Whisky a Go Go and Rainbow Bar and Grill proprietor Mikael Maglieri dies at 73


Mikael Maglieri, who carried ahead his household’s legacy on the Sundown Strip because the second-generation proprietor of the Whisky a Go Go nightclub and Rainbow Bar and Grill, died Sunday within the Hollywood Hills of an obvious coronary heart assault. He was 73.

His demise was confirmed by his son, Mikael “Mikey” Maglieri Jr.

Maglieri spent a lifetime on the Sundown Strip, serving to to determine its intimate membership scene as floor zero for generations of legendary performances of rock, steel, punk, soul and extra. He was following within the footsteps of his father, Mario Maglieri, the proprietor of each venues who, till his demise in 2017 at age 93, was generally known as “the King of the Sundown Strip.”

“That is actually a shock,” mentioned Lou Adler, the veteran music impresario and producer who was an unique co-owner of the Rainbow with Whisky companions Mario Maglieri and Elmer Valentine. He first met Mikael when the latter was 9 years outdated. “Mikael by means of the years has had well being points,” Adler mentioned. “He all the time bounces again. This simply got here out of nowhere.”

On Monday, Weapons N’ Roses guitarist Slash, whose profession largely started on the Sundown Strip, re-posted the Whisky’s observe about Maglieri on Instagram: “He was the most effective individual on this planet. Probably the most beneficiant. Probably the most loving… Thanks, Mikael, for every part.”

The Whisky opened in 1964 with a residency by singer Johnny Rivers. Over the many years, the largest and most influential names in rock and R&B appeared on the Whisky stage, from Smokey Robinson to the Doorways, Otis Redding to Blondie, Metallica to Eminem.

Just a few blocks west, the Rainbow opened its doorways in 1972 within the former location of the Villa Nova restaurant (as soon as co-owned by filmmaker Vincente Minnelli), and it rapidly turned the watering gap of selection for artists and followers earlier than and after live shows.

Together with the Roxy Theatre, the Whisky and Rainbow have survived as immovable fixtures on the boulevard by means of shifting musical tastes, financial downturns and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maglieri was born in September 1950 in Chicago. His father, Mario, was a cigar-chewing restaurant supervisor and former bailiff when he moved the household West so he might be a part of Valentine on the Whisky. At 16, Maglieri’s first official job on the Whisky was not because the membership’s inheritor obvious, however as a busboy. On his nights off, he wasn’t allowed to be on the membership in any respect, as a result of his father “didn’t need me in that atmosphere,” he recalled with amusing of the period’s swirling drug tradition within the 2019 documentary “The Rainbow.” However inside a yr, he was filling in as supervisor when his dad wished an evening off.

“He had one of many hardest fathers, and he was in a position to keep trustworthy and constant to that upbringing and but have the ability to insert extra kindness and sensitivity to it,” mentioned Adler, including that Maglieri Jr. will nearly definitely proceed the household companies. “Mikey will [now] be the one which steps into that state of affairs. Although none of them had been within the arts as musicians, the entire household had been very respectful of musicians.”

On the Rainbow, Maglieri appreciated to conduct enterprise within the daytime at a small desk by the patio bar, taking calls there, protecting his face current and recognizable to regulars, simply as his father had executed for years. “Mikael by no means forgot a face,” mentioned Sabrina Ment, an govt at Disney and a longtime buddy. “Actually, it didn’t matter whether or not you had been well-known or not — if he knew you, he would simply rise up and greet you an identical approach,”

The Rainbow’s menu contains Italian recipes from Maglieri’s mom, Scarlett, and the partitions are coated with memorabilia from generations of well-known patrons from music and Hollywood. Adler opened the Roxy Theatre subsequent door a yr later, in a partnership that included Valentine.

The scene that emerged from these three venues captured the creativeness of music followers all over the world, who realized of untamed events and epic performances within the pages of Rolling Stone, Creem and Folks magazines.

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Mikael Maglieri, proven in 2019, spent a lifetime on the Sundown Strip, serving to to determine its intimate membership scene as floor zero for generations of legendary performances of rock, steel, punk, soul and extra.

(Vivien Killilea / Getty Photographs)

Earlier than artist supervisor Wendy Dio met her husband, the late steel singer Ronnie James Dio, she was a waitress on the Rainbow within the Nineteen Seventies, as celebrated rock stars of the second got here to eat, drink and hang around. “Once I labored there, [Led] Zeppelin had been in there. The Who, Deep Purple, you identify them — all people was there,” Dio mentioned. “Even now, when bands come into city, they all the time go to the Rainbow. It should by no means die.”

Throughout his final couple of many years dwelling in West Hollywood, Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister made the Rainbow a second residence, stationing himself between excursions on the finish of the patio bar to play a favourite online game console, smoke cigarettes and drink Jack and Cokes. In an interview from “The Rainbow” documentary, Kilmister says: “I’ve seen a couple of issues on this place you wouldn’t imagine. … This needs to be a protected constructing. This needs to be a revered monument. The historical past of rock ’n’ roll is in right here.”

Maglieri was exceptionally near a few of his well-known clientele. In 2015, he was visiting an ailing Kilmister at his close by apartment and witnessed the musician’s abrupt passing. The subsequent yr, Maglieri commissioned a crowd-funded bronze statue of Kilmister to face on the Rainbow patio.

Within the Rainbow’s upstairs bar, a plaque pays tribute to “The Lair of the Hollywood Vampires,” a mid-’70s group of rock-star hell-raisers that included Alice Cooper and the Who’s Keith Moon. “Folks began calling us the Hollywood Vampires as a result of we’d by no means see daylight,” Cooper recalled to NME in 2015.

As his father slowed down, Mikael stepped into the management position. He’d already grown up at each venues, crossing paths with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin within the early days, Weapons N’ Roses and Motley Crue many years after. In “The Rainbow,” he recalled initially believing he was accountable for Joplin’s demise, after the singer spent the earlier night ingesting closely on the Whisky and was despatched residence with a complimentary case of Southern Consolation. It was quickly decided she’d died of a heroin overdose, not alcohol poisoning.

As a member of the nonprofit Sundown Strip Enterprise Assn., Maglieri helped established the Sundown Strip Music Pageant in 2007, and in subsequent years the road between Doheny Drive and San Vicente Boulevard was closed to make room for outside levels celebrating the Strip’s important position in rock ‘n’ roll historical past. There have been headline performances by native heroes Slash, Joan Jett, Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue and Jane’s Habit earlier than the pageant folded after seven unprofitable years.

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Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister outdoors the Rainbow Bar and Grill in 2001.

(Jo Hale/Redferns)

Whereas Maglieri remained the hands-on host on the Rainbow, by the early 2000s a lot of the day-to-day enterprise of the Whisky was handed on to his son, Mikey. “It’s a household enterprise and Mikael wished to maintain it within the household. I’m certain Mikey needs to do the identical,” mentioned Rainbow workplace supervisor Nancy Lupica, who began as a waitress within the ‘80s.

The Whisky marks its sixtieth anniversary subsequent yr.

On Sunday evening, following the information of Maglieri’s demise, an impromptu memorial unfolded on the Rainbow. One of many bartenders arrange Maglieri’s desk with a bouquet of flowers and a small “reserved” signal, then poured his standard: a vodka soda with lime.

“It’s not only a restaurant, it’s not only a bar,” mentioned Ment, who attended the emotional gathering of buddies and restaurant employees. “A bunch of individuals got here by, as a result of the place else are you going to go?”

Together with son Mikey, Maglieri is survived by daughters Cheryl and Gina, and three grandchildren.


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