Scene: BEL AIR. Vibrato Grill Jazz, with Eden Alpert and Sally Colon-Petree.
Sally: We are sitting in your restaurant that I’ve never been in, and it’s fantastic. It’s beautiful, it’s artistic. Your dad is also an artist, and these are his paintings?
Eden: Right. It’s called Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill & Jazz. It’s his vision, his dream. It’s his restaurant but we’re partners.
Tell us about growing up in Beverly Hills.
A lot of people think it was a lot like 90210, the show – the original show back in the day with Tori Spelling. It’s very different. I would have to say not the norm. It’s so different from anywhere else because there are a lot of celebrities around, there are a lot of children of celebrities around. It’s a faster-paced life, I think. I’m not sure about today, but back then, it was very fast-paced. You grew up much quicker. You saw a lot more.
Did you grow up with celebrity friends?
I did a little bit. Martina Jones, Quincy’s daughter. I did People Magazine with children of celebrities with Griffin O’Neal back in the day, Stacey Schacter. There were Ryan Cassidy, Shirley Jones’ son with Jason Gould and Sonny and Cher’s daughter Chastity, now son “Chaz”.
As a little girl, did you ever go on tour with your dad? Did you get to do the fun stuff?
I did. I went to Canada on tour with him for a little bit. I don’t have a lot of memories as a teen. It was more of when I was 12, I think it was a little bit easier to tour with him. But, yeah, I went on tour a few times, and it was pretty awesome. I was going to concerts very, very young – seeing The Police and The Go-Go’s. It was fun. Shaun Cassidy was my first concert.
Shaun Cassidy. Did you have the posters on your wall?
I had the jacket. I don’t think I still have it, but it was silk. You know, it was that fake shiny material that said Shaun Cassidy.
Do you ever get tempted when there’s like somebody singing up here and they’re singing your favorite song for you to just go, “Let me have that mic and let me sing a little?”
No, but I’ll sing with people. Music is my world and it moves me, and music speaks volumes to me. Every song that I love has a different meaning some place in my life, so I’m big on music. I get really emotional when I hear certain songs. One of the most famous songs my dad did – and I don’t know what year it was that it became famous – it was originally written for Dionne Warwick. It was called, You See This Girl, This Girl’s in Love With You, and it was written by Burt Bacharach. And then my dad did it, and it became a huge hit. You See This Guy, This Guy’s in Love With You. And that’s my favorite song. And when someone like Steve Tyrell sings it, I just get really emotional. I’m probably in the best place in my life I’ve ever been in, and I had a relationship that broke me. I think it was maybe my dad not being around that much, and not in a negative way, he just was busy. I had a lot of love around me, and who’s to say what’s enough love if you don’t love yourself? It’s been important as a single mother of a young girl – who’s now a beautiful young woman, going through her own stuff – teaching her that you don’t need to rely on a man. But we all want to be loved. You want to have a loving relationship at some point in your life, but you want to be independent and self-reliant and not say things like, “You better marry somebody rich”. Show them good examples.
No matter how great you think your life was, there’s something that you learn from a parent, that they learned from a parent, that they didn’t. I’m kind of glad of my parents’ generation. It’s a different generation now. Upbringing is so different. There’s so much more communication. You’re seen and you’re heard and you’re respected, I believe, as a child. My era wasn’t raised like that.
Yes, I’ve learned that kids are smarter at a younger age. I don’t really know why it’s like that. Social media, I think – the Internet helps kids to learn quicker. Your voice is heard now and people are learning from you.
Life is a lesson. My daughter got – as she says – “dumped,” and it was the end of the world.
It’s the end of the world until the next guy comes along and then the world’s back again.
Exactly. And if you can walk though the fire and come through it. People say to me, “Wow! Your dad is who he is, and he is a huge philanthropist. Huge, and a lot of people know it.
I looked your dad up, and he is in the top ten donors.
A couple of years ago, CNN named him as number two over Oprah. So that’s a big weight – not a weight, but people hear about it in the news. Things like, donating the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA. And so, odd things happen to me, and they are like, “How are you so normal?” Well, you make a choice to let your past define you, or you be your own person. And I think that’s a lot of what these processes have helped me to learn. That I can let what some may say is a difficult life, others may say privileged. They don’t know the depth of that. Just because you come from maybe more money or something, doesn’t mean that your life was better than others.
You’re an inspiration for people, I’m sure. So we’re here at your restaurant, tell us about you and your daily life?
We’re in our 11th year right now. The first year, when we opened, I started literally as a hostess here because it took two years to build the restaurant. Everything is hands-on. When you look at the wood, the way the wood’s placed, the way these pods are placed, which were custom-made in New Orleans, it’s all for sound. Because I love talking to people, and I love sharing this place. He built this place to give something back because there really wasn’t that old school kind of New York supper club vibe. Somewhere you could eat really good food, hear really good music. So six months into it, on my birthday, he said, “I’d like to make you a partner.”
Who were some of the most famous people that have played here?
Well, my dad [laughs]. Steve Tyrell. Gene Simmons has been up on stage performing. Tom Jones has gotten up on stage and performed. Stevie Wonder, four times.
Are these people who have said they’re going to be here or they just show up and you’re like, “Get up there and sing.”
No, they just get up and sing…
So you can’t just call and say, “Stevie’s coming tomorrow?” Call me because I love Stevie Wonder.
If I knew Stevie was coming, I would most likely call you because I would know that he’d probably get up on stage. When he feels the vibe, he wants to get up. When Gene got up, he may have known he was going to do it that night. Tom Jones, I’ve been trying to get up on stage. He’s a regular here. Billy Dee Williams is a regular too. There really isn’t anyone else, maybe except for Oprah, who I would want to be here. Seth MacFarlane performs here two or three times a year. He’ll be here at the end of May and he’ll sell it out. He plays with an 18-piece band.
How do you accommodate that?
I don’t think they remove the piano. They kind of work around the piano. It’s all his session players that do all of his shows, and we remove this first row of tables. And it’s a fun night. He’s a crooner. He fills the room. It’s a $50 ticket. It’s not for him. It pays the guys, and it’s not about making money up here. It’s really just about having a stage, a venue, that doesn’t exist with a sound system like this.
What about the younger crooners like the Harry Connick, Jr., and Michael Bublé?
They haven’t been in here. I don’t know if Harry’s been in here. I know I was real close to getting Bublé in here. There have been a lot of them in here just visiting. We did the Frozen party and Idina Menzel performed.
It sounds like you’re having a happy time.
“Everyone has a story, it’s just painted in another color.” Somebody gave me that quote years ago. And I live by that. Everyone just has a different story. It is what it is, but you get to redefine who you are and that’s your choice. So I’ve made a choice to just be happy, present, fun. I’m just me. I am who I am.