Serving Up Dreams, on the Rocks
(Reprinted with permission courtesy of Rolling Stoned magazine)
Lying in the dark shadows of West Hollywood’s seedy Sunset Strip lies an unassuming club where stars are born, and dreams go to die. In its long history, The Bourbon Room has hosted an impressive roster of legendary musicians. Janis Joplin, The Doors, Cream, Velvet Underground, and Cream, among countless others have all rocked The Bourbon during their struggling formative years. Making it at The Bourbon meant critical exposure to A&R men from Capitol and Arista Records, whose after-hours booze and drug binges at The Bourbon are the stuff of legend.
Falling on hard times, The Bourbon was shuttered for many years before being purchased and reopened by music almost-was Dennis Dupree. Dupree, 47, is a long time vet of the L.A. music scene, with the battle scars to prove it. Despite a seemingly gifted talent for songwriting and storytelling, Dennis’ own music dreams fell far short. He and his band-mates, Dennis and The Penetrators, although proven to crank out insightful lyrics and soulful licks, only managed to reach #157 on the punk klezmer charts. A revolving door of drummers, perpetually overdosing bassist Mikki Quatro, and continual trips in and out of jail and rehab kept the talented group battling constant setbacks.
Dupree has since channeled his keen insights on reinventing The Bourbon, now a hotbed for L.A.’s burgeoning metal scene. Groups such as The Ramones, Van Halen, The Dead Kennedys, and all-girl rockers The Cunning Runts have all gotten a huge career boost from Dupree’s sage advice, exposure to industry giants, and the support of throngs of Bourbon regulars, themselves the seeming dregs of humanity.
In quiet moments of confidence, it becomes apparent that Dupree may be most proud of his influence and guidance on current supergroup Arsenal. Its wailing heartthrob lead singer Stacee Jaxx first entered The Bourbon in the late 70s. A down-on-his-luck kid on the streets, Dupree took him in as a barback, recognized the abundant unpolished talent in Jaxx, and mentored him to super-stardom. Despite Dupree’s invisible hand in their early song-writing, the whirlwind success of Arsenal and its seemingly endless road tour have put a distance between the relationship.
Dupree quietly rocks on, serving up hard liquor and hard rock nightly at The Bourbon, helping launch dreams into the heavens, and drowning sorrows in a smoky highball glass, while keeping his keen eye trained for the next big thing.
(Dennis Dupree will be brought to life in Nashua by Mike Colena on October 28th-30th, when ActorSingers presents Rock of Ages at Keefe Auditorium)
Come join Dennis at The Bourbon in Rock of Ages Oct 28 - 30 ! Tickets available here !