Remembering Hollywood - talking to two veteran Black Lürxx fans 😊🎸🤩
Last week we mentioned our kick-ass 90s fan club, the Lürxx Gang. At its most numerous it had over 500 members world wide - besides the US we also covered countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia! In pre-internet times and without a computer, the Lürxx Gang was expensive and time-intensive to run - our "newsletters" needed to be hand-designed (⏱), copied and posted (💵) - but it was definitely worth it! We got to know some awesome people and we're extremely happy that social media gave us the possibility to reconnect with some of them!
Today, we asked two of those veteran "fans" how they remember the Hollywood of the mid-90s to 2000s and how it has changed, how they first got to know us and how they think our sound now compares to our sound back then. Massive THANKS to L.A. native Tamiko and former L.A. resident Jenny for answering our questions and sharing their memories!
Black Lürxx memories
Can you share some memories of Black Lürxx - how did you first hear about us? What did you like about our sound/image? What do you remember about being in the “Lürxx Gang”? What was it like for you to have this personal connection to a band in Hollywood?
Jenny: I heard about Black Lürxx via Metal Edge magazine. I had placed a penpal ad looking for friends and you wrote to me and that is how I discovered the wonderful world of Lürxx music, as well as two of the coolest people on the face of the earth! I was still in high school at the time…a small town girl. I wrote to and befriended members of several bands in the same manner. I got to know them as all-around people too, not just in regards to their band and music. I thought it was very cool to discover they were normal people, same as me. This was of course before the internet and my concept of reality was a bit skewed as a result. I thought at the time that anyone who was playing shows in LA, had their own CD, etc. had ‘made it’ and was a rockstar on their way up. HAHAHA I was not til later that I understood the real day to day struggle for a lot of musicians- particularly in LA, with that pay to play situation. I thought it was very special though to be writing long letters and receive interesting replies as I got to know you guys better and it was cool that these bands I loved were interested in me and my life, too. It was also motivating and fun to learn about other countries from you as well and made me want to travel abroad one day, too. Above all, though, I am glad we reconnected recently and that you have both remained such great people and chased your dreams no matter how hard the struggle got.
The picture Jenny sent to us in 1997 when she joined the Lürxx Gang!
Tamiko: Sure, I took photos for you guys, remember (😄)! I came across a flyer* on Melrose about a show you guys were having at the Coconut Teaszer and you guys were on the Glam night set. So I figured I would check you guys out. I remember we once did a photo shoot behind the Whisky. We didn’t have transportation to go to the beach at the time which you guys would have preferred.
(*Great to know all the hours we spent flyering were good for something!!)
Our 1997 promo picture, taken by Tamiko behind our apartment building at 1114 N Clark St
If you compare our sound back in the 90s to the music we just put out now, what are some differences and similarities? Would you say that you still hear Black Lürxx in the Lürxx or is it a completely different sound/vibe to you?
Jenny: The early Lürxx music was more raw and experimental. I saw a lot of variety and it was obvious you guys were exploring your influences and crafting them into a totally new style all your own. With the recent music, I think you have fine-tuned what the original music started. Is the new music a different vibe and sound? Of course. That is what happens when musicians develop and grow both in talent and who they are as people. But I think the change is more subtle. It shows growth, for sure….but nothing so different or ‘out there’ that it does not fit seamlessly with the vibe and flow of the old music. I would still know it was Lürxx even if a complete stranger had played it for me without hinting at anything.
Tamiko: You guys are just as I remember, raw, passionate and full of energy. Same life affirming vibes!
Hollywood has obviously changed massively between the mid-90s and now, architecturally it has become much more glitzy and inaccessible - our old studio apartment on 1114 N Clark St used to cost us $500 and is now going for $1600 - how has this affected the music scene? We imagine most musicians can’t be living close to the clubs anymore…
Jenny: Even in the ten-ish years I was there, it was vastly different from start to end. I don’t know that I’d call it glitzy…to be honest, I feel like modern day Los Angeles is even more fake than Las Vegas. Beneath the veneer of shiny new (overpriced) buildings, ‘progress’ and the flashy image, the truth is LA I think has sold its soul…so many of the things that made LA unique, gave it character and history and made it not ‘just’ another big city are gone now…bulldozed in the name of ‘progress’. I get it, not every place of historical significance can last forever…but at the current rate, none of them will. Rather than restore things for future generations (as I have seen many places in Europe do with beautiful ‘old’ architecture), LA seems bent on destroying all traces of its past. It’s sad. I walked the old streets in the heart of Hollywood near Sunset and LaBrea/Highland where I lived for so many years before I left and I did not recognize it anymore. I can only imagine how people who lived their entire lives there must feel. Adding to the ‘fake’, elitist feel….the rent is absolutely absurd. The only reason I was able to stay as long as I did was because I had kept the same apartment for so long and also had a pretty cool landlord. But now seeing some places charge close to $2000 for a rat’s nest in the valley and that does not even include any utilities or parking?? Ridiculous. Forget about living close to what is left of ‘the strip’ or any other clubs. That’s only for the elite now. Most musicians I know have at least one roommate or stay with family or a significant other…..or are homeless
Tamiko: I actually have a friend that lives in the building where you guys lived, but she has a 1 bedroom. Yes, Hollywood has completely changed and gentrified. Hollywood is now only for yuppies and rich people.
Is there still a local rock scene you are aware of or has it become a type of rock’n’roll amusement park for rich tourists wanting to hang out at the Rainbow Bar and Grill?!
Jenny: There’s still a couple ‘scenes’, but it is NOTHING like it was decades or even 10 years ago. A few of the ‘90s/2000s rock bands are still around and there will always be the diehard fans from that era. There was also a thrash/oldschool metal scene for awhile. While that did attract younger people and new blood, a lot of them were just into it briefly as a fad and it was largely an underground/backyard sort of affair. The Rainbow is for diehards and clueless tourists at this point.
Tamiko: It’s what you say, a Rock N’ Roll Amusement park for tourists. The Bow hasn’t been the same since 2010 or 2012. The crowd isn’t the same since Lemmy died.
Tamiko, from a music-fan point of view - what was Hollywood in the mid 90s like? How did you perceive the Sunset Strip rock scene and which bands did you follow? Do you still follow any of them now? What was your favourite club to go see live music and why?
Tamiko: The Mid- 90’s was vastly different than it was in the early 90’s. I was fresh out of high school and that was around the time grunge hit and the scene was changing drastically. The Rainbow, Coconut Teazer, FM Station Live and the Billboard Live (which eventually became the Key Club) had a hard rock scene. I went to the glam rock nights and some of the goth nights around Hollywood. Going to concerts was the main way to hear metal and hard rock at that time. House of Blues, the Palace, the Whisky and the Roxy all had a lot of shows.
Black Lürxxt the Coconut Teaszer in 1997, picture by Tamiko.
As a person of colour have you ever encountered racism in the rock/metal scene? Has anyone ever made you feel that metal isn’t the “appropriate” music for you to be into?
Tamiko: I didn’t deal with a lot of racism from the men, but some of the women were mean and judgmental at times. I was there to have a good time and most people in the rock scene just are there to do that. I was actually drawn to rock and metal because I dealt with the least amount of racism in that scene.
Tamiko livin' it up in 2019!