Archive for Pasadena

Break On Through

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Motley Crue
Tower Records : West Covina, CA
October 29, 1983

My buddy Rob and I were huge Crue fans growing up. We were fortunate enough to see some of their early and greatest shows during their climb to the top. One of our highlights was when we were crushed against the stage all night for the infamous New Years Evil show at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. In exchange for a ride to the show that night, we had to help set up a New Year’s party in the area…we ended up hitch-hiking home after the show. That’s dedication.

With the release of Shout At The Devil just a few weeks prior, Motley traded in theatrics such as igniting Nikki’s boots on fire for elaborate Road Warrior-esque stage designs. In a move to increase record sales, Elektra Records decided to set up an in-store appearance with Motley Crue. I don’t think they could boost sales any more than they were at…the record sold over two hundred thousand copies in its first two weeks of release. The band chose Tower Records in West Covina…Tommy Lee’s old stomping grounds.

This was the biggest event to come to the San Gabriel Valley since Van Halen played their last shows in Pasadena. Rob and I were lucky enough to convince my friend Howie to drive us there early. We got there around 9am and there were already fifty or so kids in line. As we jumped in line, we decided on what we would have the band sign for us. Getting the band to sign my Leather Records version of Too Fast For Love was my priority that day.

By noon there must have been 500 kids there, the parking lot was a mess – kids everywhere, cars backed up. Panic started to take over the store management. It was obvious that they did not expect numbers like this. The manager screamed at us through a bullhorn to clear the parking lot, to make a single file line – otherwise the in-store appearance would be canceled. People were booing and throwing things…this could turn into a riot at any moment.

As the hundreds of people crammed themselves into a line, the pressure became greater and greater. We were all really starting to get smashed up. My buddy Howie couldn’t take it anymore and he bailed out on us. Luckily we were very close to the front of the line, so we figured we would not have to endure too much more of this. Through the bullhorn they announced that they were going to start letting us in to meet the band. Just then, the pressure really increased as the people in the back of the line all pushed forward. We all pushed back, retaliating to the crowd behind us. They pushed forward even harder this time…. and that was it! The display window that we were leaning against cracked wide open and about twelve of us went flying through the huge glass window into the store.

The band could not believe what was happening. They jumped from their seats as a dozen of us fell nearly at their feat, covered in glass and some covered in blood. I remember Tommy with his eyes super wide and his jaw on the ground. All he could say was “No way, dude, no way!” As we met the band, each of the guys took the time to ask us if we were okay and told us how much they appreciated us. That day, the band realized that the loyalty of their fans was taken to another level.

Last month I spent the day with Motley in their rehearsal room on a shoot for Rolling Stone. During lunch, I asked Vince and Tommy if they remembered that day and that incident. Right away, their eyes popped out of their heads, just like they did back in 1983. They started talking about it like it just happened…there is no way they will ever forget that day.

Photographed with my brother’s Pentax K-1000 and an 80mm fixed lens – no flash (that was all I could get my hands on). Shot on Kodak Negative Film.

Pasadena Openers…Odin

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

ODIN
Perkin’s Palace
March 16, 1984

***
Part three of a five-part series that I am doing this week on local L.A. bands in the ‘80s that were opening acts on some big gigs at my favorite venue as a kid – Perkin’s Palace in Pasadena California.
***

Odin was fairly new to the L.A. rock scene, but they rapidly built a strong and legitimate following around the rock circuit. Their street cred became undeniable, quickly getting the band added to the big shows – like this one at Perkin’s Palace. At this point, Odin had just recorded their first 7” single, Caution (which I bought that night at the show for $2.00). Despite the homemade artwork and misspellings on the single, Odin looked like a band on the verge.

From 1983 through 1985, Odin’s sound was heavy and fast – pulling influences from bands like Armored Saint and Metallica, but adding the Blues elements of Aerosmith and Van Halen. Odin’s opening act days were numbered, and the band soon found themselves headlining most of the rock venues in Los Angeles.

I was a big fan of this band, their early material was the perfect combination of chuggy guitar riffs and melodic metal hooks mixed with raw, punk rock production. Their 7” sounded like it was recorded in a basement for $10, but this was the perfect sound for this band.

