The Cathay De Grande: Moving On

All good things come to an end and our little set up at The Cathay stopped working. Things went down, bad things went down.

For instance, The Clash had played at The Hollywood Palladium and it was Sold Out. John of Circle One came over to The Cathay and started mustering some people to rush the front doors of The Palladium. So we all followed him over to Sunset Blvd in front of the doors of The Hollywood Palladium and waited. John Macias organized everyone on Sunset to get ready to rush the doors as soon as The Clash played White Riot.

And that’s just what we did, someone pried the doors open with a screwdriver and we all rushed in when The Clash played White Riot.

Security scrambled to stop all of us but there were so many of us we just mowed then down as we rushed in.

They closed the show down and The Cops arrived and started wacking people not moving out of the area fast enough. Skirmishes broke out all around the Palladium. People would throw bottles at the cops and then run like hell when the Cops advanced.

Things like this really brought the heat down on the Punk Scene. Violence was getting worse, not better. It was all over the night time news and the City began to take a stance against Punk Rock and the Night Clubs that had the shows.

The alley way of the house behind The Cathay on Vista Del Mar where everyone partied was filled with beer bottles, trash and graffiti which we knew would be trouble for us if we didn’t do something. So we actually went back there and cleaned it up. We started telling the dummies that would go back there to party to take their shit with them after they were done so we could continue to party back there. We tried to avert the problem but the property owners found out and filed a complaint with the city. The party was over.

Confrontations with the Cops became more frequent around The Cathay as the younger kids that began to fill the scene would typically party in the streets, alley ways and businesses surrounding the club. They didnt realize what they were doing to the local businesses in the area by leaving their trash and graffiti all over the place but those businesses complained and the cops began to crack down.

We got word from Alex that it was time to move on because he heard the cops were looking for us. I’m not exactly sure what specific incident they were investigating us for but when you’re given a warning of your possible legal demise it’s best to listen and keep moving.

We moved to The Fetish Club located at 6525 Sunset Blvd and began operating along Shrader Blvd and Sunset Blvd.

MMC

Some friends of mine, Lurch and John D. were working at Orange Julius in the Topanga Plaza Mall in the Valley.

One day, the owners of Orange Julius hired Jay Bentley of Bad Religion to work there. So myself and a lot of friends who hung out at the mall got to hang out with Jay when he’d be working, pretty cool.

We’d hang around and smoke cigarettes and sell shitty speed and shit. Sometimes we’d play games on unsuspecting people… things like attaching a fishing line to a dollar bill. Then when some broke ass old man would try to pick it up we’d give it a yank! This would really piss some people off and it was a lot of fun for us.

With all of our shenanigans and silly hijinks on display before him, Jay Bentley would sometimes dare us to do something outrageous and generally annoying to the local public in attendance. It was a lot of fun!

One day he suggested that we all start a gang and call it “The Mickey Mouse Club.” He sold it to us like this…

You see, you can paint a Mickey Mouse on your leathers (we all wore the perfecto leather jacket at the time) and then when someone says something smart about it you guys can just beat their asses.

Well, it took all of about 2 weeks and next thing ya know Lurch, James R., John D. and myself assembled in James R’s living room while Lurch painted a Mickey Mouse on each of our leathers.

And with that a new gang began in the valley… Just like that.

Lurch, John D. and I all joined The Lads shortly after this but James R. remained and MMC grew over time.

Years later I’d see their tags on a wall somewhere in the valley and smile and laugh knowingly.

M I C-see ya real soon!

K E Y-why because we’re here to beat your ass, that’s why…lol

M…..O….U….S….E ! ! !

Lads One

The Lads were started in 1980 by a bunch of Hollywood Punk Rockers.

In the picture above you can see what the very beginning of the Lads looked like.

And to answer the big question,yes the gang hung around the band Bad Religion and vise-versa. They were our band.

Being a little kid at the time I was in awe of the gang and the band.

I loved Bad Religion so seeing them hang out with The Lads like they did was super cool!

These people were my role models.

From that time in 1980 at the age of 14 when I got to hang out in the studio with Bad Religion and The Lads I just wanted to know more about these guys.

I’d go to shows and see them roll into the club in numbers. There was always a buzz around them. They had it going on, the chicks loved em and the guys feared them.

