'Electric Daisy' premiere near-riot recalls 1990 Depeche Mode chaos
For some longtime Angelenos, Wednesday's near-riot on Hollywood Boulevard at the "Electric Daisy Carnival Experience" movie premiere was a little bit of déjà vu.
The same thing happened in March 1990 when British rock group Depeche Mode came to the Wherehouse record store for a widely publicized signing of its latest album, "Violator." Thousands of fans lined up in front of the record store on La Cienega Boulevard hours in advance, forming a 15-block line that snaked through area neighborhoods.
The crowd was relatively well-behaved, Los Angeles police said -– until the band arrived.
"Everybody was waiting, and then when the time came, everybody pushed forward," Marisol Argueta, then 14, told The Times. "They kept on shoving. It was pretty scary. Short people couldn't breathe. People were screaming, and everybody was sweating."
Fans rushed the record store, trying to get a glimpse of the band. Some climbed trees to get a better look. Others tried to push through Wherehouse's back door.
"The band was too furiously trying to sign autographs to be aware of the tumult outside, but I looked around and saw oceans of people leaning on the window," Paul Wasserman, the group's publicist, told The Times. "Every time I got near the window they were pounding, asking me to help them get in. I thought, 'This is crazy, just like the old days.' "
Just an hour after Depeche Mode arrived, police asked the group to leave because the safety of the fans were at risk. A KROQ deejay said the group was disappointed, but agreed to sneak out the back door.
All in all, seven people were injured in the melee, which cost the city an estimated $25,000 to calm the crowd.
Wherehouse officials later repaid the city for the costs, and admitted they were unprepared for the huge crowd. The number of fans that turned out for Depeche Mode was nearly double the amount they had seen at any other record signing in store history, they said.
-- Kate Mather
Photo: Depeche Mode. Credit: Carolyn Cole / L.A. Times