Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I dream of Raji's

The Dream Syndicate

If you wander over to Good Hodgkins, you can read my contributions to a very cool collaborative post on live tracks that are better than their studio counterparts. I'll confess this is not my subject, so I hope I didn't embarrass myself too badly. But it was fun to think about and I always welcome the opportunity to climb out of the new music trenches and revisit older tunes I love.

In researching that live Dream Syndicate track I came across some interesting stuff about this club Raji's that I couldn't fit into the meager space allotted me. But first, let me backtrack a sec and say that if you don't own a copy of the band's Days of Wine and Roses (US, UK, iTunes), you should get it now. It's one of those essential rock n' roll documents. Let me also boldly claim that if anything on Wine makes your heart sing or spine tingle (and something should) OR if you happen to love electrifying live shows, then you should also own The Complete Live at Raji's (US, UK, eMusic).

The promotional portion of this program out of this way...Raji's was a gritty little Hollywood music venue that was popular in the 80s with such L.A. mainstays as The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Guns N' Roses and famously hosted Nirvana in 1990. I remember wandering into Raji's one night in the early 90s when I was living in L.A. The place was past its prime--ownership changed around then--and, truthfully, I was young and drunk and don't remember a whole lot about that night. Those were the club's twilight years and the place suffered some damage during the 1992 riots and apparently was finished off by the Northridge quake in 1994. (The first half of the 90s were a rough time for L.A.). I've read that a trendy, expensive bar in the same neighborhood has since adopted the Raji's name. Which somehow seems like an apt metaphor for the way gentrifying neighborhoods appropriate "urban grit" and "authenticity" and repackage it for yuppie consumption. Anyone who has lived in big cities over the past decade knows what I'm talking about.

More from Live at Raji's:

See That My Grave Is Kept Clean - The Dream Syndicate

And in case you don't know, Steve Wynn's still kicking as a professional musician. He did a neat interview and performed live on Sound Opinions in April. You can also stream some of his recent work and grab a couple mp3s on his MySpace. His newest album with The Miracle 3 is Tick...Tick...Tick (US, UK).


Anonymous Bill V said...

I tried so hard to like that band, it just never clicked. I'm guessing I'm not the only one since I rarely hear their name compared to others from that time.

4:07 PM  
Blogger aLPhajerk said...

in the last band to ever play raji's. the night of the northridge quake. in the audience were tia carrere and esai morales. also as a matter of trivia, weezer's 1st ever gig was raji's. it was a good, not great, gig for us. but a fabulous warm LA night. i got home wasted at almost 3 am dreading having to go to work the next day. suffice it to say i didn't have to go to work the next day.

11:48 PM  

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