Monday, May 15, 2017

Riot on Sunset Strip - Rock'n'Roll's Last Stand in Hollywood by Domenic Priore

Domenic Priore was a mainstay of LA's Sixties revival in the 80's, where he worked on a cable TV show dedicated to the genre, club gigs and much more. He is now an author with this book dedicated to the original 60's sounds of Los Angeles.

Domenic provides lots of history on LA’s club and music scene starting long before the 60’s r’n’r explosion with plenty on the jazz, soul, r’n’b, doo-wop and every other genre that made an impression in LA, including the influential Chicano musical culture. There are cool tidbits on the history of bands like War and phrases like "Burn Baby Burn", which came from DJ Magnificent Montegue as a call to inspire musicians to rock harder, not as a call to immolate the city (as it came to be, starting with the Watts riots).

The book is incredibly well-researched with a dizzying amount of facts regarding who played with what version of which band and what label they released which particular song on. My head begins to spin as I try to keep track of everyone, but the point is that there was a vibrant music scene all throughout the greater LA area and Priore does his best to capture the excitement and the energy of the sounds. There are plenty of interviews with band member, fans and fans who later formed bands, giving a personal touch, along with Domenic's own recollections. 

Besides detailing the history of the LA music scene, he also describes the architecture, art, politics and social structures of the pop scene at the time, giving perspective and foundation for the music scene. Although the book is more of an overview of 60's Los Angeles, rather than an essay on the actual riots that occurred on Sunset Strip, he does detail those events, as well, which turned out to be an end point of the vibrancy of the club scene, which never really recovered.

This is a great read for anyone who is interested in the incredible talent that spun out of the LA area and shows that Southern California was at least as important as any other major hub for creating the sights and sounds of the 60's.