AlienXnation™ Established 2004

We created a guitar boutique concerned only with guitars of true significance. Each guitar being excellent in its own right. The AlienXnation™ Guitar Boutique is for those of us that can appreciate and express our own individuality. Our menu of instruments is based on a simple reserve of guitars.   Their uniqueness and individuality stands for what we believe in. We know thats what you believe in.

" I am producing guitars that re-ignite that feeling of excitement about the electric guitar. A feeling lost by a generation of sterility. My new models carry-over over an era of individuality "

Our AXN™ Guitars are authentic. So are my intentions. I want every guy to have a renewed passion about being able to play the guitar!

Johnny - AXN™ Guitars

The Hollywood Sunset Strip - Through MY Eyes

The Strip is the name given to the a stretch of Sunset Boulevard that passes through West Hollywood, California USA. Glamour and glitz defined the Sunset Strip during the time of big bands through to the west coast rhythm and blues rage in the 1930s and the 1940s. Later in the 1960s and 1970s the Sunset Strip became a haven for rock-n-roll and an incubator for bands from the era of psychedelic rock.

In the 1980s at the tail end of the prolific punk scene was to begin the historic and epic time of the L.A. Metal Era. Back in 1986-to-1990 rockers filled the streets on a very short stretch of sidewalk between the Whisky-A-Go-Go and Gazzarri's. This was The Strip.

It was the birth of what Hollywood adolescents at the time called "Glam" and was also known as "bubble-gum rock" by the previous generation of LA rockers. Its a California breed of metal and a music genre independent from UK Glam. Now, decades later, many names were attached to Hollywood Glam Rock such as hair-metal, cock-rock, and sleaze.

The short stretch of Sunset Boulevard glorified as "The Strip" was colonized by metal bands coming from all parts of the USA looking for that big break and creating a vibrant scene for hard rock music. The 1980s will forever be remembered as a time when Generation X was in its youth. History displays a time of neon colors and pop-rock . In reality the 1980s was a time when gender-bending transitioned to blue jeans, cowboy boots, rock t-shirts and heavier metal.

Johnny’s Story About The Sunset Strip


People that know me personally don’t consider me to be the shy or modest type of person. Far from it. Although putting old pictures up on this site of myself from 30 years ago definitely makes me quite apprehensive. None the less here they are.

My wife says I’m not absolutely 100% egocentric but that comes with a big smirk from her. That said, there are some things and events that have happened, tangible places in a time, that i believe do deserve my respect. The Sunset Strip and what was going on with that party in the streets of Hollywood California would be one. So I tell this the story through the eyes of the naive kid I was three decades ago..

In the late 1980s, along with countless rockers pursuing the dream, I was lucky enough to experience and absorb information in regards to LA Metal that would have been otherwise unattainable had I not been there on The Sunset Strip. In some respects you could say I didn’t make it out completely unscathed. Either way I did make it out and I’m alive today. Unlike many friends, acquaintances and others that let that lifestyle consume them. Rest their souls.

For me those times in Hollywood when the Sunset Strip was occupied by headbangers and glam rockers is a fond memory. There have been many interpretations in books and movies. Stories that glorify the period told by the likes of the Motleys and the Poisons of the world.

There are many of us that did’t quite attain the level of success that the big names did. Even without fame and fortune the experience itself is something that I can only explain as awesome. All The Strip really was was a number of small rock-n-roll clubs placed very close to eachother. It just so happens that a new type of music was born on those streets. At the time we all believed that the music itself was something so unique that it was quite different from what had come right before.

In itself the clubs and the club owners were usually leftovers or burnouts from the era of The Doors and late 1960s rock. In the 1980s all those old theaters and ancient go-go dancing clubs from the 1930s and beyond were converted to venues for metal bands. It was epic for me at the young age of 20 being in these old buildings that were iconic 60 years before.

The many stories about unknown metal bands walking up and down a street filled with girls, rockers and record labels, and passing out promotional fliers is true. The music scene is nothing like that today. In this instance I don’t believe history will repeat itself as the uniqueness of the time was absolute.

On every Friday and Saturday night during that famous Sunset Strip Era inside those obscure clubs sat industry insiders. Rock Stars and Hollywood actors frequented these places as if these were their second homes. It was the first time I ever saw absolutely beautiful and stunning young girls hanging around old creepy men. Just like you see on some weird B movies. These music moguls or Hollywood movie executives would be held up in small corners of each club at tables marked VIP. If you knew these people or they know who you were they would cover your bar tab or even more. They all would be there to critique the latest talk-of-the-town shock-rock-band all the while sipping designer drinks and eating sub-par cuisine. These old venues that had been there forever and looked like something from a video game of today. The architecture design style clearly showing what was in vogue during the early days of the Hollywood in the 1940 and 50’s.