Lads members would roadie and do Security for the band when they’d play. It was a real scene!

Ok, so here’s the deal. I was apart of The Lads that existed from 1980 to 1985.

After 85 there was a parting of friendships and a split within the club. The Original club members all went their own direction. Punk was dying and people started growing up and doing their own thing. The Lads, the original set never really got together much after that.

The fight between the founding members ended up with Alex as the head of a new version of the Lads.

At about that same time, certain members struck out “on their own” using the name The Lads. Alex personally acknowledged to me that our friend Neal had asked him if he could recruit new guys. Alex said yes, assuming he would have approval over all new members. But when the introduction time came… Our friend Neal had already admitted the new guys into the club.

So sets like The South Side Lads were the first to set out on their own under the leadership of an Original Lad, a friend of mine, Neal. You might remember them from Fenders Ballroom but it closed in 89, because the venues that supported the Punk Rock scene Died. The night clubs that had punk shows all received pressure by the City and the insurance industry to close or change their musical format. Punk was too much of a liability. Business and Community leaders weren’t having it anymore.

All sorts of people claim to be apart of The Lads now. But all the Original guys know who was in The Original Lads back in the day.

The new thing was a different thing from the original thing. In stead of everyone having a stake in things, Alex began making whatever rules he wanted in place and he added all sorts of people. Whoever he wanted for whatever reason. Some of them are around but a lot of them gave up on Alex because things weren’t going anywhere. A lot of Heads wanted a bigger thing and many heads left to join other clubs.

Meanwhile, the scene continued to dwindle, punk was deader than dead.

All the people that claim they hung around The Lads weren’t in The Lads. Just because you hung around doesn’t mean you were in The Lads.

From the time I entered the club The Lads were at war with Suicidal and that had begun before I came in. This went on for many years with what seemed like no end in sight.

The killer for the club was when the scene ended. There was nowhere to go, nowhere to hang out. The War ended over time…But to help it along many people died from overdose, hepatitis, HIV and AIDS all associated with Heroin and the street life. And those that didn’t die wished they had died because a lot went to prison for all sorts of reasons. Myself, I smartened up and joined the U.S Navy. It helped me get out from under some legal trouble I had acquired and I got to see the world. Honorably Discharged too… I showed em I could take it! I learned some valuable skills along the way if you know what I mean. I also assembled a wild crew of guys inside The Navy and we tore some shit up. Great guys! I got out after a few years though… I wanted to get back to Cali I missed home.

In the early 90’s a number of Original Heads assembled at Rick Rubens house (yeah, That Rick Ruben) and we had a series of meetings about getting the club rolling again. Things though just never materialized and it just never really got going.

Many smaller gangs wanted to be apart of The Lads but Lads One was already gone by the time they were old enough and ready to join…

The only gangs that were ever actually associated with the Original Lads were Sacred Reich aka Sac-Re and The Winos aka Dog Patch Winos because there were OG Lads Members in those clubs back in the day.

So, the next time some dude starts saying he’s in The Lads and says he came around in the 90’s just know that he ain’t never been in The Real-The One And Only-Big Time-Punk Rockin-Gang Banging-OG-Los Angeles Death Squad!

The Cathay De Grande: The Original Back Street Boys

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At The Cathay there was always something going on once we took over.

Word got around that we were running things over at The Cathay and before we knew it all sorts of characters started to hang around.

The Club was kinda antsy about the cops and about certain people coming around.

One night Lurch and I were hanging outside on Selma next to the club when Bernie the door man and Mike the owner of the club ran up and said some “heavy dudes” were up the way in the parking lot north of the club on Argyle.

Lurch and I went up Vista Del Mar aka The Back Street and we cautiously approached the walk in gate by the parking lot.

We stood there for a while, confused, looking at the “heavy dudes” in the lot.

It turned out to be our old friends FFF. We casually strolled into the lot and began shaking hands, hugs all around….had a beer and we started catching up with each other.

Then, outa the corner of my eye Bernie and Mike are now at the parking lot gate on Argyle. Bernie looked frantic and waved me over to find out what the hell was up.

I told Mike and Bernie that these guys are friends and that they don’t have to worry about these guys. They both looked at me kinda funny, sorta confused. I re-assured them and told them these guys are alright, they’re with us. I invited someone over from FFF and introduced them.

