Posts Tagged ‘music’
The Rockwalk ROCKS Says Our Private Tour Folks
There was a time when the Rockwalk, a cement portico at the entrance of Hollywood’s Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard, was a true tourist draw. Induction ceremonies were pretty regular and well attended by local rock stations and music industry people. There were crowds like there were for Tim Burton at Grauman’s Chinese Theater recently when he embedded his hands and feet in movie’s famous floor show. As you can see above the Rockwalk is tidy and leads you right into the store where there are other treats for music lovers to enjoy when visiting Los Angeles. When we have a private tour in Los Angeles and sense our guests still adore their childhood music heroes we will often make the Guitar Center a destination as we explore Hollywood. Everyone expects to see the Grauman’s theater courtyard but the Rockwalk is a real surprise and treat. Of course, the musicians with us will want to spend time in the store and brush shoulders with other musicians. We never know who we might run into as long as we aren’t there in the morning.
Capitol Records Stands Out on a Private Tour in Hollywood
Visitors with us on a Los Angeles private tour always notice that the “action” on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood seems to be bounded by Highland Avenue on one side and Vine Street on the other. That is pretty much true. From the 1940s onward this part of the boulevard has always bustled. Despite a brief lull in activity in the 1990s the bustle is back and as exciting as ever. Nightclubs, restaurants, shopping boutiques and movie theaters make this area a destination all day long for locals and visitors. We are mostly around here in the daytime guiding our passengers to their favorite Walk of Fame stars along the gilded sidewalk known all around the world. When we get to Vine Street where there are now golden stars decorating the walkway going north we can enjoy the spectacular building rising up from the street, a building associated with great music and celebrated bands and musicians since 1956. The first “round” office building in the world it was also remarkable for its state-of-the-art recording studios that hosted the Beach Boys and the Beatles just to begin listing some of the great musical artists on the label. We also tell our guests about Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Tony Bennett and then jump to OK Go, Lady Antebellum and Keith Urban. The Walk of Fame stars leading up to the entrance to the famed music capitol include many great musicians. A challenge we like to present to our musically inclined guests is to recall a tune from each artist as we pass their star walking along Vine Street. That really makes our custom tour into a musical mystery tour.
Our Guests on Their Private Tour Remember the Halcyon Days of Tower Records
The great music store is long gone and well remembered. Tower Records was once a focal point of musical activity on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood but it is now just stories, books and a well-received documentary by Colin Hanks (All Things Must Pass). As a part of the festivities surrounding the premiere of the film the currently unused building was repainted in the grand yellow and red banner so familiar to anyone who bought music during the 45 years that Tower reigned in music sales. Begun in Sacramento, the business by the late 60’s was in major cities around the U.S. and soon thereafter in countries all around the world. The Sunset Strip store is probably considered the most iconic of the stores located as it was in the heart of the Hollywood music and entertainment scene. There were impromptu concerts and appearances by music greats. You never knew who you would bump into in the stacks of records and later on CDs. Our private tour of Hollywood had aboard this day some folks who were so excited to see the store and then so disappointed to learn it was just an empty building where Tower Records once flowed with the rhythm of rock ‘n roll.
The Holy Grail for Our Private Tour Music Lovers
Many of the Los Angeles tour companies overlook the Rockwalk in Hollywood. True, it has been a long while since an artist was inducted (the last was Yngwie Malmsteen on October 13, 2008). However, our private Los Angeles tour guests will be taken here if they express any interest at all in contemporary music so they can experience a wonderful Hollywood sightseeing destination and an amazing music store. We consider the entrance to the very first Guitar Center a pantheon of rock ‘n roll and rhythm and blues gods and goddesses. Every music lover should have the opportunity to examine the handprints of those who have made the music that shaped our lives. There were 183 inductees from 1985 until 2008 covering a wide range of musicians, composers and performers who greatly “influenced” the music scene. Like the nearby Grauman’s Chinese Theater courtyard where movie stars placed their hands into wet cement to immortalize their place in Hollywood film history, here at the Rockwalk messy hands left a mark that loving visitors can touch and then remember, even sing and hum, the tunes that changed their lives.
The Music Starts Here on a Private Tour
Our private Los Angeles tour pulls over on Sunset Boulevard in the morning across from the Roxy Theatre. The street is quiet. The club is closed. Our guide has Neil Young playing softly on our fine SUV sound system. It is a long idle because there is so much to say about the history of this entertainment venue. More than 40 years ago, Lou Adler, David Geffen, Peter Asher and their other notable music industry partners opened a new club in a distinctive location in the heart of the Sunset Strip. Their intent was to not only feature well known music acts but to bring to the public’s attention upcoming groups that would rock their world. The club opened with Neil Young and along the way discovered many groups that are Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame material. There were too many famous albums recorded at The Roxy to note here but the Beatles were among the many incredible artists who played here (U2, Maroon 5, Van Morrison). Pee Wee Herman made his name with a regular show here when he was starting and Hedwig and the Angry Inch was staged here in 2006 and 2012. The owners also created a private club above the main area, On the Rox, as an oasis for celebrities and artists and anyone who could procure membership. Our guides have stories about that, too. All sorts of stories can be told about The Roxy and the Los Angeles music scene…enough to fill an entire luxury tour.
