The Sunset Strip Whisky, which opened in January 1964, was founded by Mario Maglieri, Elmer Valentine, Phil Tanzini, Shelly Davis, and attorney Theodore Flier. The Maglieri family has owned and operated the club for three generations, and will celebrate their 50th anniversary in January 2014.
Virgin Produced, the film and television development and production arm of the Virgin Group, is the first company that has been able to secure the rights to the Whisky A Go Go, with the two companies’ strong music ties playing a role in making the deal. Talks are underway with potential showrunners and directors, with plans to pitch the project to premium cable networks within the next month.
Though Whisky A Go Go was billed as a discothèque, the club opened with a live band led by Johnny Rivers and short-skirted DJ Rhonda Lane spinning records between sets from a suspended cage at the right of the stage. When, in July 1965, the DJ danced during Rivers' set, the audience thought it was part of the act and the concept of go-go dancers dancing in cages was born.
The club has served as a launching pad for such music icons as The Doors, Jimmy Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Buffalo Springfield and Guns n’ Roses. Whisky A Go Go also staged acts during the west coast Motown revolution and hosted James Brown, Smokey Robinson, Otis Redding, Marvin Gay, Gladys Knight and The Pips.
The Whisky was also in on the new wave, punk rock, and heavy metal scenes in the late 1970s, and presented local acts like Quiet Riot, Mötley Crüe and Van Halen while hosting early performances by the Ramones, The Misfits, Blondie, Talking Heads, Suzi Quatro, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, and The Police.