Bernie and Mike were both shocked and relieved that we could work out these little problems for them.

One night we were all hanging out in The Back Street aka Vista Del Mar which was a pretty usual thing.  We were drinking, drugging and talking war stories… Some guy comes onto the back street and he’s like 7 ft tall… just a huge huge guy. We make some small talk with him and what not and he says he’s from “Hollywood Street Punks”. My friend Eric Magoo walks up during this and joins in the conversation. Magoo had a pack of crushed cigarettes he pulled out of his pocket. The big guy asks normally enough for a cigarette and Magoo gives him one but as I mentioned, it was a crushed pack and some were broken.

The big guy says “ oh well, I guess I’ll just have to nigger fix it”

Well… Magoo whom just so happens to be a black man comes unglued…

A huge melee begins… everyone starts squaring off on the dude. He’s a huge guy and he keeps all of us off at a distance by throwing kicks… Lurch gets so pissed off at the guy that he whips out the straight razor and says that’s it, I’m gonna slice your fucking nose off!

Then, all of a sudden, like a cat leaping from the darkness and pouncing on it’s prey. Arnel comes flying out from behind the house on Vista Del Mar and leaps up and puts this 7 footer in a headlock and won’t let go.

Just like fuckin David and Goliath and shit man…. I watched a 5’7” man take a 7 foot tall man to the ground. We all wrecked him once he hit the ground and he was last seen running back to the Blvd being chased by some tiny locos who were throwing shit at him.

In those days, in that area of Hollywood there were all sorts of pimps, hookers, street people and other gangs nearby but none would roll down our back street.

At Hollywood and Vine there was a dumpster that the cops used to pull dead bodies out of on a weekly basis.

We learned how to make money in creative ways…Some girls we knew used to flag down tricks for us to mug which was pretty lucrative and the tricks never usually complained because they didn’t want anyone to know they were out looking for hookers.

The fags over on Santa Monica used to get rolled on a regular basis for their leather perfecto jackets that were popular with the punk set at the time.

The cops really stopped coming by after we stepped in. They’d drive by, see us, wave and keep going. We kept the dumb people in line.

Basically, if you went to the Cathay and you acted outa line… I would take you and smash your fuckin head on the trunk of Mikes piece of shit car parked in front of the club on Argyle until you changed your stupid fucking mind about it.

*The Cathay was dubbed by one newspaper in 1984 as “The most dangerous club in America”

The Cathay De Grande: The Original Back Street Boys is part of a series stay tuned for more!

Battle Royal At The Olympic Auditorium

olympic_auditorium_1970s(Image: Olympic Auditorium 1970’s)

I don’t know what show was going on at The Olympic Auditorium that night in 1984 but I can tell you about The Battle Royal that went on in the parking lot and back alleys around the Olympic Auditorium that night between The Lads and The Suicidals.

I remember standing near the box office window with some friends when all of a sudden three Suicidals walked by like they were on patrol. They then walked out of the lot and across South Grand Avenue into the alley.

Lurch, Oliver and I gave each other the look and we immediately began to make our way across South Grand following these Suis through the alley towards South Olive.

Once we got as far as South Olive it was on … A three on three fight broke out with The Lads doing the ass whipping. We took control quickly with these guys and were making short order of them when some short black dude ran from out of nowhere and cold cocked Lurch in the side of the head. Lurch was already fighting with one guy when the black guy ran up and hit him from the side. More Suicidals entered the street now and the numbers were changing on us. Then the black guy pulls a knife on us, swinging wildly at Lurch and Oli. We end up in a stand off even though we’re already out numbered. They wouldn’t commit even though they out numbered us. So we begin to make our way through the alley heading back to The Olympic.

As we’re walking back we hear some shit coming from behind us and as we turn to look we now see a huge crowd of Suicidals at the end of the alley on South Olive.

Members of the crowd were pointing at us and with that the crowd began running at Lurch, Oli and I at full sprint! We began to run in the direction of the Olympic but about midway through the alley I was hit from behind by that black guy we had fought with earlier.

