viper room mark mcgrath

Mark McGrath Reminisces About the Dark Side of the Viper Room

(“Viper Room” by Francisco Antunes is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

Vice TV struck gold with Dark Side of the Ring, its gritty docuseries on pro wrestling, and it has now become a franchise with Dark Side of the 90s hosted by Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath. The second episode was on the infamous club The Viper Room, which was owned by Johnny Depp and became an escape for the Hollywood elite and rock stars. It wound up being personal subject matter for McGrath, who met and proposed to his wife in the club.

RELATED: Interview: Mark McGrath Talks Dark Side of the 90s

“[The episode on the Viper Room] couldn’t have been more personal,” McGrath admitted to ComingSoon. “In all the paparazzi footage that you’re going to see and there’s a ton of, you can see my elbow and outfit. You know what I mean? Like if you waited two more seconds on the edit, you’d see me pop in. All my friends are in there. I remember Adam Duritz bartending there. I met my girlfriend there, who is now my wife, like you mentioned. In fact, I went back to The Viper Room and asked her to propose there. So The Viper Room has so many connections for me. It was before Sugar Ray fame. It was trying to sneak in and begging the doorman to get in. Then that was the first place I went when we got a little fans because being able to walk into the room as a legitimate “success story” was quite a thrill. I’ve spent many a night there. Some I don’t remember, some I do remember, but it felt like I was kinda going through my own 90s yearbook ironically, when I was narrating that episode in particular. That one really, really got to me.”

Despite talking about people he personally knows, McGrath doesn’t find it awkward because of the professionalism behind Dark Side of the 90s.

“There’s zero tabloid energy to the Dark Side episodes,” McGrath explained. “They are so well researched. I mean, Robin Antin, who’s a good friend of mine, started the Pussycat Dolls at The Viper Room. She’s a huge part of the episode of The Viper Room. My best friend was going out with her at the time when she was putting the costumes together for The Viper Room. I remember Adam Duritz bartending, like I mentioned earlier. Randall Slavin, who did like all the iconic photographs that you see still today that came from The Viper Room, he’s a huge part and he’s so eloquent in the way he kinda tells his story. So it’s just such a powerful look at The Viper Room. Not only that, you could see the paparazzi starting to develop from The Viper Room. From the energy, because it was a safe place for celebrities to go, but because of that, there’s a lot of what became the paparazzi hanging outside. So I think it’s the first time you really have footage of a club, but people going in and out and all kinds of states. So it was fascinating.”

New episodes of Dark Side of the 90s premiere every Thursday at 10 p.m. on Vice TV.


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