August 18, 2002
Some L.A. Rock History for ...
Some L.A. Rock History for you: Via L.A.'s newest rock critic, Kate Sullivan:
I will never forget the Guns 'N Roses riot at the L.A. Street Scene downtown, right at the height of the whole weird metal shebang --L.A. Guns played, and Guns 'N Roses, and Jane's Addiction --- fuck. Sometimes I can't believe it happened. I couldn't even get into the G 'N R show but we were hanging out in the parking lot, and you could feel (and hear) the hugeness of what was going on inside -- and then people started running out followed by cops on horseback, and then someone threw a bottle, and then we were all running as fast as we could to avoid being beaten and tear-gassed. The cops were so out-of-control back then under Darrell Gates. Actually, I think the cops started that riot on purpose because they hated the L.A. Street Scene and wanted to figure out a way to kill it forever. It worked, of course. That was the last year they ever did it.
Posted by at August 18, 2002 07:21 PM
I'm listening to Led Zeppelin !V right now.
Hey, I was at that riot, right at the flashpoint! Except it wasn't a GnR riot, it was an Agent Orange/Ramones riot. Agent Orange started the riot by tossing free skateboards into the mosh pit. Fights broke out in the pit and it surged over the sidewalks. The indie stage was right across from the LA Times bldg, one of the major entrances to the Street Scene. Most of the people coming into that entrance were headed for the latino music stage, they were freaked out to have to walk past the mosh pit, and at times THROUGH the pit. So the LAPD Mounted Police came in and started pushing the crowd around. The indie stage was shut down and the crowd was dispersed. The Ramones were scheduled to play next at the main stage just next to the indies, so everyone headed over there. When word broke out that the Ramones were cancelled too, people started trashing the stage, and tipping over the huge barrels full of water that some idiot thought would make good crowd control barriers. Water was pouring everywhere, people started running to avoid getting their feet wet, and suddenly the LAPD Mounties came rushing in at full gallop, thinking some major incident was happening. They totally overreacted. One Mountie swung his nightstick right past me, into the face of some poor guy who got his face split open.
Well, the moral of the story is that the Street Scene was cancelled forever, one of the major reasons was that they didn't have any adequate crowd control barriers, the used 55gal oil drums with no lids were clearly not adequate. They could be tipped over and used to cause crowd havoc like last time. The City would not spend money to buy proper barriers for the Street Scene, so it was cancelled. Oh but they WOULD buy perfectly good barriers less than a year later, water filled plastic barriers with locked caps, just in time for the Pope's visit. But no Street Scene.
Fuck Daryl Gates, he's more responsible than anyone else for the ruination of the old LA I knew and loved.
Damn that's messed up. Great story with either set of bands.
Oh yeah, I didn't tell the half of it. I just wish I could tell it to Kate Sullivan, I would have posted it to her blog, but her comment links are broken. I've been telling people about the "Ramones Riot" for years and nobody believes me. At least I got to see the Ramones live (my first and last time!) at the Whisky a few days later, in a secret gig (they were listed in the LAWeekly as "Senomar").
Don't forget Midnight Oil folks. The cops invaded that concert too. The amazing thing is that the cops came in on horseback into the middle of the mosh pit right on cue as Midnight Oil was playing "Power and the Passion" a song about government crackdowns.
People were getting crazy there. A cooler got thrown on stage and people were throwing lit road flares into the audience.
I bicycled there, but had to walk home, someone used bolt cutters on the chain. At least I had the chain and lock as a weapon. Walking home it seemed the whole town was in chaos. Cops roared through the streets at speeds probably in excess of 70. Everyone was out of control
Too bad because Jackson Browne and El Rayo X earlier were great.
Nice site - design is nice and clean.
Nice post. I agree 100%. That crap always annoys me.
Awesome post - I totally agree!