It seemed like every rock show at The Roxy was labeled a "showcase" where record labels were there to sum up the nights headlining act. The truth is that it could happen for you if your band had the right showcase show at the Roxy and the right bigwig saw your act. All the record companies were courting metal bands from The Strip and making them bigger than life. Giving out record contracts and putting bands on the payroll was what these people did. The word would get out that a band like Kiss was looking for a drummer and the whole town would know about it. This bass player friend auditioned for Ozzy and jammed with Jake E lee for his audition. I thought that was really awesome and underneath I was envious at that time. He didn’t get that gig but he did play later in a popular local band. He still tells that story.

Musicians from all over the USA were rushing to Los Angeles to get in front of the star makers. It literally was happening instantaneous for many a rock and roll group. You could be a broke fool guitar player one minute and next month frickin Circus Magazine cover child.

After every showcase show the occupants of these clubs spilled out into the street. The street was Sunset Boulevard where every guy was in a band ( or looked like it ) and every girl is an aspiring super-model and looked like one. Almost every time people shuffled their way over to the Rainbow Bar and Grill for another cocktail after checking out a band at one of the nearby rock clubs. It made for an all night circus. One filled with youth, energy and excitement. It was a cacophony of personalities. Everyone had a story to tell and usually the stories were laced with a large dose of hope, a good measure of dreams, and a whole bunch of sleaze.

There were other clubs close bye but not on The Strip. One example was The Troubadour which was closer to Pasadena California. For a long while Guns and Roses were basically the house band at the Troubadour way before most anyone even heard the name GNR. In high school we use to ride 7 people in a 1968 Camaro to The Troubadour to be part of that scene. The Troubadour was a great example of a really small intimate club. I feel like there was only ten feet from the front of the stage to the bar stools at the bar there. The sound system sucked there too. Many times Guns and Roses played to a near empty room. Doug Aldrich was there all the time but he was just one of us and one of the many faces. Everybody was in a band. I had a big crush on the blonde drummer chick from an all girl metal band called Feline who always brushed me off because i was younger than her. Feline who later became Hardly Dangerous always seemed to be the opening act for Guns at the Troubadour saturday nights.

Some of my rocker buddies came from back east where the New York club scene rocked your ass off too. They got a big kick out of me because I was of Italian decent but born and raised in Orange County California and i had a California dude accent. Yet, the Hollywood Sunset Strip was the pinnacle. It was the rock-n-roll utopia. If you were selected for stardome by the rock-n-roll gods above it was your garden of eden. There was a whole lot to do on a small one mile stretch of sidewalk.

In the mid 1980s all those famous little boutique rock-n-roll guitar shops were also right there in a row on Sunset boulevard in Hollywood. Back-in-the-day to make a few bucks and for a day job I choose work that didn't pay much but I was surrounded in my addiction… music. I had attended high school in the city of San Dimas California where there was one very famous guitar making company. At that time everyone wanted one of Grover Jacksons creations. After work and it seems like every night, I prowled The Strip.

It really was only about four or five years that LA Glam Metal and The Sunset Strip in Hollywood had the whole worlds attention. I could almost mark the day that the Seattle scene took over. Grunge happened just about the same time we saw the demise of Gazzarri's. Inside of a few months in year 1991 the Strip started to die and I started to see lumberjack flannel and plaid replace leather clothes and vinyl mini skirts. The whole thing was an American culture trip.

I remember when I heard Sound Garden for the first time. I was in this clothes shop on Melrose Blvd that sold vinyl clothes and leathers. It was called Retail Slut. A friend that worked there gave me a Sound Garden demo tape and I was like “hey I like that kinda music”. It sounded really Doors-ey or Iron Butterfly-ish to me at that time. I also remember listening to Nirvana. Some friends turned me on to a demo tape from them a year or two earlier. There were a whole bunch of bands in that Melvins, Skinny Puppy, The Cure style which was more of a college niche thing around LA. But i personally was a huge Siouxie and The Banshees fanatic as was everyone else i knew. I was totally into what was called “Death Rock” bands before anyone penned the name “Goth”. I remember this girl I dated turning me on to Nine Inch Nails and i liked it a lot. But Glam Shock Rock was my thing 100%. No one knew what was about to come.

