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  • John 8:35 am on September 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    Gary Fontenot, Manager Of The Starwood 

    Wonderland1981 - The Wonderland Murders

    Gary Fontenot was the manager of the Starwood during its heyday in the seventies and until the club closed in 1981. Although we heard a bit about Gary from Lee who worked at the Starwood (read those amazing posts here), not much else was really known about him. Gary was from a large family and he grew up in a very small town in southwestern Louisiana. Like so many others, he headed out west to Los Angeles to seek a better life.

    Gary passed away in Honduras in March of 1999. From the information available, it is easy to say that Gary Fontenot was a good man. I thank his brother, Patrick, for answering some of my questions and filling in the blanks.

    Rest in peace, Gary.

    In Memory of Gary Fontenot. Rest in Peace. In Memory of Gary Fontenot. Rest in Peace.

    Here is a start John…keeping in mind that I was living in Victorville California…stationed…

    View original post 779 more words

     
  • John 11:34 am on February 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Starwood Booking Manager, David Forest, Passed Away 

    David was a pretty well known music and club agent in L.A. at one time. At the Starwood, Gary Fontenot was the general manager and David handled the bands (he replaced David Knight). In this video from David’s YouTube channel, he discusses his career and also his time working for the Whiskey and for Gary at the Starwood. He died from diabetes in 2015.

    His obituary:

    December 12, 1948 – August 13, 2015
    David was born in Long Beach, CA, December 12, 1948 to Ira and Joyce Forest. David attended Paul Revere JHS 1961-1963 and Palisades High School, class of ’66. David was accepted at Stanford University; he wanted to earn some spending money, so he booked local bands for fraternity and sorority parties. He liked the money he earned and found he was spending more time at that than with classes, that is also when he first met Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. He went to work for Bill Graham’s Millard Agency in San Francisco at Fillmore West where he handled the Grateful Dead and Santana. He moved back to LA in 1969 to work at IFA and then was hired by David Geffen at CMA in 1971 where he would end up handling Moody Blues, Leon Russell, Carole King, James Taylor, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, The Carpenters. At the age of 25, David decided to open a booking agency and also concert promotion (Fun Productions). Most of the concerts were on the west coast, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Jose and included Sly and the Family Stone, Boz Scaggs, Steve Miller, Billy Preston, Loggins and Messina, Uriah Heep, Lynard Skynard, Jefferson Starship and Cat Stevens. In the summer of 1976, the first big concerts at Anaheim Stadium headlining, KISS, ZZ Top and Aerosmith. After the economy took a dive, he moved on to book acts for the Whisky a Go Go and the Starwood. David passed away from the side effects of diabetes. A Celebration of Life service will be Friday at 11:00 AM at Hillside Mortuary. David is survived by his mother and brothers.
    Published in the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 6, 2015.
    forest-1976
     
    • Gayle 1:19 pm on February 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent!

      • hurtandhurting 3:13 pm on May 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I wonder if it was his idea to start the “pay to play” movement, which originated at The Whiskey in the late 1980’s but really picked up steam in the 1990’s after the Sunset Strip heyday. If so, that would have been the REAL genius of this guy. The Strip has all but died along with most of the most famous clubs, but pay to play kept many of them open for many years past their natural expiration date. Of course the bands hated it, and why not? It sucked! But for promoters and club owners it was an ingenious way of keeping the lights on, eh?

  • John 8:55 am on October 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    Repost – The Starwood and Gary Fontenot 

    I know the blog has 600 posts and it’s hard to browse everything. There are some new readers here and maybe they have not seen this yet. This is from Gary’s brother, Patrick. The questions are mine, with help from readers here at the blog. Thanks.

    Gary was originally from a small town in western Louisiana. He headed out west to pursue his dreams and unlike so many others, he was a success. Gary was a good man and a fine club manager. He was often at odds with Eddie, over business and other things. Read on….

    Did you ever visit your brother at his house in Studio City during the 70s or 80s?  Did you meet any showbiz types?

    My family and I visited Gary as often as possible on the weekends when he lived in West Hollywood…”Studio City”???…I am not that familiar with Los Angeles and that area…but Gary lived in a rather nice little place that was pretty much walking distance to Sunset Blvd and it did not seem like it was a far drive from the Starwood.  I do not remember the street name.  He lived there with his friend Michael and Michael I believe was a nurse…doing private work if I recall.  They had been friends for some time.  I would also take some of my military friends to Gary’s home on Friday nights so they could experience the nightclub life at the Starwood.  He would give us the VIP treatment everytime we would visit.

    What exactly happened to Gary at the end of his life? Was he really living in central America? Retired?

    When things began to go downhill for Gary he decided to move to Honduras.  He actually drove there with some kid that I believe was from that area were they settled.  Gary opened his own place down there and seemed to be happy…always inviting me to visit.  However, by nature of my military job, I had to be very careful.  Gary experienced an attempted robbery one evening when closing and was shot in the stomach.  I don’t think he ever recovered, although his cause of death was attributed to prostate cancer.  My brother Dale, flew down to Honduras several times to visit Gary and the last time he flew down was to ensure Gary received a proper burial.

    Did Gary ever discuss Eddie Nash, who was his boss at the Starwood?

    Gary did in fact talk a little about Nash.  Lot of times it was in anger, however many times I believe the tone was respect.  Nash would provide Gary with new cars which Gary loved…he did like showing off a little.  I remember the last car given to Gary by Nash was a brand new Cadillac…we would drive to the Starwood in it and employees of the Starwood would jump in the car to park it when they recognized Gary in the car.

