Tag Archive | John Varvatos

Video Clip of The Week: Pretty Vicious, “These Four Walls”


If you look back over the Video Clip of The Week entries that have graced this space so far in 2019, you could almost make a case for arguing that The Rock is making some kind of a low-focus comeback. I’m not one to get my hopes up or anything, but let’s assume that this is officially the case with the band featured in this weeks’ clip: Welsh grunge-revivalists (and —  I’m just guessing here —  Sex Pistols fans), Pretty Vicious. The tune is “These Four Walls,” and I’m just going to lay all of my cards on the table right now and say that this song is arguably one of the most contagious anthems of youthful rebellion since the original band called Alice Cooper announced that, “Schools Out Forever, Bitches” — or something like that.

There are those who will claim that knowing how to actually sing and play your instruments is overrated, and not a requirement for making good music, but those people are idiots. Pretty Vicious are not ashamed to have chops up the ass, starting with singer Brad Griffiths’ robust snarl that recalls Billy Joe Armstrong as channeled through 999’s Nick Cash — old school! Is it likely that Griffiths even knows who Nick Cash is? Hell no, but the you’re feelin’ it, who gives a shit? Wait for the bridge, where guitarist Tom McCarthy pulls out Slash-worthy leads that are just insane. Driving the engine is drummer Elliot Jones, whose adrenalized, machine gun cadence is so fucking punchy and precise, it will knock you right on your ass. And then there’s “I Am A Fucking Rock Star” bassist Jarvis Morgan (he’s the adorable, pouty blond seen in the photo below), who reminds me fondly of my immortal teenage punk rock crush, which, considering that individual went on to become one of most legendary figures in American punk rock history, can only be seen as a good thing. Because I know how to call them.

Visually, “These Four Walls” is a fast paced, performance-heavy clip, effectively capturing the kinetic live energy of Pretty Vicious on stage, while also peppering the action with documentary-style footage of the band cavorting in NYC’s Times Square. Rock action, urban sleaze, decadence, youth — OMG what a great band!

With appearances at huge UK-based summer rock festivals (Reading and Leeds) already under their not-quite-21-year-old belts, Pretty Vicious are certainly poised to give Greta Van Fleet a run for the money! “These Four Walls” will be available on the band’s  highly anticipated debut album due out on Big Machine/John Varvatos Records later this year. Enjoy!

Pretty Vicious Band

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Steven Tyler Does Impromptu Performance at Launch of Riff Pop Up Clothing Store


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At the end of a very exciting week that included indulgent gourmet foodie events and a Rolling Stone Magazine-sponsored concert featuring cool bands like The Sheep Dogs and Cake, we rounded out the week in fitting scenester style at a party for designer Andy Hilfiger’s Andrew Charles line of ready-to wear-Rock ‘n Roll clothing, now on display/for sale at pop-up store Riff, located at 313 Bowery in the space formerly occupied by the Morrison Hotel Gallery. The designs in this moderately priced collection – which includes T-Shirts, blouses and tops, jeans, jackets and dresses – are inspired by the very fun style of legendary Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler and his daughter, model Chelsea Tyler.

Entering the store, it was time to wax full-on nostalgic for the ’70s, as the ground-floor showroom was decorated in an old school glam rock fashion that we can only assume must have been influenced by next-door neighbor John Varvatos’ upscale rock clothing boutique (which makes its home in the space vacated by CBGB).  Framing the racks of sequin-embellished tops and leopard print mini-dresses, the walls of the store were adorned with one-of-a-kind rock paraphernalia (especially loved a framed collection of Ramones’ Gold Cassette Awards, plaques, photos and CDs that most likely belonged to Marky Ramone) and a sizable number of large canvas portraits of Rockers that are part of The Smoking Series by artist Michael H. Most of these assemblage paintings are new additions to the series since we visited the exhibit this past summer. Great work, Michael!

This was definitely a see-and-be-seen event. It was fun to catch up with pals like Ken Scrudato, Scarlet Rowe, Dennis Dunaway and Vera Ramone King, but there were also lots of stars old and new in the crowd. Or course, once Steven Tyler arrived, the swarm of photographers was enough to get (literally) swept away in! Downstairs, the former CBGB’s Lounge was packed wall to wall with partiers while Andy Hilfiger’s band, Hired Killers, Inc. rocked and knocked everyone on their asses with their awesome tunes! The biggest surprise of the night came when Steven Tyler joined Hired Killers on stage for spot-on renditions of “Mama Kin” and the blues standard Aerosmith made their own on their self-titled debut, “Train Kept a Rollin.” Insane! The place was so dense with bodies that it wasn’t until we got home and checked our FaceBook news feed that we realized we’d missed seeing a ton of friends in the crowd, but it sounded like everyone had fun!