The black guy tackled me from behind and I rolled onto my back and swung up. He swung down, then the crowd arrived and kicked the living day lights out of me. Just dudes whaling on me and kicking me. I balled up, covering my face, on the ground, while they thrashed me.

Then, I felt it… Something being poked into my leather jacket. It was that black guy stabbing me in the back. I could feel the knife get stuck in my leather jacket as he was stabbing me.

So now, I’ve got this asshole stabbing me with a knife in the back while his friends are continuing to kick me everywhere else.

All of a sudden, all the beating, all the thrashing, just stopped and I just stood right up, but as I began to I could see Oli going off on two guys…. Swinging bombs on them. Then a third Suicidal stepped in and cut Oli in the head with some sort of a shank. The guys that had been kicking the shit out of me just stared at me with a shocked look of disbelief on their faces.

Gangster was at the end of the alley on South Grand seeing what was going on and he summoned a shit load of Lads and they began running up the alley and then Suicidals started getting swung on pretty good. Everyone was exhausted and beaten, every one of us had gotten into it. We began to head back to The Olympic and I remember being met up by members of FFF. These guys did me a solid that night by helping me out with first aid. They were prepared for anything in those days. They were serious, kinda para-military, like me and my friends so we always got along.

With everyone’s battle wounds cleaned up we started getting loaded up on liquor and shit in front of the box office area over at The Olympic again. It was all of us Lads plus FFF and Circle 1 just standing there in front of the box office, just hanging out waiting for it to go down.

Ten Suicidals walk through again like they’re on Patrol but this time Alex blows the whistle and the shit just fucking explodes in front of the box offices.

Everyone is ALL IN…. An unmeasured level of violence ensues with Suicidals just being destroyed from every direction. Suicidals began to run away from one beating only to run into another beating. The grotesque violence found it’s way onto South Grand. People in cars looked on in horror as Suicidals ran into the streets running from the crowd of Lads FFF and Circle 1 that were throwing rocks and bottles at them. Many Suis were hit by passing cars on South Grand and then beat up all over again.

We chased the bastards down the alley continuing to issue more beatings on anyone not fast enough to get out of our way.

The Lads were now joined by a whole set of younger guys from FFF  and the violence really picked up steam again behind the McDonalds on Washington Blvd. One Suicidal running for his life tried to jump into the drive through window to escape the crowd. The restaurant closed the drive through window on him so he ran over to a McDonalds worker that was sweeping with a broom near the outside eating area. The Suis tried to arm himself with the broom stick but the crowd grabbed that broom out of the Suis hands and breaking it into several sections proceeded to beat him senseless with it.

The Black guy that was stabbing me earlier in the evening was chased around the front of McDonalds to where he wound up banging on the front window of the McDonalds screaming help help they’re gonna murder me. He was pounced on and beaten from every direction. Someone had him by the leg at one point and was beating on his knee with a lead pipe trying to break his legs. He screamed in terror as several young guys ran up and took turns stabbing him with knives.

After all of this went down we all just went back to The Olympic and continued our search and destroy mission on all Suicidals. It got seriously ugly, several Suicidals were now being held hostage in the parking lot in front of the box office. People were kinda dancing them around like puppets, slapping them around, putting out cigarettes in their faces and hair.

Even now, after all these years, I know that my life could have very well ended that night. Anything could have happened, an inch this way or an inch that way and I could have been killed. Once you’ve gone through some shit like this you’re just never the same. It makes you feel different from other people because no normal person would ever understand this shit. You had to have been there and lived it in order to really understand it. Most of my friends are dead but the one’s that survived this shit know what I’m talking about.

Live To Slam<>Slam To Live

~James Genocide~

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cathay De Grande: Clayton Is God

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There were a lot of drugs at The Cathay De Grande and I know because I sold them and used em. I used to sell speed out of a bag in front of the club until the Pigs figured out what was up and shook me down. The owner of the club, Mike and the door man,”Bernie” saw this shit going on and later contacted me and some other friends through Alex. They thought we could all come up with a “mutual understanding” and help each other out.

The Pigs were already coming down on the club. Violating the club for obscure city ordinances and hassling the Punkers attending shows on a regular basis. It was bad for business.

The deal was… we’d maintain Security outside, basically move people into the club and not allow all the “hanging out” that was causing Police attention.

