FINAL DAY OF SSMF ROUNDTABLE....
Larry King moderates at The London....
The final day of the Sunset Strip Music Festival saw a round-table discussion with Mario Maglieri, Mario's son Mikeal, Lou Adler, Lou's son Nic, and the new kid on the block, Viper Room owner Harry Morton. The round-table was held at the new London Hotel on San Vicente to a packed room. The person asking the questions was household legend, Larry King of CNN.
Larry King was first introduced. He then asked Mario Maglieri and Lou Adler to join him on the stage. Elmer Valentine was scheduled to attend but was unable do to failing health. Elmer had attended a tribute concert 2 days earlier at The House of Blues where Mario, Lou, and Elmer were recognized for their influence and contributions to Rock N Roll and the famed Sunset Strip.
The first 15 minutes King asked Mario and Lou about the early days. Lou Adler discussed producing the Johnny Rivers hit, Johnny Rivers Live at The Whisky A-Go-Go. Mario discussed his relationships with the bands and the many legends that played on the famed Whisky stage. King asked about drug use in those days and Mario was quick to point out that he is against drugs and never even smoked a joint. King found this hard to believe, however, those who have known Mario over the years knew he was speaking the truth. Lou Adler held up his hand as to say he was taking the 5th and the audience laughed out loud.
Soon the discussion turned to the seventies and the opening of The Rainbow Bar and Grill in 1972 and the Roxy opening a year later. Both were asked their favorite or most memorable moments during the early years. Lou Adler said his fondest memory was having Bob Marley play The Roxy. Mario said there were so many moments that it was tough to pick just one. He did say that Bob Marley was a special talent.
Larry King then introduced what he called the future of The Sunset Strip. Joining Mario, Lou, and King on the stage were Mikeal Maglieri, Nic Adler, and Harry Morton. Mikeal Maglieri now runs the day to day operations of The Whisky and Rainbow. Nic Adler runs The Roxy, and Harry Morton recently purchased The Viper Room. Morton's family started The Hard Rock Café and owns the famed steak houses "Morton's". We found this out as Larry King asked him how he got involved in The Viper Room.
King asked where the 3 new comers to the stage saw the future of the strip. Mikeal and Nic seemed to have learned a lot from their iconic fathers. Both agreed that they are in the business to facilitate what the public wants to hear and not to mold what they think the public should hear. Mario was in a unique position to voice his opinion and expertise on the subject. Unlike Lou Adler who has not been involved in the day to day operations for many years (a fact he freely admits) Mario has, and he agreed with his son and Lou's son. "They hit it right on the head; I can not tell kids what they like. They tell me, and I try and deliver". When the panel was asked by an audience member what they saw in the next 5 years in terms of music Lou Adler responded. "When you get into a position to where you think you can predict the music trends that far into the future, you are finished in this business". The entire panel agreed.
Lou also deferred to Mario on many questions King had for the two in regards to today's trends. "You need to ask Mario" Adler would say, "he's there every night." King asked if it was for the money. Lou answered for Mario. "The money? No! This man truly loves what he is doing." Mario just smiled and in true Mario form said; "I like the money too".
When King asked Mikeal if he thought his Dad would ever retire the answer was quick! "No, if he retired he would die." Mikeal then continued, "My Dad gave everything to me, I own it all. But then he tells me that he owns me. So you figure it out". The place erupted in laughter.
Mikeal then brought up the fact that there should be a Rock Hall of Fame based on the strip to honor the many groups who launched their careers from The Whisky, Roxy and other venues in ..West Hollywood... King asked how he intended to do that. Mikeal said there were plans in the works.
The discussion was fascinating to watch. Lou Adler, the famed producer and now philanthropic mogul discussing his early years. Mario Maglieri "The Pope Of Sunset Blvd" connecting us to the past greats and current crop of stars. Their sons poised to keep the strip alive, vibrant, and moving forward. The new kid (Harry Morton), sitting, and learning from the Strip's legends. The "King" Larry that is, to ask the questions on this last day of The Sunset Strip Music Festival. What could top that?
Written by Scott Casey