The Cathouse was a club in Hollywood Ca. that happened on Tuesday nights and Tuesday nights only. It was the brain child of Riki Rachtman and Taime Downe. Riki has gone on to host Headbangers Ball on MTV and a whole slew of radio shows. That includes the one he’s being doing now for the better part of a decade called Racing Rocks. Taime was at the time of the birth of the Cathouse, 29 years ago and still is the lead singer for Faster Pussycat. They wanted the Cathouse to be a place to go and hang out.
The Cathouse soon became the IT place to be in Hollywood. The idea was brilliant. The sunset strip was mobbed with thousands of people from Thursday to Sunday nights. Monday was a needed night off to recover. Wednesday was the last chance to get a bit of rest before the weekend started all over again. For the hundreds of bands that were vying for the coveted weekend slots at the Whisky A Go-Go, The Roxy, Gazzarri’s, or the Troubadour, Mon-Wed was time to rehearse. A place was needed to fill the gap. To get a drink, to find the girl, (or guy), just to have some fun. Fun is exactly what the Cathouse was all about.
The bands of the day and some of the big bands of the day also all played the Cathouse stage. You could always find Riki either on stage bringing on those bands, or out front greeting everyone coming in the door.
The legend of the Cathouse lives on through the stories and memories of everyone who ever walked through the door and up those stairs. It truly was the Disneyland of Debauchery. More than once, while walking around the club, I’d see so and so rock star with some girl and wait…is she naked? That was the Cathouse.
Riki and Taime closed the doors years ago. Mirroring the music scene, when the fun went out of rock and roll. They went their separate ways, Taime still singing for Faster Pussycat and a new band called the Newlydeads. Riki on to his many ventures. The Cathouse stories kept getting passed around. The legend kept growing. The questions to them both kept coming. You ever going to reopen the Cathouse?
Sadly, the scene in Hollywood, is barely a silhouette of what it used to be. Going to Hollywood, the Cathouse, the Strip used to be a way of life. Now it’s an appointment made on the calendar because a national act is rolling through town. The strip itself is being replaced hotels, luxury apartments, and more T.J. McChucklenuts themed restaurants. There’s no room good old American sleaze. It’s being squeezed out.
Riki and Taime decided to take the Cathouse to Orange County, Irvine Meadows Amphitheater for one day and night of music and fun. There were two stages, the main stage in the amphitheater itself and a second smaller stage set in the concourse area with vendors all around. The doors opened at 1pm with the first band Swamphammer going on the main stage at 2:15. That stage was a revolving circle with a half wall behind the drums. So while one band was playing, the next band was loading in behind the wall. When the first band finished the stage turned 180 degrees and the next band was on. No delays. The effect was wall to wall music all day long. A total of 16 bands played the main stage. Nonstop from 2:15 until 11:30. Out on the second stage, ten more band were playing with a quick 10 minutes to get off and get set up. With the exceptions of Swamphammer and the second stage openers, The Aviators, who are bands that won a battle of the bands contest to get on the bill, every single band had at least one and in most cases way more than that, hits on the radio and or MTV.
With that much going on, it was impossible to see every band. It seemed as if, Cathouse Live was the Super Bowl for these bands. Every band that I saw was on top of their game. A bad show at this gig was going to stand out like a sore thumb.
Some of the highlights were: Tuff, a quintessential, sunset strip band. They passed out flyers with the best of them. Singer Stevie Rachelle, who is also the mastermind of Metalsludge.tv, knows how to take what he does seriously but not himself too seriously. Their set was fun and funny.
Little Caesar: Singer Ron Young can deliver. He always had a raspy soulful voice. It’s gotten better with age. The band was incredibly tight. Great to see them making new music.
Faster Pussycat: Complete with pole dancers, the band rocked. As the set progressed, more and more of the past members kept coming out on stage. Taime was with his people. By the time that last two songs hit, there were eight Pussycats on stage, Taime joked he felt like he was in Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Tom Keifer: Out and out, he stole the show. The Cinderella front man and guitarist, who has battled throat problems. Eight surgeries!! Seemed like a man a mission to prove he was just fine. To quote him, “He screamed is heart out.” There was a great acoustic rendition of Don’t Know What You Got (Til it’s Gone) with just him and his wife, Savannah. Then a version of A Little Help From My Friends that brought the house down.
The show ended with an all-star jam that included Gilby Clarke form Guns N Roses, Sebatian Bach from Skid Row, and Ace Frehely doing the Kiss classic Duece.
The Cathouse might not be coming back to Hollywood on Tuesday nights, but for one hot day and night it felt like going back in time. Next year is the 30th anniversary of the Cathouse. I’m sure Riki and Taime are scheming already.