We basically got a free ticket to hang around outside and sell anything we wanted to and when the Pigs did come around we were able to escape “into” the club.

What kinds of drugs?… Basically anything that’d get ya high. Cross tops, black beauties, qualudes, placadils, acid, coke, pcp, angel dust, crank and heroin.

Many people today can claim that their drug addictions began at The Cathay De Grande. From smoking a joint to slamming heroin, these addictions were kind of out in the open and kind of accepted.

And this reminds me of another story about Lurch and I again. The night we both met God.

RigamortisCathay[1] (Image: Rigormortis at The Cathay)

We left from The Cathay that night during the show and drove out to score in the city. We were approaching Normandie and 49th, and there, all of a sudden, as if from out of nowhere, standing on the street corner, we saw him in all his wondrous glory.

“Clayton” was there to save us! He said he knew a place to get us the special holy water that we were searching for.

God actually got into the hatchback of Lurch’s 260Z and off we went in search of the holy water aka sherm stick or super cool at the time. Which was either a Sherman’s or Cool brand cigarette dipped in liquid pcp.

We gave Clayton a few bucks, he went over to a house then returned quickly with a few wet sherm sticks wrapped in foil. pcp(Image: Sherm Stick, PCP, Angel Dust, Water, Love Boat)

As we drove him back to where we picked him up, Clayton took about three long tokes off of one of the sherm sticks.

We pulled into a driveway he said was his aunts house. And that’s right about the time when God arose from inside the hatchback of a 260Z.

Clayton is God…Clayton is God…Clayton is God…Clayton is God

That’s about all Clayton could say after smoking that sherm.

Lurch and I started to panic because two white dudes in that hood were merely just an arrest waiting to happen. We tried getting him out of the car but he was God and it’s not easy to get God outa your car when he’s high on pcp. We asked a guy walking by that knew him if he could help us get Clayton out of the car. He was willing to help and he actually walked up to the car and called out Clayton’s name. But when we told him he was on the sherm he wanted no part of us and took off.

I finally got Clayton onto his feet but he was still sorta teetering back and forth, half in the car and half out. Then, all of a sudden, Lurch revved the engine and popped the clutch making God fall to the ground and flop like a fish in the driveway. Lurch yelled, GET IN!!! I jumped into the passenger seat and we took off back to the Cathay. The last time we saw God, he was rolling around in a driveway on Normadie like a fish outa water or pcp.

Clayton Is God!

*** This story is just one in a series of stories about The Cathay De Grande written by James Genocide.***

 

I’m With The Band

1A3JamesGenocide(Image: Arnel, Spanky, Flaco, Lurch and Genocide Circa 1980’s)

From the day that I first got my Lads Arm Band, people started to change all around me. People I knew and people I didn’t know would stear clear of me if they hadn’t already. Once I was truly ensconsed “in the life” many people I knew for many years wouldn’t hang around me. The Lads were fucking notorious, they were both hated and revered. That said, all sorts of of new people entered my life….Hundreds of new people…The Lads were a huge club but the hangarounds were a mass all their own..There were literally hundreds and hundreds of hangarounds from all over the place and they’re still around even today.

Things didn’t only just change for me. My friend Lurch had some hippie that kept ducking him for months because he owed Lurch money. Well, we went over to get the dough at his house in the Valley one day and he hid in his house and wouldn’t come out because of the ass beating we had promised him. So… we left our calling card outside on his front sidewalk ~LADS~ .That Hippies mom was so terrified after seeing the graffiti outside her house she settled up with Lurch right away so unfortunate incidents like these wouldn’t happen again. And, she even asked Lurch for permission to remove the graffitti in front of her own house.

Something I never saw coming was…The Women!… The Lads actually have groupies…I was in a relationship for many years and it wasn’t until my later years that I experienced how weird the chicks could get about the whole Lads thing…. There were times there that I couldn’t believe the shit they would say to me …What the hell do you say when a pretty lil girl you don’t even know walks right up to you with a big smile on her face and says “wow, you’re a Lad… fucking you would be like fucking a rock star? ….You don’t need to say anything, you just fuck her!

