The Roxy turns 40

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Photo via Flickr by ashliewaters/ Creative Commons

Photo via Flickr by ashliewaters/ Creative Commons

We all know those signature sounds of a live nightclub: the yells and whooping of fans, the tuning up of instruments by the band and, of course, the actual performance.

But when KCRW recently dropped by the famed Sunset Strip’s Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip, we heard and saw none of that. We had come to The Roxy when it was at its quietest and emptiest to talk to the club’s owner Nic Adler, as the famed music venue observes its 40th anniversary.

During those four decades, a parade of legendary performers have rocked the house at The Roxy. They include  Neil Young, Frank Zappa, Bob Marley, Bette Midler,  Peter Tosh,  Guns N Roses, Poison,  Motley Crüe, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Avril Lavigne and Adele. And, of course, for every famous performer who’s been on The Roxy stage there have been countless other lesser known musicians and singers who hoped a gig there would be their ticket to fame and fortune in the L.A. music scene.

The Roxy was founded by Nic Adler’s dad,  legendary record producer Lou Adler. When he opened the club in 1973, Nic says his father wanted to create an intimate music venue that made the audience as much a part of the performance on stage as possible. The elder Adler also had a keen eye for new musical talent that was on the brink of making it big.

Nic Adler, born the same year the club opened, just about grew up at The Roxy and absorbed both the business lessons and distinctive rhythms of nightclub life. He’s now trying to make sure The Roxy maintains its importance as a crossroads of Los Angeles music. That’s way more difficult to do in 2013 than 1973, when the club opened. One reason for that is the Sunset Strip is no longer the “must go to” place for hot new bands to perform and there are simply more music venues out there all competing for a limited pool of great talent to book.

Below and check out some of photos we took while at The Roxy.

Nic Adler and his father, Lou.
Nic Adler and his father, Lou.
Roxy Theatre owner Nic Adler (left) with KCRW's Saul Gonzalez sitting at Adler's favorite booth in the club. He says because of the way the sound spreads from the performance stage through the room, it's the best seat in the house. (Photo by Heather Kohos)
Roxy Theatre owner Nic Adler (left) with KCRW’s Saul Gonzalez sitting at Adler’s favorite booth in the club. He says because of the way the sound spreads from the performance stage through the room, it’s the best seat in the house. (Photo by Heather Kohos)
Via Flicrk by Stepan Mazurov / Courtesy The Roxy
LA Band Sabrosa Purr via Flicrk by Stepan Mazurov / Courtesy The Roxy
The Roxy's main bare stage and floor at 10:00 a.m. Bands generally don't start loading in their equipment until 3:00 in the afternoon. (Photo by Saul Gonzalez)
The Roxy’s main bare stage and floor at 10:00 a.m. Bands generally don’t start loading in their equipment until 3:00 in the afternoon. (Photo by Saul Gonzalez)
Band posters along the stairs leading leading up to The Roxy's main office. (Photo by Saul Gonzalez)
Band posters along the stairs leading leading up to The Roxy’s main office. (Photo by Saul Gonzalez)