So you want to know the history
of the Cathouse do you.?
Part 1 - 1986 will be on this website
on Wednesday. In the mean time…….
What you are about to read is a watered down, vanilla,
safe version of what the CATHOUSE really was. It is also all I can
It was 1986, 4 years before I hosted Headbangers
Ball on MTV or began to work on the radio. With no money I persuaded
a bar to let me turn it into a dance club that would only play
rock n roll. I wanted a place my friends could hang out at and
my roomate Taime and I could meet a few new girls that would be
ok. Yeah lame but Im honest. The club said yes and the Cathouse
The Cathouse was opened in 1986 in Hollywood I threw some vintage
burlesque videos on the wall and asked Taime Downe (from Faster
Pussycat) if he could help get the word out. I found Joseph Brooks
of Vinyl Fetish fame and he became the DJ with his blend of 80's
rock 70's glam and punk a mood was set. The club at that time
was held at an old Disco on La Cienega. The club was a wreck.
It was a risk just walking up the stairs but once up the stairs
you found yourself in a Shangra la's of Decadence. The original
idea was to just have a DJ.
The GRAND OPENING........sucked. However Lita
Ford puked in the bathroom!
it going to crowds of about 70-80. Every Tuesday night the crowds
got a little bigger. Among that small crowd was Guns
n Roses, Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Ted Nugent and more. So a bunch
of girls heard that the bands were hanging out at the Cathouse so
the woman began to show up actually outnumbering men. When that got
around more bands started showing up....then some friends asked if
they could play at the club for their EP record release party...
I said yes. That band was called Guns n Roses. Then Taimes band Faster
Pussycat wanted to play that night and so did LA GUNS and Jetboy!
My first live performance at the Cathouse and those 4 bands played.
Taime started focusing on his band and all I had was the Cathouse.
With its reputation more and more bands wanted to play this so called
rock dance. It
was getting out of hand. The Cathouse became the cool place to go.
Axl would mention the club in interviews. Faster Pussycat recorded
a song called Cathouse. Then media picked up on our little club LA
TIMES did a cover story called GUNS N ROSES and the CATHOUSE SCENE
, Would you believe even NEWSWEEK wrote about the club. Many of the
local bands were now selling millions of records but kept on playing
at the Cathouse. Soon other bands asked to play here. Alice in Chains,
Stone Temple Pilots, Motorhead, Megadeth, Alice Cooper, Danzig, Pearl
Jam, Black Crowes, Junkyard, Primus, LA Guns, White Zombie, ICE T,
Suicidal Tendencies, Pantera the list goes on and on.
For some reason we always had more
women than men at the club. Believe it or not fashion magazines
saw the women in their decadent attire and thought we were starting
a worldwide trend. The Cathouse was featured in Women's Wear Daily
and California Apparel News.
When the movie the "Decline of Western Civilization 2 - the
Metal Years" wanted to capture the rock scene they did a whole
segment on the Cathouse. BAM. More media attention. We also had
a rule of not letting anyone take pictures in the club. That way
everyone could feel at ease and not worry about it in the paper
the next day. Does anyone remember the night Axl chased David Bowie
down the street? How about Malcolm Forbes showing up on a Harley
or Christina Applegate working coatcheck or Slash falling down
the stairs taking a fake tree with him while he was wearing a Cathouse
security shirt or how about Depeche Mode going to the Cathouse
when the instore they had planned turned into a riot. They knew
nobody would bug them at the Cathouse.
Needless to say the CATHOUSE truly became a part of rock history.
The funny thing is the bands that played at the Cathouse are only
a small part of what made Riki Rachtman's World Famous Cathouse...World