go Going|
A scantly clad go go dancer captured the crowd’s attention throughout the evening. Her style of dancing peaked at the Whisky A Go Go in 1965. The club pioneered the art form by being the first to have Go Go Cages suspended from the ceiling. The dancer that night was uncaged (probably because Los Angeles is a sanctuary city).
Paulie Z ended the night with The Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil. The forty-nine year old song still holds up after all these years just like the Whisky A Go Go.
See you at the next show. I’ll be the one looking for the go go dancer.