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.”

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.

Owl, Philm, Lend Avant-Garde Sound to Metal Scene on Legendary Sunset Strip

Owl guitarist Jason Achilles-Mezilis grabs a lens from photographer to use as a slide during performance at Whisky - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Owl guitarist Jason Achilles-Mezilis borrows a lens from a photographer to use as a slide during performance at Whisky – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Chris Wyse Bass, Dave Lombardo Drumming, Take Center Stage at Whisky a Go Go

By MALIA BALANCIA — Lead singer and bassist Chris Wyse is pretty clever.

Maybe that goes along with having a band called “Owl,” but Wyse and his group certainly have interesting ways to make music.

Wyse has played for a number of influential bands, probably most notably the Cult and he takes his bass playing to an entirely new level.

Owl debuted songs off The new album, Things You Can’t See, at the Whisky A Go-Go and did it in unique style.

Dave Lombardo's drumming takes front and center position at Philm set at Whisky - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Dave Lombardo’s drumming takes front and center position during Philm set at Whisky – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Wyse is the main singer-songwriter of the band he put together with longtime pal, drummer Dan Dinsmore, and guitarist Jason Achilles Mezilis.

Things You Can’t See drops Tuesday and can be pre-ordered HERE

Wyse started writing Things You Can’t See after leaving The Cult and while transitioning to The Ace Frehley Band. Wyse and his Owl bandmates jammed in the studio and cultivated the music of Things You Can’t See right in the moment.

Owl supported Philm, the band assembled by drummer Dave Lombardo of Slayer.  The band goes non-stop through its songs, as Lombardo brings his no-holds-barred, full-charge drumming to front and center stage.

Owl's Jason Achilles Mezilis rips it on guitar at Whisky © Donna Balancia

Owl’s Jason Achilles Mezilis rips it on guitar at Whisky © 2015 Donna Balancia

It’s no wonder Lombardo is considered one of the premiere drummers in the world of metal music — or any other music for that matter.  His sticks are a blur and it’s remarkable he isn’t skin, bones and muscle from the tremendous performance he gives.

Lombardo’s bandmates in Philm, Gerry Nestler and Pancho Tomaselli, are the ultimate in professionalism and bring their diverse talents to the ensemble.

See Philm’s Facebook Page for more details.

Owl at the Whisky - Chris Wyse Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Owl at the Whisky – Chris Wyse Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia


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CrueFest Hollywood 2015: Metal Shows its Golden Heart at Charity Event

Graham Bonnet Band rockin' at CrueFest - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Graham Bonnet Band rockin’ at CrueFest – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

CrueFest Hollywood Raises Cash to Help People With Cancer

By MALIA BALANCIA – Rock and Roll may never forgive, but it knows how to give back.

The stage at the Whisky A Go-Go was rockin’ at Cruefest Hollywood 2015, featuring bands including Downtown Attraction, L.A. Story, and the Graham Bonnet Band.

Steve Talbott of Gutterboys at CrueFest - Photo © 2015 Donna Balanci

Steve Talbott of Gutterboys at CrueFest – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

The event is a charity fundraiser to benefit Letty’s Angels of Hope Foundation. See CrueFest Hollywood for more information.

Steve Talbott of the Gutterboys was emcee and became everyone’s favorite guy, as he threw T-shirts and guitar picks into the all-age audience that came to rock and raise money.  His band is fun and he’s got a hard-charging attitude.

There was too much talent to mention with highlights of the night including Downtown Attraction’s Jack Cash and Matti Jade teaming up with Buckcherry’s Stevie D. in an amazing set that blew out the Whisky.

Cash is remarkably agile and he is practiced at his performance.  Downtown Attraction moves forward in its success in a low-key manner but these guys are bound to break out in a big way.

Frontman Erik Hatchett and L.A. Story at CrueFest - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Frontman Erik Hatchett and L.A. Story at CrueFest – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

L.A. Story is one of the new bands on the scene with a fabulous theatrical appeal.  Frontman Erik Hatchett and his partner in crime, Jason Barajas, are a team for the ages with onstage antics that compel the audience to join in.

L.A. Story puts on an interactive performance, simultaneously taunting and charming the crowd.  The band is headed out on tour throughout the midwest to wrap up the summer.

A highlight of the night was the Graham Bonnet Band.  The guy still cooks along after all these years and brings the audience to a howling pitch and concert-goers cheer on the performance.

CrueFest Daisy DelaHoya and Black Star Electra - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

CrueFest Daisy DelaHoya and Black Star Electra – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

An unlikely if not mezmerising hit was Daisy DelaHoya, the sexy frontgal of Black Star Electra.  She’s best known for her reality TV stints, but this woman can belt it out.  Her moves are amazing and she had more photographers snapping her than bees around honey.  She’s one to watch — on several levels.

CrueFest 2015 was a hit and well worth the $20 admission for an all-day-long affair with plenty of chances for giveaways and live auction.  Appreciation to the Whisky A Go Go and the many who gave donations and product giveaways.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”14″ gal_title=”CrueFest Hollywood 2015″]

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