Homage to the Coconut Teaszer - a gem of the Sunset Strip music scene
Just the other day we were reminiscing on a zoom call with a group of dear friends about playing the Teaszer back in the 90s and how it could be a struggle getting people to stay indoors for your set as everyone would be congregating out in the patio garden... And then one of the group who also remembered playing shows in front of three people at the Teaszer kinda stopped to think for a second and said: "Aren't we so lucky to be able to say that we played the Coconut Teaszer? It was one of the coolest clubs in Hollywood and it is sorely missed!" And you know - he's right! It's an absolute honour to have played the Teaszer and since we left Hollywood when it was still there, I quite frankly cannot imagine the corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights without it! And this conversation really made me want to dive into the memories I have of this iconic place and the awesome guy who ran it, Len Fagan.
On stage at the Teaszer, somewhen in 1997.
The Teaszer was actually the very first club we played at after relocating to Hollywood, the club where our dream of playing the Sunset Strip first became a reality! And as such it will always, always hold a very special place in our hearts! I still remember the incredible rush when we saw our name up on that Billboard for the very first time, on February 23rd 1997, less than10 months after moving out to Hollywood.
Dreams do come true in Hollywood!
We ended up playing the Teaszer more often than any other Hollywood club, mainly because we had very staunch supporters both in Len Fagan, who seemed to almost have protective instincts towards these two scrawny kids (we were 19!) from Europe, and Tim Yasui, drummer with Spiders and Snakes (ex-London; Lizzie Grey, founding member of London, was their guitarist). Tim put on a monthly "Glitter and Glam Night" at the Teaszer and often gave us slots, even though we were technically not a glam rock band at all! He was just a super nice and helpful guy!
The days of the "flyer-wars" were over by the time we hit the Strip - posting flyers was pretty much forbidden everywhere... Definitely NOT rock'n'roll! And yes -they DID run out of "x"s for the billboard on these nights!
What was great about the Teaszer was the intimate atmosphere - the room tended to look reasonably crowded even if you didn't bring a huge crowd and people were generally very supportive and friendly - even if they hung out outside during your show, they'd still come up to you afterwards and say things like "I listened to you guys from out here and you rocked!" (Yeh, thanks, next time we'd appreciate you listening from inside so we can see you...). The backline and in-house sound was pretty solid and there was an ancient stage smoke apparatus that would randomly belch stage smoke at you from time to time.
The flyer for our very first show in Hollywood!
What was NOT good were the on-tap soft drinks! Of course, the bands didn't get get paid (we never got paid for a gig the entire time we were in Hollywood!), but you got a bunch of drink coupons. And because we weren't of legal drinking age, we only had access to soft drinks. If you showed up early, the first drinks would always taste extremely strongly of detergent - I guess it's good they cleaned their hoses, but, man, that was gross!!
In closing, I gotta say that even though we also played the "big name" clubs like the Roxy and the Troubadour, our favourite was always the Teaszer. Just a no-bullshit rock club with an owner who actually cared about music. RIP Len Fagan! I remember him giving us a lift to the Rock City News Local Music Awards (we were nominated best Hollywood band - yey!) and Torie Tyson, another staple artist of the Glitter and Glam Nights, giving us a lift back home (and me puking my guts out against the walls of the Teaszer as she dropped us off after the serpentines of Crescent Heights...) - it was really all like a little family and the camaraderie between the bands was great!
Len Fagan. A truly cool dude.
So, yeah - we really are so privileged to be able to say "We played the Teaszer!"