Q&A with DARIN FEINSTEIN Co-Owner of The Viper Room – Originally Launched By Johnny Depp, Darin Talks Glory Days & Celeb Filled ReLaunch Party With X Ambassadors!
Posted On 18 Nov 2015
Tag: Alessandra Ambrosio, Alex Da Kid, Alex Turner, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, All Saints, allaccessmusicnicole, Angelina Jolie, Arctic Monkeys, Audiotistic, Austin Butler, Bevan Cooney, Breakfast With Courtney Love, Broadway, City of Angeles, Courtney Love, Darin Feinstein, DJ, DJ Zen Freeman, entertainment venue, France, Gigi, Glee, Hollywood, hot spot, Iconic, impresario, Interscope, Interscope Records, Jared Leto, Johnny Cash, Johnny Depp, Kid In A Korner, KROQ, LA, Las Vegas, Leonardo DiCaprio, Los Angeles, Mark Salling, model, Music, music venue, Nicole DeRosa, NWA, Pasquale Rotella, Red Mercury, relaunch, River Phoenix, Rosario Dawson, Springsteen, Sunset Strip, Tobey Maguire, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, U2, Vanessa Hudgens, Victoria's Secret, Viper Room, Viper Room ReLaunch, X Ambassadors, Zen Freeman
Originally launched by Johnny Depp, owners Bevan Cooney and Darin Feinstein are taking us back to the glory days by celebrating the 22nd birthday of the iconic VIPER ROOM on the Sunset Strip. Under new management, this renowned music establishment will return to its roots with a revamped space and a fresh roster of the who’s who of the music scene.
The rock and roll locale serves as an adult playground for young musicians, celebrities, and industry insiders to hang out and watch once in a lifetime live performances. Famous acts that have graced the Viper Room stage include Johnny Cash, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Courtney Love. Music goers can be found standing in line for hours waiting to be granted access to the exclusive venue alongside Hollywood’s elite, including Jared Leto, Angelina Jolie, Rosario Dawson, Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio who have been known to party until close.
The Viper Room celebrated with a Re-Launch Party last night, November 17th with a live performance by the chart topping band X Ambassadors and a DJ set by Zen Freeman. Last night the who’s who of Hollywood crowded the iconic music venue to celebrate the grand re-launch. A-listers: Vanessa Hudgens, who recently performed in Broadway play, Gigi), actor and singer Austin Butler, lead singer of Artic Monkeys Alex Turner, Mark Salling of Glee fame among many others were in attendance.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa got to catch up with co-owner, Darin Feinstein to talk about the VIPER ROOM‘s rich history and what’s in store for the future! Enjoy their chat below:
Hi Darin! How are you today? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
Black coffee in the am then putting out fires. I have over 500 employees spread across a dozen different companies, some open 24 hours a day, so waking up in the am is a crap-shoot of what is in store. I could have a few emails in my inbox pertaining to emergency issues, sometimes up to hundreds. My preference obviously is to wake up and see my kids before they go to school at 8am, however most days I’m up and at work before then.
So first things first, Happy Birthday to the Viper Room! This iconic establishment is now under your management and getting a bit of a revamp thanks to you guys. What attracted you most to want to take over the infamous venue in 2003?
When Johnny Depp founded the Viper Room he created an iconic brand that will live on forever. The venue grew from a gritty Rock and Roll lifestyle statement to one of the most prolific nightclubs, not just on the Sunset strip, but in the world. People from all parts of life are drawn to the Viper Room, the eclectic nature of its crowd is intense, and superstar bands from all over the world love to play there.
What is your background in the entertainment and music business?
As a lawyer from LA, naturally I have been exposed to entertainment my entire life. One of my first entertainment related deals was financing and taking a 50% ownership interest in a festival company called Audiotistic, a festival that brought in over 40,000 people per year to an abandoned airfield. We had 3 main stages and went head to head with Coachella way back when festivals were just getting started.
We ended up selling Audiotistic to Pasquale Rotella and Insomniac in 2008 and they still produce that show today. Currently, my entertainment company Red Mercury produces theatrical shows in Las Vegas. Under the Red Mercury umbrella, we have a dozen different shows we produce and handle wide ranging issues from dealing with unions in Vegas to entertaining Chinese tour group leaders. My shows in Vegas sell over 75,000 in monthly tickets.
Since its inception, there have been so many incredible bands who have graced the Viper Room stage like: Johnny Cash, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Courtney Love to just name a few. Who are you most excited about coming up this year?
We will be announcing massive shows, too early to confirm, but for the grand re-opening coming up we have something very special in store.
Has ex owner Johnny Depp ever given you advice about running Viper Room?
When I purchased Viper Room in 2003/4 Depp was living in France so communications went mostly through his management personnel out in LA, but they were great to work with. We worked hard to maintain the original look, feel and personality of the place once we took it over.
I know it’s hard to pick, but what has been your most memorable / favorite concert thus far?
The exact day that we took over Viper Room, Courtney Love was taping “Breakfast With Courtney Love” and played a full set that aired live on KROQ. We have had bigger names come into Viper since then but that show always sticks out in my memory.
Nowadays, everything is so instant…you push a button and it’s yours ala Spotify, Soundcloud, iTunes etc. What was the first album you ever bought yourself?
Growing up in the 80s, the first albums I bought were U2, Springsteen and NWA.
What artists or bands are in current rotation for you?
A mix of a little bit of everything. I really rely on the people that work for me to fill me in on the newest bands and keep me current so that would be a question for them. I really am lucky to work with the best in the industry.
What’s on tap next for the Viper Room other than the relaunch on the 17th? What are you most excited about for this year?
We want to bring it back to the original vision that Johnny Depp had, while keeping it exciting and fresh. We want to be a place where everyone can come together and hang out and listen to great music, from A-lists to music fans.
To stay up to the latest and greatest with the VIPER ROOM , visit the website HERE
Interior photos courtesy of: Vivian Vest