    What did Gary do for a living right after the Starwood closed?

    After the Starwood, Gary was not the same.  He moved into an apartment complex and dabbled a little in real estate…but was unemployed a lot of the time;although he would never tell me.  When at the Starwood, he was in control and afterward he seemed to lose that feeling.  The apartment complex was nothing fancy…about the only thing I remember about it was a visitor that came by one day while I was there.  Gary introduced him as an ex-FBI individual.  I assumed he was because he was carrying a gun.  They did not talk about anything specific and I guessed they had been acquaintances from way back.

    Did your brother ever tell you that his house was shot up by a dealer with a machine gun? He was looking for the soundman of the Starwood, who owed him some money? Gary allegedly let the soundman, Dom Fragomeli, stay at his house in Studio City for a few weeks in 1981.

    In 1981 I left California for Texas.  I don’t think Gary was living in the original home when I first got to California.  I am thinking he was still living in the apartment complex…is that what you meant as far as “home”.  Gary barely mentioned that happening…we would talk by phone…He did not go into detail.  But, knowing Gary, it would not surprise me that he had allowed someone to stay in his home.  He was just that type of person.  I believe he left California shortly after that incident.  Keep in mind, the Nash thing, the Starwood, coupled by him losing a lot of money in the stock market…Gary needed a change.  He had a hate/love relationship with California.  As a small town boy, Los Angeles and the Hollywood scene took its toll on Gary.  He was apparently good at what he did, managing nightclubs, but did rub elbows with some questionable people.

    Hope this helps…as you think of questions, let me know and I will answer them the best I can.  Will try and dig up some photos of Gary.  You would really need to know where and how he grew up to understand the personal conflict he had with the whole Hollywood scene…

    Have a great day.

     
    • Gen 1%er 11:17 am on October 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Ron Launius was forever altered by being in the shit for no telling how many years. He came back to Fayetteville where SF were located and Doc Mac was the Doc for SF. He saw Ron’s track marks and went to confront some people.

      Ron was hooked and he was likely one of a group of people that tipped the local dealers. Ron may have been there that night Doc Mac’s family was slaughtered. God knows MP’s had every reason to fuck up the crime scene as they received a cut for every bit of #3 and #4 that Lucas got in through Fayetteville and Columbus through the false bottom coffins.

      Ronnie was a spook, and that is how he got away with a lot of shit when he got out. If you look for pictures of Barry Seal during the early Mena AR years- Ronnie is two shots. When that damn Wonderland mssg board was up, a lot of the good things about Ronnie got excised from Google News archive and the search engines. Paper is a bitch though- if you look hard enough, Ronnie was a decent fella. He had no aspirations to be a biker or AB. David was solely somebody from the joint who could provide H out of Mexico or Canada.

      Lind’s sole connection to an MC was really the Straight Satans. When he got back out of one of his stays in Cali Corrections, they were no longer an existing patch. Some were involved with the Satans Slaves out of LA and the SFV. Slave Louie was killed by a Straight Satan who became a Mongol- that killed Lind’s chance of ever becoming an 81 member. Lind was pushing dope for a Mongol and fucking a massage parlor girl who was fucking an 81 and a Mongol- that bitch kicked off 40 years of war. Lind wanted to be 81 but he couldn’t meet the no needle rule that was virtually national by this time, he was in tight with a couple of LA Mongols for a dope connection and he provided them girls for LA massage parlors- brothels. AMPs werern’t a thing til post Ed Meese.

      Lind was an associate and crime partner to Michael Thompson of the AB. Lind was never accepted by the AB council as an associate- Hulk hated him, hated his poser bullshit, hated his attitude, hated his smuggling in IV drugs and rigs through his Massage Parlor girls.

      Lind also fucked up when he took and fucked up the Margo Compton hit. It was an open fact where she was in Dago before they moved her out of state. The AB had some problems with her testifying as her ol’ man who beat on her, was AB. The 81 had crossed the AB by having Latino and Phillipino members and then they got involved with Margo.

      No 81 wanted her dead. The AB did. Michael Thompson farmed it out to Lind and Lind nodded off and she was gone. The AB followed her mail and her killed. The ATF wanted the 81 brother more than any of the AB at the time, as the AB did not have a strong street gang presence.

      If this gets posted, I’ll provide more.

      “Butterfly” was no different to Lind than any of his other massage girls. That was not the love of his life. Clean #4 cut with Fentanyl was the love of his life. Period.

      I have more. I tried to leave a dead drop number to wonderland81 at gmail.com but received no call or response, so if this isn’t published- fuck it.

      • John 8:40 am on October 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks rebel, please tell us more. I did receive your other email, but please email me. I was holding on to the goods because it was something that I needed for Barb’s background story. What can you tell me about her ex-husband Walter? Email me and thanks.

      • Gayle 3:35 am on November 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Fascinating!! It’s interesting to read about their association with the MC’s. I did not know about Lind’s involvement with the Straight Satan’s.

  • John 8:39 am on March 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Gary Fontenot, Manager Of The Starwood 

    Gary Fontenot was the manager of the Starwood during its heyday in the seventies and until the club closed in 1981. Although we heard a bit about Gary from Lee who worked at the Starwood (read those amazing posts here), not much else was really known about him. Gary was from a large family and he grew up in a very small town in southwestern Louisiana. Like so many others, he headed out west to Los Angeles to seek a better life.

