Hair metal memories
Local PR pro reminisces on Vegas rock connections
Thu, Jul 5, 2012 (midnight)
Photo: Justin M. Bowen
Laura Herlovich, founder and owner of local public-relations agency PR Plus, worked with various venues and promoters in the late ’80s and early ’90s to help bring hard rock acts to town when a lot of tours didn’t stop in Las Vegas. She found dancing girls for a Def Leppard show, tracked down a worthy tennis opponent for Klaus Meine of Scorpions and once had Dee Snider of Twisted Sister call her up and sing opera. Here she remembers three of her most memorable experiences with big-name ’80s rockers.
Guns N’ Roses
"Axl Rose and Guns N’ Roses were playing here, I want to say it was maybe ’92, and it was over Super Bowl weekend. And they were like the hugest band ever. At that time, Axl was known for going on two or three hours late. Lots of issues. It was not long after he had some of his personal demons and that kind of stuff. So they were coming in, and the band’s manager put me in touch with the band’s travel agent. And she said, 'Hey, I’ll split my commission with you if you can help me get these rooms booked. It’s Super Bowl weekend. I don’t know what’s going to happen.'
By the end of it, by the time they got here, we actually had over 100 rooms booked for them. We had suites at the Mirage, I believe it was, for the band. Axl ended up not wanting to be there. We actually booked an old area behind the Aladdin’s old [Theatre for the Performing Arts] that was four suites connected and made a circle around a pool. And we put Axl and all of his people there, which included his assistant, his psychic. Whoever Axl traveled with, that’s who took up those eight bedrooms back there.
And I remember being petrified at what damage might be done to that room. But that’s what we ended up doing, and we had them as far out as Sam’s Town, some of their other entourage that came in. Because again, it was Super Bowl weekend, and while they were the biggest rock and roll band in the world at the time, Vegas didn’t care about that. They cared about their high rollers."
"The way I ended up working with Bon Jovi was back actually during Slippery When Wet, and it was in ’86 into ’87. I was doing PR for the Sahara at the time. The owner’s daughter was 17 or 18, and she was going to college in LA, and she fell in love with this guy named Jon Bon Jovi. Now my idea of a good act at that time was the Commodores and Lionel Richie. That’s what I thought good music was. Had never heard Bon Jovi, really didn’t like heavy rock and roll. To me, that was heavy. Now I don’t consider it heavy at all. And she sent me a picture out of one of the, like, Teen Beat magazines or one of the metal magazines, of this guy, because she wanted to meet him, and she wanted me to see what he looked like.
And so I called my sales rep at KOMP, who was always trying to do business at the Sahara, and I said, 'I need to get this girl tickets for Bon Jovi.' She hooked me up with the promoter of the concert, and he turned me on to the band’s manager, and the band ended up staying at the Sahara. And here I am with this 18-year-old girl and her 18-year-old best friend, and we went to the show. We comped them all their rooms at the Sahara, because we wanted her to be able to meet the band. We got over to the venue, she has four tickets, the radio station gave me two tickets, and I really felt like I kind of needed to be there as her chaperone.
After the show they sat us in the Thomas & Mack while the guys were cleaning up. There must have been like 100 people sitting there. They all had backstage passes of some kind. And the guy we’d been dealing with came walking across this empty arena floor, and motioned us down, out of these 100 people sitting there. And we walked down the stairs, and I remember thinking, 'I hope this goes well for her, or I have totally lost my job tomorrow.' Because it finally dawned on me, this could go really wrong and her feelings could get hurt.
We walked back there. There was all of Bon Jovi. One of them maybe was smoking a cigarette. One of them might have been drinking a beer. Other than that, I remember they were drinking Mello Yello. They were very sweaty. Their hair was in their faces. They couldn’t have been nicer. And they looked at us and they said, 'We want to go gamble.' And I said, 'Okay, let’s go to the Sahara.' They never met one of those people at their meet-and-greet. We walked out the back door with the band, took them to the Sahara. They gambled all night. She hung out behind them. And she would not let me go home. The sun came up. She would not let me go home until we had taken them to their plane."
"I met Steven Tyler backstage at Thomas & Mack. They were doing a show, and I actually was taking brownies back from the Hard Rock, because at the time the Hard Rock Café, before the hotel, had the best brownies ever, and I was actually taking them to the promoter. And as I walked down that back aisle way, Steven Tyler walked up to me and kind of caught step with me. And they were in a pink bakery box, and he goes, 'So what’s in the box?'
And I knew they were on a drug-free tour at that particular time. And I said, 'Oh, there’s some brownies, but you know it’s a drug-free tour, so there’s nothing special in there.' He was very nice, and he goes, 'Can I try one?' I said, 'Sure.' And I opened the box up, and he took a bite out of one of them. He goes, 'You’ve gotta give them to the rest of the guys!' He literally dragged me and the box into the dressing room where I met all of Aerosmith and gave them brownies."