Straight Whisky-A Living History of Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N Roll on the Sunset Strip
Written By Erik Quisling and Austin Williams
Critique by Ronnie

I don't normally dedicate a whole article to tell how bad a book is, but I have read what is possibly the worst rock 'n roll book! "Straight Whisky-A Living History of Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N Roll on the Sunset Strip" is so full of inaccuracies and outright lies that I felt an obligation to warn others of this waste of paper. It is a classic case of "how NOT to write a book".

First, I want to talk about the inaccuracies in this book. The authors Erik Quesling & Austin Williams really did their research (yes, I'm being sarcastic). There are several pages in the photo section, which present supposedly original full-color classic posters for the Whisky-A-Go-Go. Unfortunately, these are NOT original posters, but posters created by Dennis Loren in 1999 and many of them are based on bills that never happened! While these posters are great to look at and they are professionally done, it is a scam to try and pass these off as original.

There are also misdated photos in the photo section. There are two photos of the Byrds on facing pages that are dated "1965". Both pictures show Roger McGuinn and David Crosby. But ANY rock 'n roll scholar worth his salt can tell you that one photo is 1965 and the other is clearly from 1967.

The red flag really comes up when you read some of the fictional stories in the book. Mario Maglieri (who eventually took over the club from the original owner) describes the infamous Oedipal performance by The Doors at the Whisky A Go Go on August 21, 1966. This is the gig that resulted in the Doors being fired from the club. Mario mentions a drunken John Lennon being in the audience with a tampon on his head!

  • On the day of this show, August 21, 1966-The Beatles were actually in the middle of their 1966 tour and on this day actually played two concerts in one day, in Cincinnati and then St. Louis.
  • The Lennon "tampon" incident actually happened on March 12, 1974 - three years after Jim Morrison died! And it happened at the Troubadour Club, NOT at the Whisky A Go Go.
Come on guys, just a little research?

Another colorful fabrication that I found in the book pertains to a supposed confrontation between Charles Manson and Mario Maglieri at the Whisky A Go Go, which Maglieri claims to have happened between 5 and 6pm on August 7, 1969 (two days before the famous Tate murders). He further states that "a week later" he sees Manson's picture in the newspaper, which was talking about the arrests that were made in the murder case. Finally, a totally inaccurate "history" of the Tate/LaBianca murders is given in which the Manson family murderers "hitchhiked their way up to Terry Melcher's house" and they "hitchhiked back home to the Manson Family ranch" after the murders occurred.

  • Manson's whereabouts on August 7th are documented. That day, he was driving with Stephanie Schram to Jamul, California. At 4:15 pm near Oceanside, California, Manson was stopped by the California Highway Patrol and received a citation for not possessing a driver's license. Manson and Schram continued to her parent's home, having dinner with them and then "rapping" for about two hours. So, this Manson-Maglieri confrontation could not have happened on the day or time that it is claimed.
  • The Manson murders were not solved "a week later" as claimed in this book. The involvement of Manson was not known until December of 1969, at which time indictments were handed down.
  • It is well documented that the killers did indeed drive to and from the Tate murders. They also drove TO the LaBianca murders the second night and THEN hitchhiked their way back to Spahn Ranch.
Why didn't the authors simply pick up a copies of the books "Helter Skelter" or "The Family" to at least get their stories and timelines even slightly correct? If you are going to state a specific date and time at least be able to back it up!

Further, it is an insult to rock 'n roll scholars to re-write history, whether by outright mistruths or by convenient omission. The most glaring omission from this book is the fact of the Whisky's role in the "pay-to-play" fiasco and it's ultimate detrimental effect on the whole music scene of LA. A little explanation: "pay-to-play" is the practice of making a band put down a "deposit" of cash before a gig. Then they are given tickets for the show, which they have to sell in order to get their money back. It basically shifts the burden of selling a show to the band, while guaranteeing that the club gets their money no matter what. "Pay-to-play" is not mentioned once in this book, despite the fact that pay-to-play started at The Whisky in 1984 (the same year they changed the sign from Whisky a Go Go to "The Whisky"). As "The Whisky" it shunned all punk and new wave or anything black and only featured Metal bands. In other words, we have the Whisky to thank for wrecking the L.A. music scene for years.

Sure, "Straight Whisky" claims to be the "first book ever to chronicle all the music, magic and mayhem of the Sunset Strip". However, save your money for the upcoming Domenic Priore book on the Sunset Strip - I guarantee you that it will portray the TRUE and ACCURATE story of the Sunset Strip, without trying to re-write rock 'n roll history.

Sorry, I'm not gonna list a website for such a crappy book!