    Gary passed away in Honduras in March of 1999. From the information available, it is easy to say that Gary Fontenot was a good man. I thank his brother, Patrick, for answering some of my questions and filling in the blanks.

    Rest in peace, Gary.

    In Memory of Gary Fontenot. Rest in Peace.

    In Memory of Gary Fontenot. Rest in Peace.

    Here is a start John…keeping in mind that I was living in Victorville California…stationed at George AFB.  I was in the Air Force and stationed there from 1977 – 1980/81.

    Did you ever visit your brother at his house in Studio City during the 70s or 80s? Did you meet any showbiz types?

    My family and I visited Gary as often as possible on the weekends.  I am not that familiar with Los Angeles and that area…but Gary lived in a rather nice little place that was pretty much walking distance to Sunset Blvd and it did not seem like it was a far drive from the Starwood.  I do not remember the street name.  He lived there with his friend Michael and Michael I believe was a nurse…doing private work if I recall.  They had been friends for some time.  I would also take some of my military friends to Gary’s home on Friday nights so they could experience the nightclub life at the Starwood.  He would give us the VIP treatment everytime we would visit.

    What exactly happened to Gary at the end of his life? Was he really living in central America? Retired?

    When things began to go downhill for Gary he decided to move to Honduras.  He actually drove there with some kid that I believe was from that area were they settled.  Gary opened his own place down there and seemed to be happy…always inviting me to visit.  However, by nature of my military job, I had to be very careful.  Gary experienced an attempted robbery one evening when closing and was shot in the stomach.  I don’t think he ever recovered, although his cause of death was attributed to prostate cancer.  My brother Dale, flew down to Honduras several times to visit Gary and the last time he flew down was to ensure Gary received a proper burial.

    Did Gary ever discuss Eddie Nash, who was his boss at the Starwood?

    Gary did in fact talk a little about Nash.  Lot of times it was in anger, however many times I believe the tone was respect.  Nash would provide Gary with new cars which Gary loved…he did like showing off a little.  I remember the last car given to Gary by Nash was a brand new Cadillac…we would drive to the Starwood in it and employees of the Starwood would jump in the car to park it when they recognized Gary in the car.

    What did Gary do for a living right after the Starwood closed?

    After the Starwood, Gary was not the same.  He moved into an apartment complex and dabbled a little in real estate…but was unemployed a lot of the time;although he would never tell me.  When at the Starwood, he was in control and afterward he seemed to lose that feeling.  The apartment complex was nothing fancy…about the only thing I remember about it was a visitor that came by one day while I was there.  Gary introduced him as an ex-FBI individual.  I assumed he was because he was carrying a gun.  They did not talk about anything specific and I guessed they had been acquaintances from way back.

    Did your brother ever tell you that his house was shot up by a dealer with a machine gun? He was looking for the soundman of the Starwood, who owed him some money? Gary allegedly let the soundman, Dom Fragomeli, stay at his house in Studio City for a few weeks in 1981.

    In 1981 I left California for Texas.  I don’t think Gary was living in the original home when I first got to California.  I am thinking he was still living in the apartment complex…is that what you meant as far as “home”.  Gary barely mentioned that happening…we would talk by phone…He did not go into detail.  But, knowing Gary, it would not surprise me that he had allowed someone to stay in his home.  He was just that type of person.  I believe he left California shortly after that incident.  Keep in mind, the Nash thing, the Starwood, coupled by him losing a lot of money in the stock market…Gary needed a change.  He had a hate/love relationship with California.  As a small town boy, Los Angeles and the Hollywood scene took its toll on Gary.  He was apparently good at what he did, managing nightclubs, but did rub elbows with some questionable people.

    Hope this helps…as you think of questions, let me know and I will answer them the best I can. Will try and dig up some photos of Gary.  You would really need to know where and how he grew up to understand the personal conflict he had with the whole Hollywood scene…

    Have a great day.

     
    • Bonnie Brae 4:41 pm on March 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Damn John. You are thorough.

      • Gayle 11:20 pm on March 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        So this was very interesting John. My friend and I were talking about the old Starwood days…she remembers a big black bouncer there, made me wonder if it was Diles! Ha!

      • Gayle 2:38 pm on March 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I always wondered who managed the Starwood. I hung out there from 78 to 81…it wasn’t an over 21 club so we could get in being so young.

    • John 6:46 pm on March 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thoroughly in love! I’d be offended if you weren’t so sexy.

      • Bonnie Brae 10:09 am on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I’d be offended if you thought I was anything else!

      • Gayle 10:07 pm on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        You are right about that John, she is a totally sexy! …and a fantastic person, I am grateful for her friendship.

    • Bonnie Brae 10:12 am on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      And yes. Your passion for this blog is part of your charm.

    • Mykal Fontenot 7:13 pm on March 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hi john, my names mykal fontenot, and i am gary fontenots nephew and godson. It was as a result of my interest in my uncle, that i found your blog, and after questioning my father patrick about it, that he in turn contacted you…. i would just like to say thank you for sharing a mutual respect for my uncle, as well as for going out of your way to share his story, and keep his spirit alive…..much love, brother….rock n roll. Mykal

      • John 6:09 pm on March 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        It was my pleasure, Mykal. Thanks for the kind words. God bless.

      • david Gutiérrez 6:39 pm on March 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I remember gary fontenot from honduras very well i can give you more info my cell 615) 4031841

        • John 1:01 pm on March 18, 2015 Permalink

          David, I’ll be in touch with you!! Thanks.

