Music and identity crisis on Hollywood's Sunset Strip

In March of this year, legendary Hollywood Sunset Strip music venue the Key Club, (formerly Gazzarri's), announced that it was closing it's doors for good.

Few local Hollywood music fans were especially surprised.

The venue had operated in various guises since the '60s — first as Gazzarri's, where it hosted such rock 'n' roll royalty as the Doors, Guns N' Roses and Van Halen — and as the Key Club since 1998. It closed briefly in 2009, but 2013 was to be the final curtain for the club's monthly slate of heavy metal, hip-hop and stuffed local bills where bands sometimes had to prepay for blocks of tickets. The owners were working hard to turn it around, but "my pockets just weren't deep enough to maintain a club that size," said Key Club operations manager Ian Shepp. "The Strip will be fine, though. It's just going through a cycle."

For one of America's most storied miles for rock music, that cycle is a part of an ongoing identity crisis. That the Sunset Strip is inseparable from L.A.'s music history is both its biggest blessing and its biggest albatross.



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