Something interesting about those Arm Bands… Each arm band is like the other but yet different in their own way. Each arm band was done by hand by Alex in the true DIY Punk Rock way. So each arm band has it’s own individual characteristics. I found this out over time by making t-shirts, sweatshirts and buttons for the club. I was forced to look at the image for hours at a time while doing the setup until I knew every pen stroke of my own arm band. Now, I immediately know when I’m looking at an image of my own arm band or someone else’s.DSC00305 Looking at the other remaining arm bands in existence next to each other you can see the subtle differences in each. I don’t know how many arm bands were made or given out over the years but from what I’ve heard through the Lads, I know there aren’t many left. Some were snatched in fights and some were lost either through moving, incarceration, drug addiction etc. Marlons ArmbandThe Image above courtesy of Marlon

LurchBand

The Image above courtesy of Lurch

1AKenny

Kenny Aka Puppet circa 1980

There were also many Lads from that era that did not receive an arm band due to negligence, short sightedness or laziness. I know who you are and I’m honored to have known you, fought by your side and drank all your beer and smoked all your weed. I thank you.

Sunday Meetings And The First Lads BBQ

(Image: Poinsettia Park 1982)!!!!DSDome

Meetings were originally held at Poinsettia Park but they moved to Pan Pacific Park for reasons I will NOT explain here.

Pan Pacific ParkPanPacific1

Pan Pacific Park was awesome!… It’s big, and with it’s many entry and exit points, it was very easy to roll in by foot, skateboard or bike. When the pigs did show up, which was pretty rare, you could bail in any direction and usually get away. We’d all meet there on Sundays at about noon, crack a few beers, smoke a few joints and then listen to Alex, Arnel and others address the crowd. We’d get the low down on what went down at the last meeting for those that couldn’t make it and then we’d usually hear about what was happening around the scene. Flyers would be passed around and we’d make our plans for the next week together. Things like, where we’d hang out, what shows we’d roll to and what parties sounded the most happenin. Then, after meetings we’d usually meet over on Melrose and do the patrol-stroll up and down the Avenue, hang in front of Poseurs, finger LP’s at Vinyl Fetish..all while simultaneously doing graffiti on all lamp posts, utility boxes and any other thing that can be written on along the way. Lads…Death Squad!!!

poseur-melrose[1]Poseur’s On Melrose Ave. Hollywood, Ca. 1983

Uniform of the day is as follows… there is no fucking uniform, it’s Punk Rock, be yourself… But that said, Lads always dressed a certain way. And a Lad could tell who another Lad was in a crowd not only by his face but by the way he dressed.

1111RVCA Raymond.jpg_OptRaynard Gleeson, Poinsettia Park 1982

Black was always our color, we were every bit Punk Rock but nothing like the baloney you can find at the mall today. We did it ourselves, we had our own look, we wore hats, like old gangster Fedora’s and Wool Flat Caps. Winos, Cop Shoes and Leather Jackets. Flannels, Kung-Fu Shoes, Creepers, Slippers, Levi’s and Dickies, Levi’s Stay-Pressed, Stove Pipes, Bomber Jackets, Eisenhower Jackets. Shopping at Goodwill or Ardvarks and a Surplus store or two usually got ya straightened out….And knowing anyone that could Sew was a Godsend!

1A3JamesGenocideHeads assemble for the Sunday meeting, Poinsettia Park 1982

The First BBQ we ever had was in Pan Pacific Park just after a Sunday meeting. My friend John and a few of us were just sitting on the picnic tables, hung over, pretty beat… John looked over at the BBQ area and said “we should BBQ”. We all sorta looked at each other like uhh…yeah.. but it was weird, it hit me, like yeah man, we’re fucking grown ups, we can do anything we want, it was like a rite of passage. We all agreed we needed to end our hangover misery by having a BBQ right away. John and I and the guys collected a few bucks from everyone and we headed over to the market in John’s Mustang. We grabbed up a pile of food and beer together that day and that’s how The Lads BBQ was born. Since then, over the years, everyone has taken part in and enjoyed our Lads BBQ’s. BBQ, Bands, Brews and all the Cool Heads from the past and the present. But we’re like any bunch of old knuckleheads getting together. We don’t always get along, we argue, we act stupid and take each other for granted just like any other dysfunctional family. But I know who to call on when I’m in a pinch!

1111 LADS BBQ logo - Copy