        • joii resnick 5:48 pm on March 18, 2015 Permalink

          i wored at starwood since it opened with Gary and kathy. i was good friends with gary he was awesome, also i was with him right b4 he moved to honduras… i have a few pictures too.

      • Patti 10:59 am on August 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Mykal Fontenot . Did you visit your uncle in the sound booth ?

    • Bonnie Brae 7:00 pm on March 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I am so jelly Gayle. You are one of very few people that actually grew up in LA.

    • Ken D. 5:00 pm on April 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      John,
      Not heard anything out of you in awhile there bud. Hope everything is well!

    • joii 3:24 pm on July 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hi I knew Gary very well in the Starwood days I lived worked and breathed it. was with Gary and Michael byard all the time…I have a couple of pics of him at the starwood, spent many a day at all his houses. and yes he was living on havenhurst here in w Hollywood right before he moved to Honduras. I am very sad to read he is gone…

      • david Gutiérrez 6:35 pm on March 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        That was a apartments get in contact with me my cell (615)4031841

      • david Gutiérrez 6:36 pm on March 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I remember gary fonteno from Honduras very well for many years

      • Angie Fontenot 12:22 pm on February 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Joii, I am Angie, Gary’s niece. I would love any pictures you may have. Gary holds a very special place in my heart. If you can, please email them to me at angie0164@ymail.com or text them to me at 225-287-8120. Thank you 🙂

    • joii 3:26 pm on July 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      hi John, just found this….I posted just a second ago…again very sad to hear this news…I know everything there is to know about the starwood, gary ed. etc. greg diles is dead. and yes he and ed murdered those people in laurel canyon, all over cocaine…

      • Patrick Engeleiter 11:01 pm on June 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Joii please contact me about a documentary. Patrick 414-306-1667

    • baby 1:39 pm on August 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      That bouncers name was big eddie..He was nice at first. Seemed to have had a learning disability. Then one night he seemed very forceful to me and tried to kiss me. I found it odd. St eared clear of him after that..then also moved away from hollywood.

    • baby 6:20 pm on August 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      That bouncer they called big eddie.

      • Matt 11:09 am on November 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        As I read more. I see David Knight aka David Neidorf. Another pig. They destroyed kids lives

    • ValleyRelic 6:46 pm on August 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I knew Gary casually in the late Starwood era (1979-1981). I was 18 or 19 when I started going there regularly and was what you may call a “pretty boy” at the time. Though the Starwood was ostensibly a “straight” rock and roll club, everyone back then was using a lot of cocaine, and the Starwood was frequented by lots of older gay and bi men who liked to lure the straight boys with drugs and alcohol. Gary’s friends were a lot of these guys, and his upstairs office was usually filled with a handful of men in their 30s and 40s and the “chicken” they had “pulled” from downstairs, doing coke, weed and drinking. Occasionally there were “VIPs” among this group, including well known radio DJs of the era, artist mangers, record executives, publicists, and even an actual rock star from time to time. I won’t divulge any names to protect identities, but boy could I name names! A few times I visited Gary’s home on Laurel Terrace in Studio City, and remember his housemate Michael, who was mentioned in your story. What I most remember about Gary is that he was a complete gentleman despite his hard partying lifestyle, and was always respectful and had a warm smile. The Starwood epitomized the “sex and drugs and rock and roll” lifestyle of late 1970’s West Hollywood. I’m grateful I survived it…and glad that I can fondly reminisce about my experiences there and share them here.

      • brian 1:40 pm on September 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I read cocaine was expensive back then. I guess there were people with money around there.

    • nicky 12:12 pm on January 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Peter Nicols,Mike J and I Nicky P Where at Gary’s house the day it was shot up.It was super bowl Sunday,Gary had us over for a small party.True in fact

      • John 4:12 pm on January 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Nicky. Email the blog so we can arrange to talk more. Gracias!

      • John 4:13 pm on January 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Was Bonaduce there?

    • John 8:35 am on September 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

  • John 10:43 am on January 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Niece Tells What Happened To Starwood Manager, Gary Fontenot 

    Gary Fontenot was the manager of the Starwood and worked for Eddie Nash. You got to read a lot about Gary via excerpts that I posted from Lee’s book about his life in Rock and working at the Starwood. Read those posts here.

    This is what Angie had to say about her uncle Gary:

    My uncle is (was) Gary Fontenot. I would love to know more about him.

    Yes, I knew him as the coolest Uncle I had. He would come to Louisiana and visit every couple of years and my parents would fly me up to Hollywood for vacations. I remember when I was young (about 12 years old) they took me to the Starwood to see the place. It was unbelievable to my eyes. The stuff I saw in Gary’s office, I can still see it in my mind. When I graduated from high school in 1982 I flew up there and stayed with Gary for two weeks ~ an incredible two weeks. He was so much fun and I miss him very much. Did you know he passed away in Honduras a few years ago? He was living there and he had a nighclub.

    From what I understand, Gary was on the run from the mafia and that is why he moved to Honduras. Before he fled he worked for Merrill Lynch and the word “embezzling” actually came up. In Honduras, Someone shot him one night (attempting to murder him) as he was leaving his club, but he survived. No money was taken from him so it wasn’t robbery. My Dad told me the mofia caught up with him. About a year later a blood clot from the gunshot wound broke free and killed him. Gary’s father who is (was) wealthy was too tight to spend the money to fly his body back to the States for a burial. Supposedly they threw his body on the side of a mountain like trash. I would love to know exactly what went down but I don’t even know where to start. My Dad who is his brother still talks about him all the time. The whole family misses him, he was iconic to all of us and he was so much fun to be around.

