Posted June 14, 2013 by JeromeCleary

Tower Records’ Four Decades Of Music History Totally Ignored
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – For the sixth year in a row, the Sunset Strip Music Festival fails to recognize the most iconic music star that sits sadly on the outside looking in: the world famous Tower Records on the Sunset Strip. Why this fairly young music festival continues to snub Tower Records is questionable. This would be like the Detroit Auto Show not including or ever mentioning General Motors. The festival began only two years after Tower Records closed filling in a void of live outdoor music acts that Tower Records had featured for nearly four decades for free to music fans. Tickets for the Sunset Strip Music Festival run from $70 to $250. Tower Record live music events were always free to the public.

Many fans of the Sunset Strip think that not only has the Sunset Music Festival turned their back on Tower Records but that the City of West Hollywood has too. To make matters worse is the music festival is just two blocks away from Tower Records. The record store sits in all of its glory waiting for the festival’s respect and admiration. The only admiration or what would be called non-admiration is done silently as the Sunset Music Festival will this August use the Tower Records location for “will call” tickets and for VIP $250 tickets. So why has Sunset Strip Music Festival’s memory lapsed for six years in a row? There are nearly four decades of Tower Records’ history where legends were made and music fans appreciated and celebrated their love of music.

Community advocate and 27 year resident, Jerome Cleary remarked: "It’s a sad irony that the city’s great push for the Sunset Strip Music Festival continues to ignore the one building and location that made the Sunset Strip’s music history the most relevant: Tower Records.” While some see the glossing over of the obvious music history facts to be just another Disneyland approach to the Sunset Strip today that sends another nail into the coffin of the real history. The festival wants to enjoy and capitalize on the over 50 years of music history today but pretend the past never really happened.

The record store at 8801 Sunset Boulevard closed in 2006 and presently is in better physical condition thanks to the recent former tenant “Live On Sunset” refurbishing, restoration and making capital improvements.

Why the festival is not capitalizing on Tower Records fame as it is within the three most famous blocks on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood remains still a mystery. There is The Roxy, which opened in 1973; Tower Records, which opened in 1970; The Rainbow Room in 1972 and the Whisky A Go-Go, which opened in 1964. Even though everyday local bus tours, the Internet, newspapers, blogs, websites and magazines all feature Tower Records as an iconic part of the Sunset Strip's history. The Sunset Strip Music Festival along with the City of West Hollywood appear non-responsive to the history and the fans of the Tower Records Store.

Recently the historic preservation of Tower Records came before the West Hollywood Historic Preservation Commission. Two meetings were in March and April to decide the fate of Tower records. Cleary met with the promoter and marketer of the Sunset Strip Music Festival’s Nic Adler and son of Roxy founder, Lou Adler before the hearings. Cleary attempted to get Adler’s support but was turned down. The HPC meetings had an impressive turnout out of preservation experts and fans speaking in favor of a designation. Adler was a no show at both meetings. Though Cleary had mentioned to Adler that the same fate could befall Adler’s The Roxy club on the Sunset Strip in the future it had no impact on Adler. “I have great respect for Nic Adler but I feel that his avoidance of Tower Records real history and journey in making the Sunset Strip what it is today is his own selective business decision. How can you have a major music festival every year and pretend that the world famous Tower Records never played a real part in carving out the music history in Southern California and the world’s participation and recognition at this iconic store?” An appeal will be filed in August and than heard before the city council in the fall.

Todd Steadman, Executive Director of the Sunset Strip Business Association and executive director of Sunset Music Festival recently ran into Cleary at the re-opening of the Sunset Strip’s Farmers Market held in the old adjacent Tower Records parking lot. Cleary tried to get Steadman on board for the preservation of the famous music site. Steadman mentioned to Cleary that Nic Adler was planning, initially, to support the preservation of Tower Records but then retreated. What made Adler change his mind is not known, for sure, but the Sunset Strip Music Festival cannot exist without the support of the City of West Hollywood. The city is not recognizing Tower Records unique part in the history of music of the City. This may be the real conflict for Steadman and Adler’s support for Tower Records. Both the Sunset Strip Music Festival and the Sunset Strip Business Association have a vested interest in having the City of West Hollywood’s support in all of their business ventures and vice versa.

Domenic Priore, applicant for the historic preservation of Tower Records and author of “Riot On Sunset: Rock and Roll’s Last Stand” offers his opinion: “It doesn’t surprise me that this festival does not include anything about Tower Records music history because this festival bases its whole understanding of music in a very very narrow perspective. There is absolutely no diversity for understanding of the strip’s rich place in music history. It’s all about the 80’s metal hair bands and that’s it. And they get Jack Daniel’s to sponsor that mentality. This music festival does not understand anything before their own lives existence. The whole ugly guitars featured on Sunset Strip yells 1980’s. The Key Club, The Roxy and The Whisky are now tourist traps long gone and now insignificant. It’s only the club on Santa Monica Boulevard, The Troubador is the only club doing it right and booking up and coming bands and name acts. The Troubador blows them away. When the Whisky closed in 1982, before than it was Elmer Valentine who booked up and coming acts and name acts. After that The Whisky never recovered. By 1984, The Whisky went for the pay for play route and never went back to a real format. The Whisky would have never booked The White Stripes but Tower Records did.”

The Sunset Music Festival listed the following information on in a recent press release announcing another musical act performing:

“The Sunset Strip Music Festival (SSMF) is a not for profit festival created in 2008 to promote, preserve and perpetuate the legendary Sunset Strip music experience. The Sunset Strip Business Association is the managing member of the limited liability company, which owns the Sunset Strip Music Festival. The executive director of Sunset Music Festival is Todd Steadman.” Both entities have the words “Sunset Strip” in their title but both fail to be at all about the Sunset Strip’s real history. Which has been conveniently censored.

Also mentioned on the Sunset Music Festival’s website is that some of the proceeds of the ticket sales for the Sunset Strip Music Festival go towards music education programs. Which would be interesting to know if Tower Records nearly four decades of music history is also never recognized and mentioned in the educational programs.

Some fans and residents feel that the power through the Sunset Strip Music Festival and the Sunset Strip Business Association are not that of hip of people but only those that have tons of power like the owners of The Roxy and The Whiskey. While many eyebrows were raised when it was revealed that one of the sponsors of the Sunset Music Festival is Jack Daniels. Many people know Jack Daniel’s is usually considered to be the alcoholic beverage of Leonard Skynard, red necks and some say the KKK.

Another more recent press release by the Sunset Music Festival has this quote by Joan Jett: "I actually lived on the Strip, right across the street from The Whisky. The Sunset Strip is a piece of rock 'n roll history.” Ms. Jett may not know of the white washing of the strip’s history while she receives her award from the festival this August.

Last week, the Los Angeles Times featured a blog about the Sunset Strip having an identity crisis titled:
“Music and identity crisis on the Sunset Strip: The storied hot spot for L.A. music ponders its future amid club closures and growing competition. Should it compete for today's cool kids, cash in on its history or something else entirely?”,0,3793059.story
“The reason the Sunset Strip is having both an music and identity crisis is because of avoidance about the origins of the strip’s music history with Tower Records. The Sunset Strip can’t have a real identity when the city is in denial of Tower Records putting the strip on the map when it comes to music,” remarks, Cleary.

Media Contact: Jerome Cleary [email protected] 310 920-2424
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Issued By Jerome Cleary
Phone 310 920-2424
Business Address 8235 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Country United States
Categories Business , Entertainment , Music
Tags california , historic preservation , sunset blvd , sunset boulevard , sunset strip , sunset strip music festival , tower records , west hollywood
Last Updated June 14, 2013