After their first full release, Don’t Take No For An Answer in 1985, I – along with many others – lost interest in Odin as the the band became influenced by the early stages of “hair metal.” Odin drastically changed their sound, their live show, their clothes, their hair, and their overall outlook on music. I was pretty bummed out that a solid, quality band would give in so quickly and jump on the “hair metal” bus, especially after working so hard to gain the respect that they had built. But, for every one of me that they lost, I am sure they gained two or three “hair metal” fans…but that was not my thing.

Legendary club owner,Bill Gazarri, proclaimed that Odin would be bigger than Van Halen, but Odin’s potential remained unfulfilled. A major label deal failed to come their way. But it would be their appearance in The Decline Of Western Civilization Part 2: The Metal Years, that would turn the band into cult metal heroes or the laughing stock of rock, depending on how you look at things.

Photographed with one eye on the camera and one eye looking over my shoulder on my trusty, smuggled in Canon AE-1 and a cheap, no name 70mm-210mm lens. Shot on Kodak negative film.

Help to save and preserve The Raymond Theatre (aka Perkin’s Palace):
http://www.raymondtheatre.com
RaymondTheatre@aol.com
http://www.myspace.com/raymondtheatre

Pasadena Openers…Leather Angel – 1983

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Leather Angel
November 25, 1983
Perkin’s Palace : Pasadena, CA

***
Part one of a five-part series that I am doing this week on local L.A. bands in the ‘80s that were opening acts on some big gigs at my favorite venue as a kid – Perkin’s Palace in Pasadena California.
***

First, a little background on the venue. The Raymond Theatre was a beautiful 2000 capacity theatre built in the 1920’s. Vaudeville shows, movie screenings and live plays were the original uses of the theatre. In 1979, the venue broke into the live concert market and the theatre became known as a live venue named Perkin’s Palace. An incredible list of artists have performed on the Perkin’s Palace stage : The Cure, Motley Crue, Phil Collins, Black Flag, Bad Religion, Depeche Mode, The Ramones, and many, many more.

Growing up as a teen, I went to a lot of amazing shows at Perkin’s Palace. Luckily for me it was only about 20 minutes from my home and I could usually talk my Mother or my pal Erik into driving to some of the early shows. The ticket prices were low and you always got a handful of L.A.’s best bands – handpicked by Gina Zamparelli, who had to be the greatest promoter in L.A. in the 80’s. When Gina’s name was on the flyer or on the ticket, my pals and I knew that every band, whether we had heard of them or not, were worth getting to the show early for.

Steeler was super-buzzing at the time. They had an incredible LP out on Shrapnel Records and the band was filled with talent. The openers for that night – Leather Angel, Rough Cutt and SIN were three of the coolest up and comers in town. SIN was the brainchild of bassist Rik Fox, who had just left Steeler to form his own band – there was some competitive energy that night. Rough Cutt had just been picked up by Wendy Dio (Ronnie’s wife) for management. Leather Angel was an all female heavy metal band, they really stood out in terms of Local Metal Bands in Los Angeles.

I first saw them as Obsession when they opened for Motley Crue at Perkin’s Palace the previous year. Motley had taken a liking to them and that helped to build their street cred in L.A. Soon after, legalities arose with another band using the same name and the girls were forced to rename the band to Leather Angel. The band was fantastic both live and on record. They kept up and played with the best of L.A.’s Metal acts – Ratt, Motley Crue, Steeler, Black & Blue, etc. Their EP, We Came To Kill, was a solid release with some local radio airplay. The record proved that this band was just not a bunch of good looking chicks, these girls could rock and they were serious about it.

[On a personal note – their manager, Keith Dyson, once tried to extort photos that I had taken of the band and threatened to take my mother’s home. I was barely 15 years years old when Keith Dyson threatened me, and I didn’t really know any better, I was intimidated and terrified. What kind of manager threatens a little kid with a camera? Keith, if are reading this…call me, call me collect…I am not a little kid anymore.]

Leather Angel later went through a handful of lineup changes and changed their name to Jaded Lady. Jaded Lady’s claim to fame was their appearance in Penelope Spheeris’ 1988 film, The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years.

Photographed with my trusty, smuggled in Canon AE-1 and a cheap, no name 70mm-210mm lens. Shot on Kodak negative film.

Help to save and preserve The Raymond Theatre:
http://www.raymondtheatre.com
RaymondTheatre@aol.com
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=74238887