The GoGos played Perkin's Palace on March 20, 1981
129 N. Raymond Avenue, Pasadena CA
Jensen's Raymond Theatre
The theater at 129 N. Raymond Avenue was originally known as the Jensen's Raymond Theatre. It was built by the German immigrant Henry C. Jensen (& Sons) who was a mason and in the brick manufacturing business.
Jensen's Raymond Theatre
The 1,800 seat theater officially opened in 1921 and staged popular vaudeville shows. Recently the gracious Raymond Theater was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Jensen & Sons built several other heavy on the bricks buildings in the L.A. area including the Jenson's Recreation Center on Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park.
In 1948 Jensen's Raymond Theater was sold to Crown Holding Corporation and renamed Lowe's Crown Theatre. It operated as the Crown Theater until 1974 when was then sold to Dr. Nathan Roth (father of rocker David Lee Roth).
As the theater looked in the '70's
Unfortunately, in the 1970's the surrounding Pasadena old town neighborhood was in declined. Many of the old retail buildings along Colorado Boulevard were boarded up. The theater finally closed down in 1976.
In 1979 the old Raymond Theater was purchased by Marc Perkins. Perkins was a former investment counselor. He and his brother Jim believed the old theater had potential for a mid size concert venue. They partnered with then Loyola law student Mark Garagos and renamed the theater Perkins Palace.
Note: Mark Garagos went on to become a high profile Los Angeles defense lawyer (think Scott Petersen, Michael Jackson).
Pasadena was considered off the beaten path to open a rock venue. Located about 15 miles northeast of Hollywood, Pasadena had a reputation as an enclave of old stodgy people. Many people in Hollywood never went to Pasadena and vice versa.
In the '70's this part of old town Pasadena was not the bustling and trendy place it is today. Most of the old buildings (and inhabitants) were run down and derelict - including the old Raymond Theater.
The Raymond Theatre was located about two block north of the then seedy Colorado Boulevard and across the street from the neglected and scary Memorial Park.
Pasadena's beautiful City Hall
Memorial Park is across the street from the Raymond Theater
The theater today, looking south down Raymond Ave. Next door north is the Armory Center for the Arts
Former Perkins Palace (Raymond Theater) as it appears today
But - Pasadena did have the honor of being home to the quirky underground radio station KPPC-FM 106.7 between 1967 and 1971. KPPC FM had a free-form presentation and broadcasted a wide range of off-beat music and featured counter culture personalities such as Michael McKean, Harry Shearer David Lander and Dr. Demento. This was probably the coolest radio station L.A. ever had. R.I.P. KPPC.
In 1973, KROQ took over the former KPPC-FM 106.7 radio station in Pasadena. The fledgling KROQ got off to a very roq-ky start and even shut down for a couple years. Then, in 1976 KROQ-FM reemerged with new management, staff, and personalities. But it still struggled to find it's voice and and capture a loyal audience.
In 1981 everything came together. KROQ-FM decided to go Top 40 New Wave. This format quickly connected with the younger audience. For young ears this music was fresh, fun and exciting. The music rotation was heavy on all the cutting edge new wave bands coming out of Britain. And there was nothing else like it on the radio. It featured bands such as the Clash, the Waitresses, Adam and the Ants, U-2, the Knack and our own Go-Go's.
KROQ zoomed up in ratings. It was suddenly rated #2 in the youth market.
1980 - bands that played at Perkins included:
Weather Report (Feb 22)Leon RussellRonnie Laws Music CenterSmokey RobinsonAir SupplyDave MasonRoberta FlackOingo Boingo, Sumner, Shandi and the Heaters (Oct 31)Pocothe Tempatationsthe VaporsOingo Boing, Suburban Lawns (New Years Eve)In the fall of 1980, Perkins Palace switched to a new band new wave policy. In doing so, Perkins became the perfect outlet for a slew of New Wave bands coming to the USA to show off their chops. Pasadena's Perkins Palace and KROQ-FM became the L.A. theater of this new wave of a British invasion.
Between 1981 and 1983 Perkins Palace turned sleepy Pasadena into a hot bed of rock.
The Starwood in Hollywood closed down in early 1981. It's closer left a void for mid-size rock venue (1,000 +/- seat).
Wolf & Rissmiller's Country Club in Reseda was another popular mid size suburban venue at this time.
Perkins Palace became a great alternative venue. It was a cool and historic theater with comfortable seats, great sight lines and easy parking.
Perkins Palace worked closely with KROQ-FM to see which new bands generated the best response. Perkins Palace would host new bands getting lots of radio play on KROQ. Indeed, many shows presented at the Palace were presented in association with KROQ.
1981 KROQ/Perkins, Perkins, Garagos Presents
In 1981, Perkins Palace became the regular stopping point for hip British bands
Tonio KTierraRubber City RebelsGearsBobby & the MidnightersX, Suburban Lawns, Alley Cats, Human Hands (Feb 20th)Gary Myrickthe PlimsoulsWall of Voodoothe GoGo's - March 20th sold out showAir SupplyAdam and the AntsSurf PunksKnackFabulous ThunderbirdsRomeo VoidNaughty SweetiesPlasmaticsPhil SeymourJoe CockerTommy TutoneFirefallWaitressesBilly and the Beatersthe DickiesMissing PersonsTine TurnerSqueezeGang of FourStiff Little FingerCrampsPlimsoursJoe JacksonDave Masonthe Curethe Ramonesthe TubesJoan Jett & the BlackheartGary U.S. BondsKim CarnesEnglish BeatPretendersBruce SpringsteenNew Orderthe SpecialsSiouxsie & the BansheesRomanticsTodd RundgrenJoy DivisionKing Crimson
In 1982 Perkins hired concert promoter Gina Zamparelli to help book and manage the place.
Perkins now worked with L.A. concert promoters Avalon Attractions and other radio stations such as KLOS and KMET in presenting shows.
Rickie Lee JonesPointer SistersMissing PersonsPete ShellyKrocusDepeche ModeWaitressesthe JamHuman LeagueFlock of SeagullsJoe CockerBow Wow WowJohn WaiteTalking HeadsR.E.M.Gang of FourRIOTGary NumanWall of VoodooMotley CruePlasmaticsRomanticsBlastersPlugz
At this Perkins Palace started to lose business to the newly opened Palace Theater in Hollywood (1,100 capacity) and the Beverly Theater (1,400 capacity) on Canon Drive, BHs.
Psychodelic FursLos LobosModern EnglishLaurie AndersonUltavoxSimple MindsThompson TwinsQuiet RiotRatt
Toy DollsSocial DistortionBlack FlagCrampsCultNick CaveLeon Russell
The theater was also used for several movies, including: This is Spinal Tap, Pulp Fiction, the Rose and the Bodyguard.
R.I.P. Raymond Theater
Then, in 1985 Marc Perkins closed down the theater. He sold it to property developers Gene and Marilyn Buchanan who intended to build apartments and retail on the site. For over 20 years this proposal was fought by historic preservationist, primarily a group called Friends of the Raymond, a community based non profit organization headed by Gina Zamparelli.
However, preservationist finally lost their battle. The interior of the old theater has pretty much been gutted and work is underway to adapt the historic theater into another retail/commercial/office/housing space. They say steps are being made to save the facade and historic interior elements as a remembrance for what was once a great theater.