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The Starwood entrance in early 1979.
|Former names||P.J.'s (1961-1973)|
|Address||8151 Santa Monica Blvd|
West Hollywood, CA 90046
|Type||Nightclub, music venue|
|Capacity||800 (500 seated)|
400 standing at the Rock Room
|Closed||June 13, 1981|
The Starwood was a popular nightclub and music venue in West Hollywood, California from early 1973 to 1981. Many punk bands and heavy metal bands started their careers playing at the club. The Starwood was located on the northwest corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and North Crescent Heights Blvd.
The Starwood was preceded by P.J.'s, a fashionable jazz and pop music nightclub during the 1960s, which attracted a large number of film and TV personalities, and some old school jazz musicians. Established in February 1961 by Paul Raffles, Chuck Murano, Bill Daugherty, and Elmer Valentine, it hosted such acts as the Bobby Fuller Four, the Standells, Rufus Thomas, Trini Lopez, and Kool & the Gang, all of whom recorded live albums there. Other notable performers at the venue were the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Tim Buckley. The club was managed by Valentine, before he left to found the Whisky a Go Go.
In late 1971, P.J.'s was bought by alleged organized crime figures Eddie Nash and Dominic Lucci, together with Hal Glickman. After receiving a light renovation, the club was reopened to the public in January, 1972.
In 1973, after Nash bought out Lucci's and Glickman's ownership interests in the P.J.'s club, it became the Starwood, which was managed by Gary Fontenot until the club closed permanently on June 13, 1981, by order of the Los Angeles County authorities due to too many citations for underage drinking and noise abatement issues, among others. In May 1982, before its scheduled demolition, it caught fire, though not burning totally. The blaze occurred while unexplained fires befell other Nash-owned properties at the time. Subsequently the structure was torn down, and a mini-mall replaced the nightclub.
The Starwood was highly instrumental in the careers of many regional bands and artists including Van Halen, X, the Germs (who played their legendary last show at the venue), the Go-Go's, Fear, Circle Jerks, the Knack, W.A.S.P. (known as Circus Circus at the time), the Motels, Quiet Riot, Dokken and the Runaways.
Mötley Crüe, one of the most successful bands to emerge from the Sunset Strip music scene, played their first concert together as a band at the Starwood on April 24, 1981 with help from the band's bass guitarist, Nikki Sixx, who was employed by the Starwood and convinced his boss to let them play there, opening for the already established California-based band Y&T. Sixx had performed at the Starwood prior to forming Mötley Crüe with his former band, London.
Some of the acts from outside of California who played at the Starwood include the Damned, Devo, the Jam, Cheap Trick, the Ramones, the Dead Boys, the Stranglers, AC/DC, Slade, Vince Vance & the Valiants, Rush, UFO, the Fleshtones, and Judas Priest, who did three nights at the Starwood in 1978.
The Starwood had two rooms with a hallway between. The second room was a smaller dance room. Admission got customers into both rooms although the concert side was always crowded, it was also fairly small! It was what is commonly known today as shoebox size and configuration with a long stage.
In popular culture
- The Starwood was mentioned in the Red Hot Chili Peppers' song "Deep Kick (Had to sneak into the Starwood)".
- The club is also mentioned (along with Madame Wong’s and the Whisky a Go Go) in the title track from Frank Zappa's 1981 album, Tinsel Town Rebellion.
- Epting, Chris (2007). Led Zeppelin Crashed Here: The Rock and Roll Landmarks of North America. Santa Monica Press. ISBN 9781595800183. p. 147.
- Young, Paul (2002). L.A. Exposed: Strange Myths and Curious Legends in the City of Angels. St. Martin's Press. p. 113. ISBN 9780312206468.
- Klosterman, Chuck (September 2002). "Paradise City". Spin 18 (9): 72.