Event promoter Nick Culves has been showcasing some of today’s top rock talents on stage at the Whisky A Go-Go in West Hollywood for thirteen years with astounding benefits for cancer research. Founded in 2001 by Culves, with the aid of Motley Crue fans around the world, the annual Hollywood Cruefest event held by Culves raises money and donates 100 percent of the proceeds to cancer research in the name of Skylar Neil, the daughter of Motley Crue front man Vince Neil who lost her battle with cancer at the tender age of four years old.
Throughout the event, starting at 5pm and continuing on until the Whisky closed its doors at 2:30 a.m., the stage was lit up with artists giving their all in benefit to the cause. Between acts, the staff took the stage and called out raffle winners, gifting them with prizes that far exceeded the ten-dollar donation attendees paid per ticket. Some fans left with actual musical instruments including a custom painted SUB Bass guitar featuring the Cruefest Event Logo, a top of the line Spector bass guitar and two rock ready electric guitars. Several gift packages distributed included hats and t-shirts, limited edition stipple art posters hand signed by Vince Neil and other items signed by artists including former short term Motley Crue vocalist John Corabi who gave the band a top ten single with the song Hooligan’s Holiday in 1994, then putting the band back on the musical map.
Opening the show was another feature that brought applause, and tears to some attendee’s eyes. The classic rock cover band Stingray traveled out from St. Genevieve, MO and brought a sound resolution to the career of band’s drummer, Richie “Z” Zoellner. Diagnosed with ALS, Richie is rapidly losing grip in both hands and finds it hard to take the stairs as he used to without aid. Richie has been a lifelong musician and wanted nothing more than to grace the stage of the world famous Whisky A Go-Go once before he rests his sticks due to ALS. Richie got on stage with his band and brought the crowd to the front of the risers for a series of cheers, some dancing and a lot of applause.
“Take a good look at the people who have played here,” Richie shared. “The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Motley Crue! It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and thanks to Nick, I got my chance to add playing the Whisky to my career resume and it feels great!”
Also performing during the event was local shock rock band Murder FM who appeared as part of a US tour schedule, up and coming 14-year-old guitarist Nik Kai and his band Kemical Kill, highlighted Hollywood artists Rebel Hotel (featuring former A.H.M.A.D. bassist Satoshi Ichiyanagi) and LA based hard rockers The Drama with guitarist Conrado Pesinato (Alcatrazz).
As fans poured in and ticket sales proved positive, the stage got crowded while fans pushed closer to see Rachelle and the Rising, an up and coming young rock band that has recently scored a series of soundtrack credits for their new recordings. Seattle band Girl On Fire, a Century Media Recording band, made the trip down the coast to showcase and a group that had performed at the 12th annual event, Picture Yes made a second appearance to rave response.
As the event was drawing toward the midnight hour, local superstars Stonebreed, who had just returned from a Midwest to Western states 12-date tour, brought their familiar hard and southern edged rock stylings and the event floor filled in with interest. Local musicians, fans and friends poured in from other Sunset Strip venues like the Rainbow to see the event take place, and the night ended with one motley hell of a show.
Drawn in front of the stage was a long black tarp that added increased attention to what was to come. The house music reduced and the speakers crackled alive with the opening track of the Motley Crue album Shout at the Devil. When the cables let go, a barrage of red and blue light, billowing smoke and crushing guitar distortion brought the club to life as the top draw tribute act Motley Too cranked out an hour long homage to Motley Crue themselves. Dressed in the classic leather pants and vests known to adorn the real Motley Crue during their early years, the quartet cast a good view back in time to what the Whisky looked like in 1983 when Motley Crue was laying the foundation of what would become some of the strongest American Hard Rock to hit the radio in the 1980s. The end result was an utter success.
Already scheduled for the fourteenth annual event, Nick Culves is working on plans to bring more new acts to the stage in an effort to continue to grow this event to epic proportions, raising money and interest in finding a cure to cancer in Skylar Neil’s name.
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