     
    • mark c 10:47 am on January 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Wow.. That was a sad ending.

    • bobabooie 8:40 am on May 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I think that he saw the movie “Sorcerer.”

    • Joseph 2:25 pm on November 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Hey.my name then was Joseph.i remember when you came to LA to vist.I had alto taken a road trip to la.once with Gary.( or Dallas Gary!) I can tell you some things you don’t know. I love Gary and i hope his rest is peacefull

  • John 6:05 am on November 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Part 3 – The Final Chapter For Dominic Fragomeli @ Nash’s 

    Start reading the previous chapters about Dom here. RIP Dom.

    From Lee @ Starwood. The Final Chapter of Dominic Fragomeli’s Demise:

    Hey, Hope all is well. Amazing how much stuff starts to come back when you start writing it. I do Know what Dom was doing just prior to his death. They put up on the Starwood marquee: “Starwood Studios, Showcase, Performance,  For Rental.”  And Dom was supposed to (I guess he did) Run it. I remember that Missing Persons played at the KROQ Christmas party held there that year. It was a great show. Dale Bozzio wore almost nothing but a bra that was 2 square boxes. Tony Miguel took some great pictures of that show. Have any luck finding him? Tony and I later cleaned up Ed’s after the 2nd raid. But there wasn’t much going on there (at Starwood Studios). People were living there and I really thought it would probably burn down for insurance or something. It WAS an awful firetrap. And people living there who use drugs? Anytime it could have happened. On purpose or not.

    Now Gary Fontenot was put in charge of renovating the ” Seven Sea’s” Restaurant on Hollywood Blvd. Right across the Blvd. from the Chinese theatre . The famous one with the footprints. The 7 Sea’s was a Polynesian restaurant that Ed owned. No-one ever ate there and it was the greatest location in the world. They had a cute little trick of bringing you a big blue drink with Dry ice in it which looked like a big blue volcano. But that was the only trick it had really.  So Ed wanted to turn it into a disco. Even in trouble and drug addicted, no one EVER said Ed Nash was stupid.

    The Seven Sea’s as a disco was Hugely Popular. I helped do some of the Renovation work there. Dave ( DeMarco?) from Guitar Center did the sound system. Stand in front of those stacks and it’d blow your hair straight back. Eventually that’s what did it in. The city said it was shaking the building down and it had to close. When I went there I was treated as a total V.I.P! Bout time Id gotten a little respect. To this day when I hear the Flock of seagulls or Soft-cell Or the Motels. Romeo-void.  I think of the Seven Sea’s. I think Dom was a goner before it even opened though. It took several months plus a few more to get it going. I don’t recall who actually Ran the place. I think Hal Glickman might have for a little bit. Before he ran the Kit-Klap. (Pun intended.)

    When Dominic was found dead in a smaller bedroom off the west hallway it was by Desi, His G/f. Who had been sleeping right next to him the whole time. She told me that She reached over to shake him awake ’cause it was morning and he was cold as ice. She jumped up and looked at him and he was on his stomach. Facing away from her. With whats called: “Marked Lividly”. See his corpse was horizontal with a line of demarcation running horizontal down his side. She said the bottom 1/2 was dark blue. And the top 1/2 where the blood had drained totally down,,,,    Was Ivory White. Not uncommon I understand. So he had been dead for several hours. He was overweight and drank and took drugs and never looked REAL healthy. Not for L.A.  Or anywhere. But it was still a surprise. I can’t understand why Ed didn’t KNOW that the pigs were going to come? Maybe he was that much out of it? And Come the Pigs Did! I can’t recall how much time was between the 2 events but it was close enough that when I heard ED got raided again, My first thought was that it was because of Dom Kacking Down the hall there.

    Does Any of this help you in Your research. Your Blog is incredibly thorough and well researched. Hope My story helps fill in some blanks. Give me a couple of days and I’ll tell you what Ed’s house was like after the raid. I and Tony Miguel were the 1st people there after the pigs hauled off everyone who was there after all. And the Wonders we saw! And we kept EVERYONE else who wanted to come in OUT! And More than a couple of Vultures, Smelling rank meat, Came to that house. And were very dissappointed. That it was in our hands already. Oh And I can prove Scott Thorson a liar when he says the things he says.   Cool?  Talk at you soon.

     
  • John 2:45 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Starwood Contact Talks About Dom’s Demise At Nash’s 

    I was going to wait until Monday before dropping a new post, since the interview with Nils Grevillius was so top notch, but this is too juicy. I asked Lee from the Starwood to give me some more of the scoop and boy did he deliver. Thanks Lee!  He is also writing a book about his life in Rock. Everyone is writing a damn book, even Julia Negron. I better get off my ass!

    This Dominic kid was the young man whom Nils and I talked about in the interview, and whose death sparked the second raid on Nash’s house in November of 1981. I had speculated that this kid was mafia connected, only because he and his family were all born in Italy and were still Italian citizens upon his death, according to public records.

    The old Starwood manager, Gary Fontenot, is dead too.

    Here’s what Lee had to say:

    Ok then. Dominic was the soundman at the Starwood. Not a bad job at ALL! Hobnobbin with the Rock-stars and all the ‘Perks’ that come along with that sort of access. Now the Wonderland thing was the dark ugly thing that I really had nothing to do with. I was more involved with the Starwood and the Rock n Roll side. I certainly knew all it seems were involved with that terrible thing, and heard it all out of the mouths of  those same people.

