Chuck E. Weiss, the musician who helped launch the Viper Room with Johnny Depp and was a fixture of Los Angeles’ music scene for decades, died on Tuesday. He was 76.
His bandmate Jimmy Wood confirmed his death, telling Variety, “Chuck E. Weiss left the room yesterday morning around 8:30. JJ Holiday was by his side. He was one of a kind and certainly made Los Angeles a better city!”
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Holiday posted on Facebook on the page for his band, the Imperial Crowns, writing, “All of us who remain must feel very lucky to have been invited to his one-of-a-kind party too. He means a lot and the very most to so many of us.”
Known for his friendship with Tom Waits and for being the subject of Rickie Lee Jones’ hit song ‘Chuck E.’s In Love,’ Weiss spent his career as a LA scene-maker, releasing uniquely rhythmic music himself that teetered between blues and rock.
Weiss got his start in music growing up in Denver, Colorado, where his parents owned a record store. Despite becoming known primarily as a songwriter and vocalist, Weiss began as a drummer, meeting blues singer Lightnin’ Hopkins and eventually going on tour with him, where he played alongside legends like Muddy Waters and Dr. John.
While still living in Denver, Weiss became acquainted with Waits, and the two struck up a friendship and writing partnership. Weiss co-wrote Waits’ song ‘Spare Parts I (A Nocturnal Emission),’ which appeared on his 1975 album Nighthawks at the Diner. Weiss and Waits eventually decided to move to LA, and the two lived in West Hollywood’s Tropicana Motel, a storied hangout for rockers like Joan Jett and the Ramones.
While there, Jones penned the song ‘Chuck E.’s In Love’ inspired by Weiss, while she was romantically involved with Waits. “He sure has acquired this kinda cool / And inspired sorta jazz when he walks / Where’s his jacket and his old blue jeans?/ Well this ain’t healthy, it is some kinda clean,” Jones croons on the track.
Weiss released his first album, The Other Side of Town, in 1981 via Select Records. The album contains the guitar-driven cut ‘Gina,’ among other demos. Weiss then formed his band, the G-d Damn Liars, and they began a weekly gig performing at the Sunset Strip club the Central. When the venue threatened to go under after 11 years, Weiss partnered with his friend and musical collaborator Depp to revamp it as the Viper Room, which became a famous L.A. venue, as well as notorious as the site of River Phoenix‘s death in 1993.
Weiss’ second project and first full-length album, Extremely Cool, was released in 1999. The record featured production from Waits and Tony Gilkyson, and Waits appeared on several tracks. Weiss followed it up with Extremely Cool, Old Souls and Wolf Tickets in 2001, which leaned heavier on the blues side of Weiss’ musical palette. Another album, 23rd & Stout, followed in 2007. Weiss’ latest release was 2013’s Red Beans & Weiss via Anti Records, which featured production from both Waits and Depp.
Weiss also made cameos in several television shows, playing a New York City record store owner in the Gilmore Girls episode ‘Lorelai’s Graduation Day,’ as well as appearing on Married… With Children, Brotherly Love and My Wife and Kids.
John Travolta shared some news about late wife Kelly Preston with his 3.6 million Instagram followers.
On Thursday evening, Travolta posted the trailer for “Off the Rails”, the final film that Preston made before losing her battle with breast cancer last year.
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As Travolta wrote in the caption, Preston was “very proud of it and of all of the wonderful talent that she got to work with in it.”
“A dying wish from their best friend, Anna (Andrea Corr), compels Cassie (Kelly Preston), Kate (Jenny Seagrove) and Liz (Sally Phillips) to put old feuds aside and take her 17-year-old daughter on an inter-railing journey across Europe that they did not quite finish during their studies,” the film’s synopsis explains.
“Now in their 50s, they are older but not necessarily wiser. With some bad luck, train strikes, and romantic entanglements thrown in their way, the trip promises as many laughs and tears and self-discovery as the first time around. The question is: will they reach their destination in time to honour their friend’s memory?”
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As Travolta wrote, the film will be released theatrically in Ireland and the U.K. on Friday, July 23; a North American release date has not yet been announced.
The Duchess of Sussex’s father has threatened to take her to court to see his grandchildren.
Duchess of Sussex
Thomas Markle hasn’t seen his daughter Meghan since before her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018 and he’s ready to take drastic action “in the very near future” in order to meet their kids Archie, two, and Lili, seven weeks.
He told Fox News: “We shouldn’t be punishing [Lili] for Meghan and Harry’s bad behaviour.
“Archie and Lili are small children. They’re not politics. They’re not pawns. They’re not part of the game. And they’re also royal and entitled to the same rights as any other royal…
“I will be petitioning the California courts for the rights to see my grandchildren in the very near future.”
The retired lighting director also mocked Harry’s recent announcement that he’ll release his memoir next year,insisting that “after three sessions with the psychiatrists and Oprah Winfrey”, the prince wouldn’t “have too much more to tell.”
Thomas previously revealed he only discovered he had become a grandfather again when he heard the news “on the radio”.
He said: “I haven’t spoken to her [Meghan] since two days before they got married … no phone calls, I just heard it on the radio…
“I’ll be very disappointed that I don’t get to hold my granddaughter.”
Thomas is still bemused as to why Meghan, 39, decided to cut off all contact with him.
Although the proud father accepts he made an error of judgment when he staged paparazzi photos of himself getting a suit and shopping before the nuptials in May 2018, he insists he has done nothing so bad that Meghan should choose to be completely estranged from him.
He said: “I’ve made mistakes. I apologised a hundred times for it … If I had done something terribly wrong, that would be fine, but I haven’t.”