Johnny's movies

Johnny and The Viper Room

Posted in Uncategorized by Anna Maria Polidori on March 26, 2014

The Viper Room carried out Johnny’s most profound dream: to be a musician

It was part of Johnny’s personal history and one of his greatest love and passions.Image

Yes the Viper Room.

Classified as nightclub and located in West Hollywood (for your curiosity the complete address if you want to send a postcard to the owners or if you want to stop by in case you will afford to the City of Angels is: Sunset Strip Location 8852 Sunset Blvd,West Hollywood, California 90069) was opened, launched in 1993 by Johnny and Chuck E.Weiss.


Chuck E.Weiss is a musician and songwriter and he was born in Denver Colorado. His parents owned a record store. Music had to be his destiny .

The main reason why Johnny and Chuck decided to start this adventure was for re-creating a space mainly for themselves and people who would have appreciated their same passion for music and performing.

The Viper Room started to be immediately populated by all the closest Johnny’s friends like for example Tim Burton his favorite director, Mary Stuart Masterson (Fried Green Tomatoes and co-star of Johnny in Benny and Joon), Quentin Tarantino and many more. That first evening Johnny explained to the press invited for the event:

I really love the idea of clubs from the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s. The Viper Room will be a place where famous people won’t feel like they’re on display“.


The first performer of the opening night august 14 1993? Tom Petty and the Hearthbreakers.

The club became immensely popular in a very short time and populated by a lot of new young actors who loved to spending their time in Johnny’s company and good music. Very good musicians loved to performing in the Viper Room.

Johnny and his band took the stage joined by Flea, from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Steve Jones (Sex Pistols). The Boss once held an impromptu concert at the Viper Room in December 1993 like also Johnny Cash.


The same Johnny Depp was incredibly happy  for the arrival of Cash.

Johnny introduced Cash on stage with these words:

“”Ladies and gentlemen, I can’t believe I get to say this: Johnny Cash!”

Cash performed two songs recorded and included on his album: AmericanRecordings.


While serenity was going on and personal success for the beautiful idea of opening this club a great satisfaction a big tragedy was just around the corner for Johnny and it would have signed his soul profoundly and forever.

Few months  after Viper Room opening the Viper assisted impotent at the tragic departure of River Phoenix   one of the most beautiful and talented actors and musician of the new Hollywood’s generation. He lost his life in fact at just 23 years, being born in 1970.

He collapsed in the early Halloween morning, 1993 just outside the Viper Room. The young actor and musician would have

had performed with Flea that evening.

A drug overdose.




Johnny was shocked by what happened that night.

This pic is referred at the night he was performing before he was informed of the departure of River Phoenix.

The night john played guitar while outside river waas dying

Many rumors surrounding River’s death upset Johnny Depp.

In an interview of years ago Depp told to me: “I try my best to be pleasant when getting asked to do interviews as I don’t tend to like journalists much after what they did when River Phoenix died especially what they did to the memory people had of him“.

The Viper Room closed for two long and mourning weeks. A sign appeared close to the entrance of the Viper Room: It said: “”With much respect and love to River and his family, The Viper Room has been temporarily closed. Our heartfelt condolences to all his family, friends and loved ones. He will be missed.”


The fans were allowed to bringing flowers, candles and every possible item in the place where River died so tragically and firstly so young. Fans covered the club doors with graffiti.

The Viper Room re-opened two weeks later and Johnny owned it until 2004. Every year for respect the club was closed every Halloween’s night for remembering the tragic River’s departure.

Anna Maria Polidori

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