    Dominic ‘s best friend was Micheal Mazzechelli. Dom’s G/F was Desi. They all originally came from Danbury Conn. After the Starwood closed not long after the crime (Wonderland). Everyone who worked there scattered. Fear was in the air. Dom and Mike and Des all went back to Conn. but who can stay away long from the scene we lived in? I myself went to work at the Troubadour after the Starwood. I’m sure that Dom and Micheal were certain that they could come back after a few months. Things had calmed down. They all 3 of ’em came back in Dom’s red van and tried to set up shop.  Things were tough though. Not many people were really looking for sound guy’s who were willing to pay what they were used to making. I was after all only 17 at the time and willing to work for CHEAP!  Gary Fontenot (Starwood mgr) made a call on my behalf to Doug Weston and I got lighting work for I think it was $20.00 a night. Dom and Mike couldn’t do that cause they were used to a LOT more. Ed Nash was good to us all.

    So Dom and Des and Mazzechelli were broke and addicted to coke then evicted from their motel room and so it goes same old story. So the Danbury crowd stayed in the van in Fontenots driveway (in Studio City) for a 2 or 3 weeks. Everyone was partying and what not.  Gary set up Dom with an Colombian dealer named Orlando (Not the same person as the Orlando who did ‘buisness’ with Ed). Gary was trying to get them a situation to get them out of the driveway. Dom got fronted 4 oz’s and it got smoked up. They only let me have a couple of hit’s cause the drug is like that and their excuse was cause I was so young. Ed pulled that same crap with me later. C”mon guy’s! They knew how tough I was.  Assholes.  Anyhoo, when Dom and Micheal couldn’t come up with the money, They tried to tell the Colombian that the coke had been “Poison” and they just flushed it.    Well,,,,,   This did not go over very well with the dealer.  Nor with Gary. I watched Gary kicking that red van and throwing stuff around untill they left. Gary was good with histrionics.   Tell you what John..  It’s late and I’m tired. So do you want me to keep this up?? I Don’t know anything about East Coast mobsters. Dom and Mike and Desi were guido-trash pretty much.  I Know that Dom’s Mother actually Bronzed his bass guitar after his death. Just like baby-shoes. Then hung it over the fireplace.  And Dominic couldn’t play that thing for shit!!!   Truth is truly stranger! In a day or two I’ll tell you how Dom ended up living at Ed’s. and his unfortunate demise. Now why dont you give me something??  I’ll leave it up to your imagination..    Boy the Colombian did not take it well. The 1st time I ever heard an automatic weapon fired. A REAL Machine gun. Bullets flew everywhere. 10 minutes later the phone rang.  The Hispanic voice said: ‘Give that frog-faced fucker my message”  I’ll tell you the rest (maybe) soon Goodnight.

     
    • Brandy 3:12 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Holy cow this is incredible, wow. You rock JOhn!

    • criticextraordinaire 4:52 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Don’t roll out too much, too fast John. You don’t want to blow your wadd all at once. 🙂

      • John 7:03 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Coming Soon critic. Next up Ron’s prison time…. And Joe Mikaelien’s cry baby vibe to the judge. “I murdered people but grant me a mistrial because I get headaches, and have done drugs” That fucking asshole!

    • criticextraordinaire 5:05 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      You know, I think that Jon Taffer was running the Troubadour back then. Can you ask Lee if he was? And if so, was Taffer as cranky as he is these days on Bar Rescue?????

      • John 5:20 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Sure, I’ll ask him. Sounds funny, I need to watch that show more often.

    • localarts 6:47 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Cool Story. In the early 80’s, if you wanted to get signed or seen by a major recod label the Starwood was the place to be.

    • scabiesoftherat 11:24 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      That was a pretty cool story. I had just seen a documentary about the Troubador and this chronicle really confirms what they said in the documentary.

      Doug Weston really was a cheap MF.

    • John 7:24 am on November 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I may have to go into the secret Wonderland golden cache of photos to get Lee to give me part 2!

    • John 9:00 am on November 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Here’s the conclusion to the Domenic Fragomeli story from Lee at the Starwood. Nash allegedly tried to help, but that’s a double-edged sword:

