Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Industry Interview: Nic Adler of The Roxy Theatre

It's no secret that Hollywood serves as the world's musical and cultural touchstone when it comes to who's "hot" on the scene. The biggest names in entertainment, everyone from Bob Marley to T-Rex, have made their way through LA at one point or another, and chances are they have paid a visit to or played a set at The Roxy Theatre. This iconic live performance venue in the heart of Hollywood has seen its fair share of shenanigans in the 35 years it's been around, and continues to reinvent itself for each new generation of music lovers.

State your name and occupation for the beautiful people of Los Angeles please (here is your chance to shout out your biz, so do it. Do it.)

Nic Adler, Owner of The Roxy Theatre in Hollywood. More importantly, I’m a LA native, I love this city, and I’ve been fortunate enough to take over the family business. I’m a member of the Sunset Strip Business Association (SSBA), and also heavily involved with the Sunset Strip Music Festival which is in its second year now, and scheduled for September 10-12, 2009.

If you could resurrect any musical LA landmark(s) what you would it be? (i.e. Coconut Grove, Madame Wongs, Hong Kong CafĂ©, Aron’s Records)?

More than any landmark I’d like to see the (Sunset) Strip as a whole achieve the same relevance and importance it had back in the day, that is really the goal of the SSBA and events like the Sunset Strip Music Festival. Neighborhood events like these remind people that LA is the music capital of the world, promotes the legacy of the strip and the importance of the past.

In the 70s, bands like Bob Marley, and The Clash weren’t playing venues like the Staples Center they were playing either huge stadiums or smaller clubs like the Roxy, the Whisky a Go Go, the Troubadour, and maybe the Palace. Back then, clubs didn’t look at neighboring venues as “competition” instead they were thriving by working together. My goal today is for the Strip to be reinstated as the breeding ground for legends just like it was back then. It would be a coup for us who are a part of the Strip, and I think that we are starting to see that actually happen.

The Palladium has recently gone under the knife. The Tower Records on Sunset has closed their doors for good (1971-2009). In New York, CBGB’s lost its battle with the city. Both Kurt Cobain and Neil Young have been quoted as saying, ‘It’s better to burn out than fade away.’ Thoughts..?

I was turning on to Sunset from Doheny one morning when I saw a guy standing on the street corner holding a sign that read ‘TOWER RECORDS CLOSING *SALE* 40% OFF.’ Losing that landmark (Tower Records), we lost a "leg on the table," so to speak. I thought to myself, ‘How many other landmarks are going to disappear if we don’t do something about it?’ That was a huge wake up call for me, and that was when I got heavily involved with the Sunset Strip Business Association three years ago.

In recent years, home grown music communities have been sprouting up in neighborhoods like Silverlake, for example, and it has also helped that radio stations have gotten more involved. We are also starting to see music venues work together like they did back in the day, still highly competitive but in a good way. Our current relationships with neighborhood venues like the Viper room and the Key Club, are making the Strip so much stronger because we are all striving for the same thing. We are resurrecting a 3-4 block radius and with that re-introducing people to one of the most famous locations in the world, the Sunset Strip. I want multiple music communities in LA, because I think LA can handle it. We have to keep moving forward. When you start to lose that sense of community, you die a slow death.

The Lofts @ Cherokee Studios are hoping to keep the legacy alive for a whole new generation of music lovers. Where do you see your business 5/10/20 years down the road?

Cherokee Studios was an important part of LA's musical legacy, so I think that what the Lofts @ Cherokee Studios is trying to accomplish is important. It’s hard to care about something when it’s not relevant to today's audience and that is exactly why you have to come up with new ways to reinvent yourself. For us at the Roxy, our online presence is not only important but imperative and we view it as the future of things to come.

The Roxy has been around for 35 years which means generations of music goers have had an “experience” at our club. These days, parents come in with their children to see a new band and tell us about the wild times they had here back in the day. There is nothing better than feeling like we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. Hearing these type of stories really inspires me and reminds me to never take for granted the legacy we have created here.

With the dawn of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, we have been given a great opportunity to interact directly with our patrons every single day through one-on-one viral conversation. The reason we feel it so important for our venue to have such a solid presence online is so that we continue to stay relevant by fulfilling the specific requests of our current patrons. Because of our online efforts, we are currently ranked the number one music venue on Twitter and this sort of thing is what is going to keep us around for another 35 years.

For complete concert + event listings and more information about The Roxy Theatre, check out their website!

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