Mikeal Maglieri, the owner of The Whisky a Go-Go and The Rainbow Bar and Grill, has died on November 5, 2023. According to reports, he died of a heart attack. He was 73 years old.
Maglieri was the son of legendary Rainbow Bar & Grill and Whisky-A-Go-Go owner and founder Mario Maglieri who passed away in May of 2017.
In 2019, Gravitas Ventures unveiled a documentary titled “The Rainbow.” This film delves into the captivating story of the esteemed owner of Rainbow Bar & Grill, The Roxy Theatre, and Whisky A Go Go, along with his family, and their profound influence on the Los Angeles rock scene over the past six decades. Directed by Zak Knutson, the documentary, available for viewing below, includes insightful interviews with iconic figures in the world of rock, such as Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Gene Simmons, Lita Ford, and the late Lemmy Kilmister.
Since its inception in 1964, the Whisky A Go Go, located on the iconic Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, has played host to a stellar lineup of rock legends. The roster includes renowned acts such as 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. Notably, in 1972, Mario Maglieri, in collaboration with Whisky co-founder Elmer Valentine, Lou Adler, and other notable figures, initiated the Rainbow Bar & Grill just down the street from the Whisky. During its zenith, the Rainbow attracted the likes of Keith Moon, John Lennon, and Alice Cooper as regular patrons.
The Whisky held a pivotal role in the trajectories of many musical careers, particularly for bands rooted in Southern California. THE BYRDS, BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD, and SMOKESTACK LIGHTNIN’ were regular fixtures, while THE DOORS briefly served as the house band until their departure. Van Morrison’s band, THEM, enjoyed a two-week residency in June 1966, featuring THE DOORS as the opening act. On the final night, they joined forces for a memorable jam session on “Gloria.” Notably, Frank Zappa’s THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION secured a record contract based on their performance at the Whisky.
THE TURTLES took the stage at the Whisky as their hit single “Happy Together” was soaring in popularity, though they lost their bassist, Chip Douglas, who had arranged the song, to THE MONKEES. Guitarist Michael Nesmith invited him to become their producer, although Douglas later returned to THE TURTLES a year later in a producing role. Neil Diamond also made occasional appearances at the Whisky, adding to its musical legacy.
A significant chapter in the venue’s history unfolded when METALLICA bassist Cliff Burton was recruited by the band after an electrifying performance with his group TRAUMA at the Whisky. Additionally, CHICAGO served as the house band when Jimi Hendrix witnessed their performance, subsequently inviting them to tour and open for him, further cementing the Whisky’s role in shaping the music industry.