Our Private L.A. Tour Guests Get an
Arts Perspective from Above
Los Angeles is as much about arts and culture as any major city anywhere in the world. Our reputation for producing and sharing great works of art and wonderful music has grown over the past several decades in part because of the construction of wonderful new museums and concert halls. Music, dance, theater, and opera are performed in the same neighborhood as modern and significant works of art are on display. Our private Los Angeles tour guests on the aerial portion of a combination helicopter + ground tour looked below as we flew over downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) and could see a new art museum (Broad Museum) right beside the extraordinary Disney Concert Hall which is across the street from the Music Center (Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theater). The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is nearby as is the Colburn School of Performing Arts…and this is just a small part of the central downtown district. North Hollywood (NoHo), the Westside, the Wilshire Corridor are Los Angeles neighborhoods hosting wide ranging access to the arts. And that’s just Los Angeles proper. Many neighboring cities offer performance venues and museums of their own. Whatever form of culture and arts moves you is readily available in Los Angeles.
Special Private Tour Guests
Start at Gravesite
Many of our tours begin with a request or even a list of celebrity homes to visit, Hollywood Walk of Fame stars to find and locations around Los Angeles associated with movie stars and famous performers. Often, too, our private Los Angeles tour guests will want to visit a particular cemetery or grave to connect with a favorite star now departed. Recently we were struck by the devotion of a young man from Brownsville, Texas who was a full-hearted fan of Avenged Sevenfold drummer and founder Jimmy Sullivan whose “band” name was The Reverend Tholomew Plague though he went by the moniker The Rev. We drove our guests down to Good Shepherd Catholic Cemetery in Huntington Beach and located The Rev’s headstone. The Orange County metal scene produced a number of high voltage groups that rocked the music scene including Bleeding Through and Eighteen Visions some of whose members were present at the funeral. The Rev’s drum kits are on display in a couple of Hard Rock Cafés across the country. His music lives on with the memories of his fans.
Let the Music Bring Your Private Tour
to See This Landmark Nightclub
One of the best corners in all of Los Angeles is this one on Sunset Boulevard in W. Hollywood near Beverly Hills where the big red Whisky a Go-Go rock music club looms over the intersection. Since 1964 musicians and music lovers from all over the world have been gathering here for an evening of rock ‘n roll and dancing. Famous groups, soon to be famous groups and once famous groups perform on the stage that has been host to great music for more than 50 years. The days of Go Go Boots are long gone (but for how long will they stay gone?) but there remains a “dress to impress” atmosphere both from the performers and the patrons at “The Whisky“. Our private Los Angeles tour exploring the Sunset Strip makes a point of telling the story of music in Los Angeles from gangster days to yesterday and visiting the remaining clubs where our guests can themselves enjoy a night out on the town after their custom luxury tour of the city.
Our Private Tour Guests Sparkle at
Disney Concert Hall
Even our experienced tour guides find the light around the Disney Concert Hall to be very unpredictable when it comes time to photograph their private Los Angeles tour guests near the extraordinary structure. Frank Gehry, the architect, in his desire to use brilliant curved surfaces to frame a building also had to contend with focused light reflecting off the silver metal in different directions at different times of the day throughout the year. We have stories to tell our guests about difficulties faced by neighboring offices, apartments and even pedestrians and the remedies employed to solve the problems. Still, it is an unforgettable building to see and we can generally find a place to pose our guests to capture a memorable image. It helps that we use an expensive digital SLR camera for our tours which allow us a number of ways to counter the tricky lighting. The Disney Concert Hall is across the street from the Music Center (Ahmanson Theater, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Mark Taper Forum) and the whole area is a wonder and delight to explore on a custom tour.
Plan a Private Tour Around all that Jazz
The first Playboy Jazz Festival back in 1959, hosted by Hugh Hefner, was set in Chicago which was Playboy headquarters at the time. Then Hef moved the business west to Los Angeles and settled in the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills, a popular destination with most of our Los Angeles private tour guests. He resurrected the tribute to great jazz music in 1979 at the Hollywood Bowl and the tradition was started and continues to this 37th annual jazz music festival. On June 13th and 14th the show will continue with two long days at the most historic music venue in Los Angeles, an outdoor Eden for music lovers of all kinds but especially for jazz music lovers that weekend. The eclectic collection of musicians will offer something for every ear and every heart. Among the talent: Herbie Hancock, Eddie Palmieri, Ozomotli, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Tower of Power, Snarky Puppy and many more. Two days. Outdoors in beautiful weather. Picnic. Wine. The good company of music lovers from all over the world who plan to be in Los Angeles just for this occasion. Make your own plans and get your tickets early. There is seating for only 17,000 or so jazz fans.