      Ok.. Here’s some more.
      Gary threw the Danbury crowd out of the driveway but that wasn’t good enough for the Colombian dealer. I was in the room where everyone always hung out. Kind of a ‘back’ living room. I believe it was a street called Laurel terrace. But it was a long time ago. So Gary and his housemate Nurse Michael were watching TV. It was around 6 PM or so. I had just given Gary’s horrible little dog ‘itty-bitty’ a bath and was drying her when what sounded like Big ole firecrackers on the very front porch went off. Gary, micheal and I looked at each other and the ‘ What the f was that’ thing went on for a minute till I went out to investigate with Nurse Micheal. At 1st Things looked cool. Then I looked at Nurse Micheals Older blue lincoln and said something to the effect/affect of;’ Hey Micheal, Why’d you leave all of your windows down on your car?’ Then we both saw that the ground was littered with broken glass. Going around to the street side we saw MANY hole’s in Micheals car. I went went “Holy S–T! Mcheal, Get back in the house, NOW”! And almost had to drag him back inside cause he just didn’t seem to get it. I hollered at Gary that someone just SHOT up the f-ing house! Gary didn’t believe it until we went into the front room and saw hole’s along the inside front room wall. Bullet holes.(Thank whatever Gods were there that no-one ever hung out in that room and there was a huge stone fireplace which caught the lead and none entered where we were. Then the phone rang. I picked it up and the aforementioned Hispanic voice, ( Not the dealers voice which I knew but a different one.) “Did you get get my message? Someone needs to pay” Stunned silence there I assure you. What we thought was that since the dealer was introduced by Gary. Gary was responsible for the dept. About 3 or 4 days later there was a little get together at the house. Gary had told everyone he knew that they were SO BUMMED OUT FROM BEING (Why am I yelling? OH.. Just hit the caps key.) machine gunned that everyone should come over with as many drugs and much booze that they could carry, so Nurse Michael and Gary could calm down and enjoy life a bit.( Oh, And if you have a stray roach or something for the kid. That’d be cool, But don’t really worry about him. a-holes. I ALWAYS got the shaft in the drug dept.) So just at twilight when everyone’s getting all mellow. Were in the backyard grilling when BANGBANGBANGBANGetc. AGAIN! Being outside this time There was No doubt that it was gunshots. People scattered. Over fences into neighbors yards. Anywhere but there. I think, But am not certain that Danny Boneduce was there for that 1. He was around allot in those day’s. “Got Coke? Got Danny Partridge!) Nurse Michael had his bag packed before the last shell hit the ground I swear! This was in 1981. I remember a person who lived at least 1/2 a block down the street had a chat with Gary as they walked up and down the street cause a bullet fragment had traveled down the street and entered his home through a window within feet of his young son. There HAS to be police reports on this. I tried looking on google maps for the exact address, but I’m not real computer savvy and couldn’t get it. Mazzechelli went back to Conn. and that’s how Dom and Des ended up at Ed’s. I would conjecture, But I don’t know. That Ed intervened on Doms behalf. There were no more gunshots at that house. I don’t have any idea what Ed had required of Dom for letting him live there and I assume taking care of that debt. But Dom Never had to pay it cause within not too awful long later. Dom died of a Speedball, Or MANY Smoked Speedballs. ) I used to laugh seeing Fontenot smoke one. Here’s a guy who could Freebase All nigh and be a bit weird but O.K. Then Ed would sprinkle a bit of that brown stuff on the top and Gary would RUN to the Bathroom to puke immediately! Ed would never give me ANY freebase cause he said; ” He’s Too Young” Like I had never done it before. He’d have one of the girls give me a couple of lines and some crappy pot instead. Well, Beggers cant choose I guess. Ok John. Now that I’m ‘warmed up’ so to speak. I got to get back to my own stuff. Talk to you soon. Maybe!

    • John 1:16 pm on November 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Part 3 is even better!

  • John 9:56 am on June 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Eddie Nash Frightened Former Starwood Employee 

    Just a heads up. At about this same time in June, 1981… David Lind and Barbara were arriving at the Wonderland house. It must have felt like Dave was right back in the summer o’ love 😉  Damn, didn’t it feel good to be home!

    Oh no, not you again.

    Oh no, not you again.

    The Starwood night club closed down during the same year as the Wonderland murders. It is a strange coincidence. The city officials were tired of the complaints from neighbors, etc., but the timing of the murders and licenses not being renewed is odd.

    In “L.A. Exposed” by Paul Young, we find out that…

    By 1966 PJ’s had been bought by an organized crime figure, Eddie Nash and reputed organized crime figure Dominic Lucci, and was managed by Gary Fontenot (not an organized crime figure) for many years. In 1973, after Nash bought out Lucci’s ownership interest in the club, it became The Starwood. It closed in 1981, torn down by the City, after too many citations for underage drinking and noise abatement issues. Before it was demolished it caught fire, though not burning totally. This occurred while unexplained fires befell other Nash-owned properties at the time. Subsequently the structure was torn down, and a mini-mall was built on the site.

    The jury is still out, so to speak, on whether Dominic Lucci had anything to do with singer Bobby Fuller’s mysterious death! To read about that story, click here.

    Let’s move on…

    At a punk rock forum, I found this little nugget from a former Starwood employee. I read another account once that was posted by a former waitress or bartender. She said Eddie invited her to his house for a party. She declined. Smart girl. She would have awoke to Greg Diles on top of her.

    Starwood manager, Gary, is also mentioned below. The “coat check” scam is just another cover charge. By the time you get in the damn club, you are already $10 light in the wallet!

    Oh, my darling Starwood! I was crazy in love with the ‘Wood’. It really was the home of Sex, Drugs, and Rock n Roll. Lol! It was never a place for lightweights, that’s for sure. Anyone who thought all that stuff didn’t go on there was highly naive.You knew the moment you drove or walked under that over marquis that this was OZ. A wonderful decadent OZ of Rock n Roll! I worked there on and off from 72 until it closed down in 82. Sometimes I’d go to my parents and visit, or go to Europe for a visit with my grandmother for a few weeks and come back to work at the ‘Wood’. Cleaning glasses and ashtrays at first,then on to cleaning up the tables on the main floors and up in the VIP club, the offices, etc,and working at the VIP entrance sometimes,and then my final and permanent job:: The ever insane Coat Check. This was before the cage went up. Gary had that put in when people kept stealing coats from the other end of the counter.They could just reach across and grab stuff before I could get to them! The Starwood was my home,my heart and soul.I grew up there, being only 18 1/2 when I arrived at the club for the first time. I got in with an older friend. They didn’t check IDs a lot there till much later on. I’ve never gotten over the loss of that place. The world lost a great nightclub,and personally, I don’t care about Eddie Nash (whom frightened the hell out of me every time he shook my hand), or what he got up to in the ‘underbelly’ of his Nightclub. I just wish it hadn’t ruined the Starwood’s life. I’d never say anything to disrespect the memory of such an iconic place for thousands of people who feel it it’s a part of their youth.