There were a lot of good times. I did some very awesome live shows. That said, I wanted it and thought I deserved success but never "made it". And, like a lot of the LA rockers, when The Strip died I went to college, worked a day job and found my place in another career called advertising. Which is a pretty cool story of business success on its own merits.

As glam as I was in that time of the 1980s, today I know I lucked out. LA musicians just never imagined the grunge scene prevailing like it did. I met my wife at the age of 23. I married this extremely beautiful, size three, young blonde and had a family. Called it quits. I knew when i met her she was everything I ever dreamed about, plus some, and not part of That Scene. She pulled me out. We had our first child in 1992 and didn’t even look back to that time until recently.

We all were sure the mystique of Hollywood Glam Metal music and its appeal would live on and live on. A philosopher once said “All good things must come to an end” ...and end it did.  Some even seek to persuade that the excesses and extremes of the LA Glam Metal genre should have ended a decade before. Shouldn’t we all have known it?

From New York to the UK, from Japan to Europe in the 80s the youth felt like rock stars. I remember clearly the day Steve Clark from Def Leppard died. I was on The Strip at a a club called Red Light District that night and everyone was talking about it and mourning the loss. It was like the whole Sunset Strip was depressed. That day puts a marker in time for me. It would be the last time I’d play a show for many many moons.

The decadence of the Sunset Strip was historic. The LA Metal scene influenced a generation. Waist length hair and extreme clothes, in that time rockers and musicians around the world didn't just look the part and dress the part, we lived it. But now its called a fad. There are new names for that music. Names like hair metal.

Back in the hey day. When The Strip was roaring you might have found me and metal heads in Hollywood California at The Whisky-A-Go-Go, for a time Coconut Teaser, Gazzarris or prowling around The Famous Cathouse. I can’t forget those eclectic places and underground clubs just off The Strip. Venues such as The Scream which could have been compared to a giant Rave today. The Scream was a sort-of Rave for rockers with multiple stages on different levels of the building. Three live bands could be on at the same time and there were like 5 big bar rooms all held inside of a giant turn of the century hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The line around the outside to get in seemed like it went for miles.

The Long Beach arena was also hot spot on any certain night. I met Ozzy Osbourne for the first time backstage there and he had his two little baby kids riding on his shoulders. That should put a time signature on this story. Famous rock stars were actually acquaintances to me but for whatever reason hanging out with Ozzy was a really big deal. Ozzy was the first to tell me that George Lynch was forming a new band called Lynch Mob and that they were really good. He also told me he was not drinking anymore so leave the beer I had over where the food was served in the backstage area.

Another Long Beach Arena story or rant I always tell people is how I was hanging out with this drummer I think this dude from Lita Ford’s band. It was New Years eve night 1990. Him and I are bullshitting about how I just broke up with this chick and I was hurting. I wish i could remember this drummers name. Any way, in comes this guys girlfriend and she walks up to his drum kit on the stage riser where we are standing just before he starts the Lita Ford set. Well, his girlfriend is drop dead gorgeous and not dressed like a slut like all the others. She loves him to death I could totally see on her face. Well it was like time stopped for me then went into slow motion. This girl is younger than me by about 5-6 years? I think to myself… It wasn’t her beauty that stopped time. I had a revelation… I should stop dating chicks my age ( LOL I was the ripe old age of 23 ) and start looking for a younger chick. Or… “ I would give younger chicks a chance”… at least that is the way i thought it in my own full-of-myself sort of way. Which i did. This led to me finding my wife to be and only 5 months later. All thanks to this dude from the Lita Ford band.

Backstage at The Long Beach Arena was always a blast. Yet, the intimate club scene of The Sunset Strip in its peak period and the city of Hollywood itself had a magical feeling about it. After every show the city never slept. The party just moved. Places like Rock N Roll Denny’s Restaurant on Sunset or The Rainbow Bar and Grill were always packed with vampires, rockstars and starlets at the end of a Saturday night gig. Inevitably girls and guys were out of control and unashamed. Myself included.

