California Rocker

Award-Winning Online Music Magazine

‘Sunset Strip Godfather’ Mario Maglieri, Owner of Rainbow and The Whisky A Go-Go Passes Away at 93

Rockers and Rebels Alike Mourn ‘Father Figure’


Mario Maglieri, co-owner and founder of The Rainbow Bar and Grill, and co-owner of Whisky A Go-Go passed away from natural causes at 93, it was announced via the Rainbow Facebook page.

Maglieri opened the Rainbow Bar and Grill in 1972 with partners Lou Adler and Elmer Valentine. He was an early manager of the Whisky A Go-Go and parlayed his interest into co-ownership of the famous nightclub. He was also a co-owner at the Roxy Theatre next door to the Rainbow.

Since the early 1970s, the three venues were then — and remain still — the heart and soul of the rock music scene in LA and form the cornerstone of the famous Sunset Strip.

At the Rainbow, Maglieri hosted rockers from far and wide and many of the musicians hung out at the Rainbow including Alice Cooper, Guns N Roses, John Lennon and star patron, the late Lemmy of Motorhead.  Last August, a bronze statue was put on the Rainbow premises in Lemmy’s honor.

Maglieris photo courtesy of Venues Today

The Maglieri family – Photo courtesy of Venues Today

“Mario was the Godfather,” said rocker Willie Basse. “He was so good to me, he always respected me. We had things in common, like the heart surgeries and stuff. I am still in shock. He was like a father who encouraged me and reassured me. He always respected me.”

“Mario would want us to celebrate his life and not get hung up on his death,” Basse said. “I can’t tell you how many deals I cut at the front table, in the day, in the night, all the time. I’d been coming to The Rainbow since 1976.”

The Rainbow friends and family has had its share of grief in the last few years. In addition to Lemmy and Maglieri, Miguel Murillo, the Rainbow’s head chef, passed away a year ago last March.

The restaurant has been operated by Mikael Maglieri and his wife Nancy for several years.

Condolences came in on social media from many visitors, friends and rockers regarding Maglieri’s pasing.

Sean McNabb wrote on his Twitter page: “So sorry to hear of passing of Sunset strip Icon SR. Storyteller and friend! Godfather to a lot of the RandR community.

On the Rainbow’s Facebook page Thursday morning, was posted a simple note about Maglieri’s passing.

“It is with great sadness to announce the passing of our beloved Mario Maglieri. Owner and founder of The Rainbow Bar And Grill and The Whisky a Go Go. He passed this morning while surrounded by loved ones. We will announce services shortly. We ask that you please allow the family time to grieve. Thank you for your understanding.”

Future Islands Drops New Video: ‘Ran,’ the Latest Release from Upcoming Album, ‘The Far Field’


Check out Future Islands’ new video, “Ran” from their new album The Far Field, to be released on April 7.  The trio of college pals from who live in Baltimore have hit the right chord with the fans. They’ll be playing the Roxy on April 13; Coachella April 16; Glass House April 19; Pappy and Harriet’s (sold out) April 19 and they’ll be back at Coachella April 23. Check out their website.



California Rocker Wins Best Photo Essay, Best Action Photo at Prestigious LA Press Club Awards Gala

California Rocker Wins Three Awards at 2016 NAEJ


California Rocker, the online music magazine, won Best Photo Essay and Best Action Photo categories Sunday night at the National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards by the Los Angeles Press Club.

The awards were presented to California Rocker producer Donna Balancia at the annual awards gala that honors the best of entertainment journalism.  The event was held at the Millennium Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles.

California Rocker Wins Best Action Photo

Donna Balancia Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In - California Rocker Wins

Donna Balancia won Best Action Photo for this image of Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Best Action Photo was awarded to Donna Balancia for her image of Cedric Bixler-Zavala, the high-energy frontman for At The Drive-In, leaping into the air at the Hollywood Palladium.  California Rocker wins included third place in the same action photo category for a beautiful image of the legendary surf guitar master Dick Dale performing to an adoring crowd at The Whisky A Go-Go.

Best Photo Essay for Suzanne Allison Witkin

Suzanne Allison Witkin - Vampires California Rocker Wins

Suzanne Allison Witkin took first place for her photo essay “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison Witkin

Renowned rock photographer Suzanne Allison Witkin won Best Photo Essay for “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires,” a photographic documentation of behind-the-scenes with the supergroup featuring Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.

The gala was attended by hundreds of writers, editors, producers and photographers and honored renowned songwriter Diane Warren, actress Angela Lansbury, and late-night talk show star Chelsea Handler.

‘Voices of Independent Artists Heard Tonight’

Dick Dale at the Whisky A Go-Go California Rocker Wins

The photo of Dick Dale taken at the Whisky A Go-Go was honored with a win in the action photo category – Photo © Donna Balancia

“I started California Rocker three years ago to give independent artists a voice,” Donna said. “Their voices were clearly heard tonight as our work was selected over that of the corporate media.  We will continue to work with up-and-coming and established musicians, writers and photographers so talent and truth can shine through.”

Previous wins include the work of Heather Harris in the LA Press Club’s first-ever Photo Essay category, for her images of musician James Williamson’s all-star concert at the Bootleg, and Donna’s image of Flyin’ Jay Armant, of the band Fishbone, launching into the crowd at the Roxy Theatre.

California Rocker has had several finalist designations and this year was no exception. California Rocker took three finalist designations among five in the action photo category and Suzanne’s Photo Essay was among three finalists.

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