Steven Tyler with Andy Hilfiger (Photo by Anne Raso)

The RIFF pop-up store officially opens for business today, Saturday October 15, 2011 at 313 Bowery (at Bleecker), NYC, New York and closes its doors after the Holiday season ends three months from now. Drop on by while you can and get some of your gift shopping done in Glam Rock Style!

Don Hill’s Night Club Closes Its Doors Forever

Well, this is a bit of a surprise; but then again, maybe not so much. Less than a month after the death of its former owner, it’s been announced that live music and dance club Don Hill’s is officially bankrupt and will be closing, effective immediately. Current owners Nur Khan and Paul Sevigny were apparently overextended in the wallet area from running other restaurant and nightclub ventures here and in Los Angeles and couldn’t seem to get the rent check in the mail on time. You know how it is when you’re a wealthy, jet-setting hipster.  Still, I’m not sure why club owners don’t seem to grok that this kind of thing happens when you don’t pay your rent. Sure, Don Hill’s was a legendary dive where everybody went do drugs and party with rock stars (I know I had many good times there), but who really gives a shit? Nostalgia goes right into the toilet when the landlord has bills to pay. The same exact thing happened when the late Hilly Kristal let the rent on CBGB lapse for a year and then had the nads to feed the public outrage over the place being shut down. It’s worth noting that the new tenant in the former CBGB’s space at Bowery and Bleecker, hot shot menswear designer John Varvatos, is also a hardcore rocker who turned his new boutique into a shrine to its former inhabitant, preserving many of the original walls and fixtures and selling vintage stereo equipment, vinyl LPS and coffee table books by Mick Rock. On the flipside, Nur Khan told Page Six that the building will be turned over to developers, noting that the property offered a “moneymaking opportunity unconcerned with preserving Don’s legacy.” Clearly, real estate owners aren’t very sentimental in New York City.

CBGB Gingerbread House


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If you remember the old CBGB rock club located at Bleecker and Bowery in NYC, then you know that the above Gingerbread rendering of the club’s former façade is pretty spot on. These days, the space is home to the John Varvatos men’s clothing boutique, which is still worth a visit even if you can’t afford the $500 sweaters they sell.

Ian Hunter Celebrates New CD with Party at John Varvatos’ Soho Store!

Ian Hunter Shrunken Heads CD
“Move Over, ‘Cause You’re Standing In My Light”

This past Wednesday I had a total blast going out to a CD release party for Legendary Rock God Ian Hunter. I was invited to this hipster hang by my pal Katherine, who produces Alice Cooper’s nightly syndicated radio program, appropriately titled Nights with Alice Cooper — thanks Katherine! The party was held in theJohn Varvatos clothing boutique on Spring Street down in Soho, so it was very swanky. Right away I ran into my old sidekick Tommy Rocker and his lovely lady Leona, and we got caught up on each other’s lives as party goers sipped refreshing Greyhounds (vodka and grapefruit juice, so tasty) and ate delicious bite sized snacks amid racks of fragrant leather jackets and overpriced jeans.

Dennis Dunaway (bassist, original Alice Cooper band) was also there with his wife Cindy, and I spent some time hanging out with them since I sort of know them already. It feels kind of surreal to say that, because I had such a hard crush on Dennis when I was 12 years old and Billion Dollar Babies had just been released. But the hilarious thing is that when somebody asked Dennis, “Do you know anybody here?” He replied, “Well, I know the band, and I know Gail.” Seriously.

The similarly legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen was also there. He is impossible to miss even in a crowd of rabid scenesters, because he’s on TV all the time and has such a distinctive look. Bob (along with guys like Mick Rock) took a lot of the photos of all the classic rockers — too many to name — which have become icons of the era. I have a few of his shots of my friend Neal Smith on display in the Chickpad. Bob has the eye, as they say.

About an hour into this festive shindig, Ian performed a short set of tunes from his new CD, Shrunken Heads plus an awesome rendition of “All The Young Dudes,” which is my favorite song of all time. That song changed my life, and I was standing about five feet from Ian when he sang it that night. It was so cool. Ian is one of a kind and I will adore him until I die.