There were a few cool bars in big hotels where all the famous rockers hung out just on the border of Beverly Hills. When my wife to be and i first met in mid 1990 I took her out to a bunch of record label launch parties at those hotels. Once us two were at an industry party for this singer named Gerardo whom had an MTV hit at the time. We hung out with Gerardo’s music people and various famous rockers including Gunnar and Mathew Nelson, Ricky Nelsons sons ( at the time of the Nelson’s MTV hit Can’t Live Without You ). They both proceeded to try to pick up on my chick. Needless to say Gunnar and Mathew were still cool and respectful letting me know what a lucky man I was. To my good fortune she showed no interest in anyone but me.

Even Mike Tramp from White Lion tried something with my girl once but I looked at it then as “oh well i don’t blame the guy for trying. She is hot” and “I’m the shit anyway” even then she didn’t give Mike the time of day. That was my fault because i spent all that night kissing Vito Bratta’s ass talking guitar and left my girl unoccupied. Maybe that whole lifestyle is one of the reasons why I kinda started fading out of the scene. After a sort of small tour opening up for a big name rock band the breakup of my own band got me very discouraged. But in retrospect, hey 1990, grunge was coming, it was a good time to get discouraged with glam rock. Hindsite is 20/20!

Moving on with this rant of mine, in many of the high priced homes overlooking the city Hollywood's High Rollers, Movie Executives and Rock Stars who already had success kept the drinks and whatever else flowing to ensure they got their piece of cherry pie. It was routine that people moved from The Strip right up the road to someones pad for an afterparty with a pool, a spa, and bedrooms with views of the Hollywood hills. Being the young 20 something kid that I was that small stretch of the Sunset Boulevard party between a few live music venues and the whole Hollywood big city allure was sheer unforgettable heavy metal excitement.

Now as an older dude some details have faded. But once in a while I’ll remember a face. I will remember just a feeling I had, or a circumstance that happened and I’ll say to my self “no one will believe that, its to awesome” or “how the hell did I pull -—- off” or “what the fuck was I thinking? Was I stupid?” and the answer is… stupid is as stupid does.

But I’d never trade any of that. Nor do I wish it didn’t happen no matter the costs. It makes my youth feel really special. Those experiences are part of who i am. If things today weren’t so good I might wish myself back there again. Maybe my dad was right then when he said take off the lipstick and makeup, get a haircut and get a f_ing real job.

Oddly enough, because of my age today and whats going on around me right now in this minute, writing these stories down gives me some sort of warm fuzzy feeling. In some weird way its euphoric trying my memory and penciling these tales down. But more often than not lately I’ll think to myself “ I glad my kids don’t do that kind of shit”.

LOL .. In closing, just like you, we had a lot of great times and have many great stories about our youth that we actually lived to tell. Stories of big hair, hot chicks, and 1980s Metal. Now nearly thirty years later all of us here that are part of The AlienXnation™ Team draw upon my experiences and information to create a guitar experience true to the memory of Hollywood Glam Metal.

I make our AXN™ Guitars and my expertise at this stuff available to you in my store. My customers include notable rock stars, regular hard working dudes, guitar collectors and everyday rock-n-roll rebels. My instruments have found their home with some of the most creative people nearly everywhere on the planet. People just like you.

Our AXN™ Guitars are authentic. So are my intentions. I want every guy, and every girl, to have a renewed feeling of excitement about being able to play the guitar! Also I want everyone to let their mind relax by enjoying playing a truly fun instrument!- Johnny - AXN™ Guitars

The AlienXnation™ Team - The AlienXnation™ Locations

The AlienXnation™ Team is a dedicated group of friends. An ex-rocker, a guitar luthier, and a seasoned business owner and accountant. Each team member has spent over 30 years either performing music, building guitars while searching  the world for ultra-playable guitars, collecting vintage guitars or a combination thereof. All three boasting a musical resume of there own.

We now have multiple warehouse and manufacturing locations in both California and Arizona. We devoted all our efforts to the niche markets that we now operate within. We have gained notoriety worldwide because of our knowledge base which is centered around vintage 1980s guitars and guitar manufacturing. In 2010 we stopped foot traffic at our small guitar shop located in The Big Bear Village, Big Bear California and it was there that we began production of our AXN™ Hand Crafted Guitars. We now offer our unique items to customers around the globe through our various internet stores.

The AlienXnation™ Boutique is an Online-Only music store. We have over 1000 internet transactions and proudly retain an online reputation for integrity, honesty and accurate product descriptions. When visiting The AlienXnation™ Boutique you will get the full guitar experience — not only with our diverse taste in instruments, but with great examples of self indulgent guitars created for self indulgent individuals.

alienxnation axn guitars address location