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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STEWART COPELAND: In those days, the band had to look the part. Your haircuts and sartorial choices were very much a part of the product. And, led by Sting, we were good at it. We would tease Stingo that he couldn’t walk past a mirror without primping. And he would say, “Fuck off, it’s my job. And yours, too, by the way.”

MARTIN FRY: The record companies weren’t pressuring anyone to look a certain way. That came later. For “The Look of Love” we wanted to cross the visual style of Benny Hill, a really crude slapstick comedian, with An American in Paris. I don’t think Kurt Cobain would have ever put on a striped blazer and sung to a wooden crocodile. There’s a parrot on my shoulder at one point. We were pushing it to the limit, seeing how embarrassed we could get. Art is what you get away with.

JOE ELLIOTT: Rock of Ages was a laugh. I wield this giant prop sword through fiery hallways and then the sword magically turns into a guitar. It’s very Spinal Tap. When I sang ‘All-right,” which sounded a bit like “Owl-right,” Mallet put an owl in the video at that moment.

BRIAN SETZER: My hair was my speciality. If you don’t have cool hair, don’t make a video.