Exploring West Hollywood
On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson explores the culture, music, and iconic attractions of West Hollywood through the eyes of three prominent locals.
First, Johnson speaks with Rod Gruendyke, longtime general manager of the famed A-lister haunt, the Sunset Marquis. Gruendyke shares some of the stories he’s accumulated over the decades, including tales of Green Day’s prank wars, Paul Newman’s culinary preferences, and an impromptu photo shoot with ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons. From Bono to Billy Bob Thornton to Rihanna, celebs swear by the Sunset Marquis, and our lead guest helps explain why the property is such a draw.
Next, David Cooley, founder and CEO of the world-famous gay bar The Abbey, takes the California Questionnaire. The West Hollywood trailblazer shares how his California dream day would unfold, where he would like to go on the ultimate road trip, and his go-to place for a Golden State splurge.
Lastly, Johnson connects with Tommy Black, musician and longtime GM of The Viper Room. Hear his song “Summer Took Me” play as Black chats with Johnson about the irresistible energy of the Sunset Strip and WeHo’s evolving music scene, plus an anecdote from a memorable show with Willie Nelson and Woody Harrelson.