Troubadour (West Hollywood, California)
Exterior of the Troubadour in 2006
|Location||9081 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, California|
|Genre(s)||Folk, singer-songwriters, rock, heavy metal|
The Troubadour is a nightclub located in West Hollywood, California, United States, at 9081 Santa Monica Boulevard just east of Doheny Drive and the border of Beverly Hills. Inspired by a visit to the then newly opened Troubadour café in London, it was opened in 1957 by Doug Weston as a coffee house on La Cienega Boulevard, then moved to its current location shortly after opening and has remained open continuously since. It was a major center for folk music in the 1960s, and subsequently for singer-songwriters and rock. In 2011, a documentary about the club called Troubadours: Carole King / James Taylor & The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter was released.
History and cultural significance
The Troubadour played an important role in the careers of Hoyt Axton, Jackson Browne, The Byrds, Neil Diamond, Elton John, Eagles, Carole King, Love, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, J.D. Souther, James Taylor, Tom Waits, and other prominent and successful performers, who played performances there establishing their future fame.
In October 1962, comedian Lenny Bruce was arrested on obscenity charges for using the word "schmuck" on stage; one of the arresting officers was Sherman Block, who would later become Los Angeles County Sheriff. Buffalo Springfield debuted at the club in 1966, and Randy Newman started out there as well. On August 25, 1970, Neil Diamond (who had just recorded his first live album at the Troubadour) introduced Elton John, who performed his first show in the United States at the Troubadour. Comics Cheech & Chong and Steve Martin were discovered there in the early 1970s. In 1974, John Lennon and his friend Harry Nilsson were ejected from the club for drunkenly heckling the Smothers Brothers. In 1975, Elton John returned to do a series of special anniversary concerts. In November 2007, James Taylor and Carole King played a series of concerts commemorating the nightclub's 50th anniversary and reuniting the two from their 1970 performance.
The Troubadour featured new wave and punk in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including Bad Religion, Flipper, The Meat Puppets, Napalm Death, and Redd Kross. L.A. residents and proto-grunge band Melvins have played The Troubadour stage 24 times and counting as of November 2019, including live tapings for Carson Daly in 2012 and 2015. In the mid- to late-1980s the club became virtually synonymous with glam metal bands like Candy, Cinderella, Guns N' Roses, L.A. Guns, Mötley Crüe, Poison, Ratt, Warrant, and W.A.S.P.. Guns N' Roses played their first show at the Troubadour, and were also discovered by a David Geffen A&R representative at the club. During the glam and metal years, Gina Barsamian was the primary booking agent for the club. It continued to attract non-glam metal acts through this time and into the 1990s such as Fiona Apple, Steve Earle, Mudhoney, Papa Roach, and Radiohead.
In the 21st Century, the venue is well known for promoting artists as diverse as Arctic Monkeys, Bastille, Billy Talent, Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand, Kina Grannis, Ray LaMontagne, Lawson, The Libertines, Melt Banana, Metz, Joanna Newsom, and Orville Peck. Rise Against filmed at the club five nights in a row for a DVD, Generation Lost. On April 1, 2016, it saw the first show of Guns N' Roses since Slash and Duff McKagan had rejoined the band. Busted's first show as a reformed band in America was performed at the Troubadour in June 2017. The first concert of Grace VanderWaal's first national tour was held at the Troubadour on November 5, 2017. Stone Temple Pilots' first live performance with their newest singer Jeff Gutt was held in November 2017.
In 2020, like many small businesses & music venues, The Troubadour has struggled during the pandemic, and launched a GoFundMe page in May, which raised $70,000. In August, Elton John celebrated his 50th anniversary of playing the venue, and expressed his concern about the survival of the iconic venue.
- Oliver, Myrna, "Doug Weston, Troubadour Founder, Dies". Los Angeles Times, February 15, 1999
- "Doug Weston Of Troubadour Dies", The Hollywood Reporter, Tuesday, February 16, 1999
- [dead link]
- "Troubadours: Carole King / James Taylor & The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter: Watch the Full Film". PBS. March 3, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
- Brownfield, Paul (August 7, 1999), "Telling the 'Truth' About Bruce.", Los Angeles Times
- Harry 2000b, pp. 927–929. sfn error: no target: CITEREFHarry2000b (help)
- Hochman, Steve (November 30, 2007), "James Taylor and Carole King: They've Still Got Friends.", Los Angeles Times, pp. E1, E28
- LA Weekly, LP (2017). "Busted". L.A. Weekly. Archived from the original on April 3, 2018. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
- "Stone Temple Pilots Welcomes New Lead Singer Jeff Gutt at Los Angeles' Troubadour". Billboard. November 15, 2017.
- Millman, Ethan; Millman, Ethan (May 7, 2020). "Owner of Famed L.A. Venue The Troubadour: 'Are We Going to Be a Footnote in History?'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
- "Historic Troubadour nightclub launches GoFundMe page, calls survival 'a big if'". Los Angeles Times. May 5, 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
- "Will the Troubadour, Site of Great Music Moments, Survive the Pandemic?". TheWrap. May 12, 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
- "50 years ago today, Elton John played his first star-making gig at WeHo's Troubadour". Los Angeles Times. August 25, 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
- "Elton John Stresses the Need to Save Independent Music Venues like the Troubadour, a Crucial Stop in His Career".