MIKAEL MAGLIERI, Owner Of Sunset Strip Fixtures Rainbow Bar & Grill And Whisky A Go Go, Dies At 73
November 6, 2023
Mikael Maglieri, owner of the Hollywood's Sunset Strip fixtures Rainbow Bar & Grill and Whisky A Go Go, passed away on Sunday, November 5, reportedly of a heart attack. He was 73 years old.
Whisky A Go Go confirmed Mikael's death in a social media post, writing: "He Was The Best Person In The World. The Most Generous. The Most Loving. Just The Best Person In The World.
"Thank You, Mikeal, For Everything. I Can't Even Begin To Tell You How Much You’re Going To Be Missed."
Mikael was the son of original Whisky and Rainbow owner Mario Maglieri, who died in May 2017. He was 93.
Mikael followed in his father's footsteps. He first started out as a bar back and then eventually took over ownership and managing duties of the of the Whisky and the Rainbow.
In 2013, Mikael talked about his father's Hollywood enterprises in Mxdwn magazine.
"The Rainbow Bar & Grill first opened in 1972 as a restaurant for industry people and the Whisky A Go Go has always been a venue where groups came to see groups play," he said. "When we opened the Rainbow, it was a natural hang out spot here on the Strip. The fact that my parents have been in the restaurant business for most of my life and that my mother is an excellent cook are big parts of how it started. We have won awards because of the food from recipes by my mother."
Mikael spoke fondly of his father who was then 89 years old.
"My father's been the backbone in this industry," Mikael said. "He's a legend himself. Every rock star, celebrity and big name in the industry highly regards him because he's spent most of his career standing outside the door of the Rainbow, Whisky A Go Go and The Roxy forming those close relationships. It makes a difference."
Since opening in 1964, the Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles has hosted some of the biggest rock stars in history, including THE DOORS, THE BYRDS, Janis Joplin, Neil Young, Smokey Robinson, THE TEMPTATIONS, LED ZEPPELIN, Alice Cooper, VAN HALEN, GUNS N' ROSES, MÖTLEY CRÜE and METALLICA. In 1972, Mario Maglieri, along with Whisky co-founder Elmer Valentine, Lou Adler and others, started the Rainbow Bar & Grill down the street from the Whisky. In its heyday, the Rainbow counted Keith Moon, John Lennon and Alice Cooper among its regulars.
Born February 7, 1924 in Seppino, Italy, Mario came to the U.S. at age four. He eventually ran restaurants and clubs in Chicago until he moved to Los Angeles with his family. There he started the legendary clubs Rainbow, The Roxy and Whisky. His Italian heritage inspired the delicious food served at the Rainbow, especially the pizza, which was known as the best in the city.
Truly a lover of music and the arts, he helped hundreds of artists get their start in Los Angeles. Known as the the King Of The Sunset Strip, hopefuls from all over the world came to Mario's clubs with the desire of being discovered. He was a friend to all, and frequently came across talented musicians who went on to become platinum sellers. Their pictures line the walls of the Rainbow.
In 2019, Gravitas Ventures released a documentary called "The Rainbow" about the beloved and respected owner of Rainbow Bar & Grill, The Roxy Theatre and Whisky A Go Go and his family, and their significance to the Los Angeles rock scene these last six decades. Directed by Zak Knutson, the documentary, which can be seen below, features interviews with rock legends Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Gene Simmons, Lita Ford and the late Lemmy Kilmister.
The Whisky played an important role in many musical careers, especially for bands based in Southern California. THE BYRDS, BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD, SMOKESTACK LIGHTNIN' were regulars, and THE DOORS were the house band for a while — until they got fired. Van Morrison's band THEM had a two-week residency in June 1966, with THE DOORS as the opening act. On the last night they all jammed together on "Gloria". Frank Zappa's THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION got their record contract based on a performance at the Whisky. THE TURTLES performed there when their newest (and biggest-selling) single "Happy Together" was becoming a hit, only to lose their new bassist, Chip Douglas (who had arranged the song),to THE MONKEES; guitarist Michael Nesmith invited him to become their producer (he returned to THE TURTLES a year later, to produce them). Neil Diamond also played at the Whisky on occasion. METALLICA bassist Cliff Burton was recruited by the band after they watched him play a show there with his band TRAUMA. CHICAGO was the house band there when Jimi Hendrix saw them and asked them to go on tour and open for him.
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