     

     
    • Bobby 10:59 am on June 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Eddie Nash – definitely the case of a guy whose reputation VERY MUCH preceded him. Granted he was kinda creepy looking but on account of his slight, gangly figure I’d hardly say he was an imposing guy. Are there any recent photos of Nash about? Wonder if he got skinnier (if that is even possible) or instead packed on the pounds after putting that pipe away.

      • John 11:06 am on June 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t know, but he is 80-something. You’re supposed to keep a healthy life to live to a ripe old age. He made it anyways!

        • Jenn 11:49 am on June 18, 2013 Permalink

          I know! It’s shocking!!!!!!!!!! I don’t know if he could get any skinnier but if he did pack on the pounds we would probably not recognize him in that speedo.

      • John 11:51 am on June 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        And Greg Diles lost 100 lbs while in prison for his drug and assault charges. He did not have the Nash genes or longevity and died of liver failure in 95.

    • localarts 11:06 am on June 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Van Halen was discovered at the Starwood in May 1977. Warner Brothers record exec’s were on hand that night. I wonder if Nash made a pack with Dimond Dave and the guys. Remember, the first track on side A of Van Halen 1 is “Runnin with the devil”

      • Jenn 11:49 am on June 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Wow! That’s right!

        • localarts 1:00 pm on June 18, 2013 Permalink

          Yeah, can you imagine an 80+ overweight Nash in speedo’s. I think I might puke!!

      • Bobby 11:10 am on June 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        He’s probably in his speedo’s right now, sitting on the couch in his modest Tarzana condo, notebook on his lap, reading this blog and giggling with pride. C’mod Eddie, post something for us!

        • The Odyssey 8:44 pm on June 21, 2013 Permalink

          The Manager of The Starwood had an affair with Elton John also.

        • Derek 5:24 pm on June 22, 2015 Permalink

          your absolutely right about Nash

    • Angie Fontenot 2:31 pm on January 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      My uncle is (was) Gary Fontenot. I would love to know more about him. An affair with Elton John? WOW

      • John 8:34 am on January 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Angie, yes… Gary was a peripheral player in the Wonderland saga, and knew Eddie Nash quite well. Did you know Gary very well, or was he a distant relative? Lee who worked at the Starwood tells some pretty cool stories here on the blog about Dom Fragomeli, Eddie, big parties, Eddie’s house, etc.

        • Angie Fontenot 8:41 am on January 7, 2014 Permalink

          Yes, I knew him as the coolest Uncle I had. He would come to Louisiana and visit every couple of years and my parents would fly me up to Hollywood for vacations. I remember when I was young (about 12 years old) they took me to the Starwood to see the place. It was unbelievable to my eyes. The stuff I saw in Gary’s office, I can still see it in my mind. When I graduated from high school in 1982 I flew up there and stayed with Gary for two weeks ~ an incredible two weeks. He was so much fun and I miss him very much. Did you know he passed away in Honduras a few years ago? He was living there and he had a nighclub.

        • John 8:49 am on January 7, 2014 Permalink

          Well, all that Lee told me was that he had died in Central America. Lee had nothing but good things to say about Gary. You can read those stories that Lee shared about Gary and the Starwood here:

          https://wonderland1981.wordpress.com/?s=gary+fontenot

        • Angie Fontenot 8:59 am on January 7, 2014 Permalink

          From what I understand, Gary was on the run from the mofia and that is why he moved to Honduras. Before he fled he worked for Merrill Lynch and the word “embezzling” actually came up. In Honduras, Someone shot him one night (attempting to murder him) as he was leaving his club, but he survived. No money was taken from him so it wasn’t robbery. My Dad told me the mofia caught up with him. About a year later a blood clot from the gunshot wound broke free and killed him. Gary’s father who is (was) wealthy was too tight to spend the money to fly his body back to the States for a burial. Supposedly they threw his body on the side of a mountain like trash. I would love to know exactly what went down but I don’t even know where to start. My Dad who is his brother still talks about him all the time. The whole family misses him, he was iconic to all of us and he was so much fun to be around.

    • david Gutiérrez 12:15 am on March 7, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      know gary fontenot very well back from Honduras he was a really nice person i will give angie fontenot more info about him my cell is (615)4031841 Now I live in nashville tennessee

      • Angie 1:07 pm on March 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for reaching out to me. I will give you a call this evening, central time. I’m in Baton Rouge, LA.

    • Joe 4:00 am on April 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      *Van Halen was discovered at Gazzari’s, not the Starwood.

      • localarts 10:14 pm on September 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Not according to EVH. Ted Templeman, Mo Ostin & Marshall Berle went to the Starwood one rainy Monday night in May 1977 and the rest is history! Eddie Van Halen has told that story many times.

    • Terri 8:55 pm on June 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Ed Nash opened Starwood with my uncle Tony Gharemanian, who left Capitol Records to open the club. I remember him discussing plans, asking my dad to draw up some ideas, and progress, etc. Walking into my aunts apartment seeing my uncle asleep on floor wearing what he had on the night nefore. Being 9 years old at the time I didn’t think much of it. I went to Starwood once while in high school, a little in awe then. I dont have anything really to add to the Starwood history other than a little girl listening to stories about progress of “the nightclub”.

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