The Life Of The Sunset Strip: Mikael Maglieri Sr. 1950-2023 by Lisa Burke

Where do we even begin when discussing the life of a true legend of the Sunset Strip, Mikael Maglieri Sr.? His recent passing on November 5, 2023 from a heart attack came as a bit of a shock, since at the age of 73, he was still so actively involved at the Rainbow etc. His father, Mario Maglieri (King of the Sunset Strip) deceased May 4th, 2017 at 93 was, of course, the original co-owner of The Whisky A Go Go and The Rainbow Bar And Grill. Mikael Maglieri was born in 1950 Chicago, and later his family migrated to Los Angeles, CA, where his father joined up with Elmer Valentine and Lou Adler to blow up the Sunset Strip with the sound of rock and roll. Thus, Mikael Maglieri Sr. literally grew up on the Sunset Strip, and even began his time working as a busboy at the Whisky during the late 1960’s. He quickly became a leader, taking over for his dad on his days off, while witnessing all the best eras of live music up close and personal. It was during those crazy times with Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and later Slash, Axl Rose, Duff Mckagan, Sebastian Bach, Danzig, Lemmy Kilmister, plus a bunch of other famous hooligan musicians of the Sunset Strip, including Mötley Crüe themselves, when they were busy playing some of their greatest shows at the Whisky A Go Go. Mikael Maglieri Sr. was the glue of the Sunset Strip, sticking the rock and metal scene together over many, many years, and he really was a great, caring person with a true appreciation for the music that saved us all in the end. Thanks to the entire Maglieri family sticking to their proper Italian cooking and business roots, the Rainbow Bar and Grill became the best place to be before and after any live rock and roll and heavy metal shows in the area from the 1960’s through today. Today, in 2024, the Sunset Strip has gone through many changes, some unpleasant, such as losing the street takeover Sunset Strip Music Festival, as well as the Key Club, but the one constant has been the Rainbow and Whisky still belonging to the popular live music scenes, including heavy metal from all over the world. Many Scandinavian and European heavy metal bands that play a show in Los Angeles these days will make an effort to hang at the Rainbow before and after their shows. In their countries, the Rainbow Bar and Grill and Whisky A Go Go are famous landmarks of the best music history in the US to them. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Fernando Ribeiro (vocalist of the Portugal based band Moonspell), Mikael Stanne (vocalist of the Sweden based band Dark Tranquility), Jonne Järvelä (vocalist of the finland based band Korpiklaani), Johan Hegg (vocalist of Sweden based band Amon Amarth), as well as countless others all in the late hours at the Rainbow. This is thanks to all of the Maglieri family, including Mikael Sr’s son Mikael “Mikey” Maglieri, who is now the newest owner of the Whisky and Rainbow, along with his sisters Cheryl and Gina, plus three grandchildren of Mikael Sr. This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the Whisky A Go Go. If you haven’t seen Cheryl or Mikey at the Whisky A Go Go, then you haven’t been there. It is quite apparent, that even through the beginning of the pandemic, they kept the Rainbow alive however best they could. Not being able to have live music shows at the Whisky A Go Go was a cruel time to be alive. However, today, it still strongly shows the influence and love for live music that the family has brought from the world to their home. From the wild old days of Slash, most inclined to pass out on the front curb by the Rainbow in the early hours of the morning, to the modern two day party binge rocker crowd that has the occasional slip up of passing out at the bar or being kicked out for one reason or another, the Maglieri’s have been there throughout it all. They always stay true to those who stay true to them. Loyalty is a way of life for them, as it should be for everyone. Mikael Sr. was a dear loyal friend of Lemmy Kilmister, and he wanted to honor him after his passing, at his Rainbow home. He brought in the Lemmy statue and Lemmy Lounge, which is now a staple of the Rainbow, as the real Lemmy was a staple of the Rainbow patio where he played his favorite bar game machine while drinking Jack and Cokes, and making friends with the bartenders. Now, with both of them deceased, along with Mario Maglieri, we can only hope they are hanging out at the Rainbow of the afterlife, while all their favorite musician friends play the best music all around them. In the words of Lemmy Kilmister “I don’t believe in heaven or hell. I don’t believe in anything that was dreamed up by men.” In conclusion, Lemmy is God, and the late Mikael Maglieri Sr., and his father Mario Maglieri are in excellent hands.


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