Born Again at the Whisky A-Go-Go

I believe it was sometime around November 1980. My friends and I decided to go see the Dickies at the Whiskey Agogo. This was the original line-up of Leonard Graves Phillips, Stan Lee, Chuck Wagon, Billy Club and Karlos Kaballero. This night was a major turning point in my life. And it actually had nothing to do with the Dickies.

whisky a go go This night was my first venture to Hollywood. I’d only had my drivers license for a couple of months and I was the only one 16. My other friends on this trip were Ken Hunt, Steve Dilley and Joe Brown, all were 14 or 15 at the time. We told our parents we were going to the movies and headed to the Sunset strip. Now here is a key factor to remember. This was like the first day of high school when everyone tells you that simple the fact that you are there will mean to you are going to get your ass kicked. I was very nervous, sure that some real LA punk was going to kick my suburban punk ass.

The Whiskey at this point in time was the same as it had been in the late 60’s and 70’s. Booths and tables around the outside. We purchased our tickets and went in. There was a hall way you had to walk down and I remember thinking oh shit I’m going to die. I reached the end of the hall way just was the Alley Cats started playing “Nothing Mean Nothing Anymore”. At that moment everything changed. I had never in my life to that point felt like I was home. The crowd were all cool listen and dancing (pogoing) to the music. The band was awesome.

The waitress came over and asked me what I wanted. “Shit, if I say beer, she will know I’m only 16.” “Bacardi and coke” I said. The only thing you know at 16. And she brought me one. This was my own personal Neverland and I never wanted to leave.

We had told our parents we would be back by 11pm. At 11:30 the Dickies still had not showed up. The were 2 hours late. They finally arrived and we stayed for three or four songs, but we had to get home before we got grounded for life. By this time the club was so packed we could not get to the door and Steve could barely stand up. One of the waitresses snuck us our the back.

That night changed everything. All I wanted from that point on was to be surrounded by music and be with artistic people who would leave you alone.