The Cathay De Grande: The Original Back Street Boys


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!

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