The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on December 27, 1977 · 61
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · 61

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Tuesday, December 27, 1977
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8 Pari IV Tues., Dec. 27, 1977 log SlngelrS Citnrtt Breaking Out of Bar -Band Gigs BY TERRY ATKINSON Los Angeles may be the center of the record industry, but it's a rough place for a local band to land a contract, Although record company executives have been getting writer's cramp from signing up New York and London groups, they haven't been taking many chances on local talent. Most of the young bands rewarded with contracts haven't panned out yet, This general lack of success has discouraged many Los Angeles groups from trying for a label, It's safer financially to just be a bar-band, playing other people s hits from club to club. Most seem to settle for that. Van Halen is an exception. Though the hard-rock quartet from Pasadena once had to support itself on the bar-band circuit, it not only went after a label but also hooked up with prestigious Warner Bros. It took a committed effort. "It's easy to get in a rut out here," says the group's bassist, Michael Anthony. "You can go to a place like Big Daddy's and make $1,500 a week playing other people's hits. You can do that the rest of your life." Among the nightmares from Van Halen's bar-band days: Playing everybody's music but its own. "Cream, Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Top 40, James Brown, Ohio Players . . . you name it, we played it," says lead singer David Roth. Doing four sets a night for six nights a week at Van fS'" if) ; US' LJabL Nuys' Rock Corporation, and reading announcements between numbers like "Remember, it's two-for-one night next Thursday." Being told by club owners to keep the patrons dancing and, thus, thirsty. "We were supposed to make sure the people got into the bar, not into the band," says guitarist Edward Van Halen (who, along with his brother Alex the group's drummer gave his name to the band). He also remembers the Covina proprietor who fired the group because Edward played "too psychedelic." And Van Halen was never allowed to perform at its home town's top dance club, the Handlebar. "I guess they were afraid our rowdy fans might come." Van Halen's music is hard-driving rock with rough edges. There's nothing revolutionary about It, but it's executed in an engaging, sometimes exciting way. Rather than being another splash In the new wave, the band is more in the tradition of British blues -rock groups with a taste for speed and flash, like Deep Purple, Roth, In fact, sings in a style much like that of Purple's Ian Gillan, though on stage he looks and moves more like a cross between Robert Plant and Black Oak's Jim Dandy, Edward Van Halen's Jeff Beck-Ritchie Blackmore-like guitar playing provides the group's zing. His brother Alex and bassist Anthony give ample support. It took more than three years of gigs for Van Halen to get the kind of exposure it needed (a stand at Hollywood's Starwood club) to attract record company attention. For the Starwood gig the band hired roadies for the first time. "We wanted to come on with a little class," chuckles Roth, "and we couldn't be seen setting up our own stuff In Hollywood." But the extra expenditure almost broke them. Just when they were about to bid Hollywood adieu, they had a visitor backstage who asked them to please not sign any record contracts until he could draw up the necessary papers. It was Mo Ostin, Warner Bros.' president. "A scene right out of the movies," Roth remembers with a smile. The debut album will be released soon and the band headlines Friday and Saturday at the Whisky. A national tour is sure to follow. Hitting the road is going to be a new experience for the four musicians. They played all those dates at all those clubs for three years solid , . , and not one was outside Los Angeles. "We were going to play Santa Barbara once," recalls Edward. "But it got rained out." BITS & PIECES: Fleetwood Mac continues to pile up the honors. The group's "Rumours" and "Dreams" were named the year's best album and single, respectively, in Rolling Stone magazine's readers poll. Radio & Records an L.A.-based publication that measures radio airplay-has also declared "Rumours" to be the most "played" LP of 77. Runner-up: the Eagles' "Hotel California' Dcbby Boone's "You Light Up My Life" was the most-played single, the magazine judged. Edward Van Halen mm LUOTT KASTNU . LESTER PtRSKV RICHARD BURTON !'EQUUS" United Adult 6th SMASH WEEK! WESTWO0D. Regent 477 0059 Da'. 12 30 3 00 5 30 6 00 1035 COSTA MESA. Cintmi Ctntir 979-4141 PASADENA, Esquire 684-1774 ANAHEIM. Brookhurst-loge 772-6446 Kurosawa's Academy Award-Winning Masterpiece "An awesome portrait of man and nature. The epic simplicity of this film is something that only the subtlest genius could achieve... must not be missed by anyone who wants to see what film can do that not even Homer or Shakespeare could do." NEWSWEEK i MAGAZINE "Has the clear resonance of gemus...real majesty." -time magazine "Delicate and haunting... beautifuL.marvelously played." NEW YORK TIMES QRAMO ma WINNER MOSCOW FM.M FftTlVAL HUUcH COHMAN PRESENTS A FILM BY AKIRA KUROSAWA "DERSU UZALA" THE HUNTER staging Maum Mumuk Yuri Solomm Screenplay by Akira Kurosawa and Yuri Nagibm Produced by MosMm Studios USSR with the participation ol Aielier-41 Japan and Salra f tlms Directed by Akira Kurosawa WtffWM wucu Music by Isaac Shwarts A New World Picture ; . I (EngHh tubtWM) U.S.A. PREMIERE ENGAGEMENT NOW SHOWING DAILY HOLIDAY MATINEES 2:00-4:30-7:00-9:45 A IAEMMIE THEATRE I iiioiiuMuaa I 477-tf8l. f Ik IIP' I MARK HAMILL HARRISON FORD CAME FISHER Wwen and Directed by Produced by Muvcby GORG LUCAS GARY KURTZ JOHN WILLIAMS pANAvistON-prints cr rxiuxe TECHNICOLOR n -B-3 PGTpAfitNTM. cDlOANCI SUGCfStlO B- wtopw So.w : . L)J Toi LnWiwii o-n-Ctm 70MMl rjfJlPSYSHMl' Qnqindt Mow'f Soirti' nM 0" fflti C Wy Reco'ft 3"d bpes e,,,otMCiNtum C 1 PLin CENTURY PLAZA, CENTURY CI1Y . 553-4291 DAILY lOO 315 530 . 7:45 & 1015 PM VAUDATtD mi PARKING ALSO IN ORANGE COUNTY MANN CHINESE, HOUYWOOD 464-8111 DAILY 1245 305 5:30 BOO 8i 1030 PM NEWPORT CINEMA NEWPORT BEACH 714644-0760 SORWY NO PASSES ACCf PUD fOII IMS ENGAGIMf Nl ACADEMY MEMBERS: Your card will admit you and a guest to any performance. nTI nil H i ! H fl i fn"" m n i-1 ri i it r I I n 1 in A JOIKl CASSAVETES LrDLEUJ f1 J I 1 for GEN A ROWLANDS" KEVIN THOMAS, LA. TIMES ,ji aUL UVUlr In. for JOAN BLONDELL" KEVIN THOMAS, L.A. TIMES is Ml IMIfffc WW yUVuLT la it's a brilliant, romantic, tender and tough backstage saga that offers us fresh insights into that peculiar chemistry that makes an actor an artist." GEORGE ANTHONY, TORONTO SUN GENA ROWLANDS BEN GAZZARA JOAN BLONDELL PAUL STEWART ZOHRA LAM PERT JOHN CASSAVETES ffl MANN'S FOX ACADEMY MEMBERS: YOUR CARD ADMITS YOU AND A GUEST TO ANY PERFORMANCE. WW LI 11 THEATRE 8444 WILSHIRE BLVD. 24:3079:30pm 653-0863

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