Viper Room: You Can Never Truly Go Back 


Back in the Stone(r) Age, I used to frequent The Viper Room circa 1993-1994, A LOT. It was so vibrant, so hot, so happening and always exciting. Wondering when or if we would see Johnny Depp step out from behind his mirrored booth. Anticipating which celebrity or rocker we might see that night. Those were the days! I hadn’t been back for many years, but my brother was in town and we were intrigued by the idea of an STP cover band so we decided to spend a Saturday night on The Strip. The show was advertised to start at 11pm, so of course I figured “we better get there early!”. First red flag should have been the fact that I was able to nab a primo parking spot right out front on Sunset Blvd at 10:30pm on a Saturday night. Huh?!?!? Upon approaching the door, we were told by the fairly friendly door guys that it would be more like 11:45 start time and to head back around then. Okay, not a big deal. Cruised down to the Rainbow to kill time and people watch. Thank GOD The Rainbow is still alive and kicking. It’s one of the only remaining pieces of rock history still intact on The Strip. God, I LOVE The Rainbow.
Went back over to the Viper Room, and they charged us $5 more per person (not cool) than they just told us an hour ago? Went upstairs to a shockingly sparse crowd. Which then made sense why they were pushing back the start time, as they were obviously hoping more people would show up. The band themselves were good (Core) but the lead singer was a complete cheesy mess. NOT a good singer AT ALL. I was personally embarrassed for him at times. Yikes. It was fun mainly we knew all the songs and Scott Weiland’s current bassist (Tommy Black) just happens to be a bartender there and came up on the stage to play a few songs, which was cool.
I was thinking back 20 years and how this band NEVER would have been allowed to play here. EVER. That was back when the Black Crowes would show up for a random impromptu show and Fishbone would take the stage after hours on a late Thursday night just for fun. I mean it was a COOL COOL place. Sad to say, The Viper Room is only a faded remnant of what it once was. But then again, I feel that way about most of “old” Hollywood these days. Bittersweet memories but not much to revisit. Thank God I was around when The Strip was still a world renowned force to be reckoned with. Ahhhh the glory days of my youth.

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