Keith Richards on Vietnam and the Sunset Strip in the 60’s

Taking “Street Fighting Man” to the extremes, or “Gimme Shelter.” But without a doubt it was a strange generation. The weird thing is that I grew up with it, but suddenly I’m an observer instead of a participant. I watched all these guys grow up; I watched a lot of them die. When I first got to the States, I met a lot of great guys, young guys, and I had their phone numbers, and then when I got back two or three years later, I’d call them up, and he’s in a body bag from Nam. A whole lot of them got feathered out, we all know. That’s when that shit hit home with me. Hey, that great little blondie, great guitar player, real fun, we had a real good time, and the next time, gone.

Sunset Strip in the ’60s, ’64, ’65—there was no traffic allowed through it. The whole strip was filled with people, and nobody’s going to move for a car. It was almost off-limits. You hung out in the street, you just joined the mob. I remember once Tommy James, from the Shondells—six gold records and blew it all. I was trying to get up to the Whisky a Go Go in a car, and Tommy James came by. “Hey, man.” “And who are you?” “Tommy James, man.” “Crimson and Clover” still hits me. He was trying to hand out things about the draft that day. Because obviously he thought he was about to be fucking drafted. This was Vietnam War time. A lot of the kids that came to see us the first time never got back. Still, they heard the Stones up the Mekong Delta.

Richards, Keith. Life (p. 238). Little, Brown and Company.

The Rainbow and the Roxy, parking lot

Theresa and I joined the regulars who hung out at night in the Sunset Strip parking lot between the Rainbow and the Roxy. That spot was the late-night nerve center of L.A.’s rock scene. Between eleven P.M. and two A.M., rock stars and wannabes, groupies and insiders gathered there and waited for something to happen, though looking back I realize the party itself was in the parking lot and that just by being there we were where it was happening.

If only we’d known. But everybody who was anybody in music hit the Rainbow. It was the place for exchanging news and information, seeing stars, finding drugs, and finding out where the best party was that night.

If you were a poseur, this was where you posed. If you wanted to pass around a joint or score quaaludes, you showed up there. The lot was always filled with shiny Rolls-Royces and Excaliburs, clues that a VIP was having a good time inside. It was also the best pickup spot in the entire city. Everyone was on, as if playing a part in their own movie.

Carlisle, Belinda. Lips Unsealed
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‘L.A. Confidential’: The ultimate filming locations map

From Los Feliz to Long Beach, the 1997 classic exposes rot beneath the glamour of Los Angeles

 

“I remember the first time I got off the plane in LA. I came up to Hollywood, on La Brea or La Cienega, I can’t remember, through the oil fields,” says L.A. Confidential production designer Jeannine Oppewall. “And I thought to myself: ‘What the hell kind of city is this, with oil fields in the middle of it?’”

For Oppewall, who spoke to Curbed LA on the eve of the 1997 neo-noir’s 20th anniversary, the illusory romance of the City of Angels was stripped away in an instant. That’s what the movie does too, puncturing our inflated ideas of Old Hollywood glamour by plumbing the psychological depths of its key characters and (sometimes literally) exposing the rot underneath.

By Chris Eggertsen, la.curbed.com