Will Taime sing @FUCKareoke? "If you get me drunk enough, then oh yeah."
WELCOME TO THE CLUB
Faster Pussycat singer Taime Downe, original co-founder of the legendary Cathouse club, is back with a new club and new Faster Pussycat tour dates.
By Gerry Gittelson
Metal Sludge Editor at Large
HOLLYWOOD — Hollywood’s very own prince of darkness is back in the spotlight, and he is ready once again to put a stake through the heart of the local scene that’s been yearning for something interesting to happen for a long time.
Taime Downe, the vampire lead singer of legendary sleaze rock band Faster Pussycat, has reformed his partnership with Riki Rachtman just like back in the day with the legendary Cathouse club. Their new club is FUCKaraoke, and the grand opening is Wednesday, Feb. 13 – the day before Valentine’s Day – at Fubar at 7994 Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood.
You can get more information at twitter@FUCKaoke or facebook.com/KaraokeFUC, but here at Sludge we figured why not go straight to the source, and Downe was more than happy to grant an exclusive interview.
It’s all here like a sumptuous buffet, as Downe, 48, tells us what’s good about the new club, plus some background on the original partnership with Rachtman with the old Cathouse, in addition to some Faster Pussycat stuff, too, including some dirt like mostly Sludge stories.
Read, study, enjoy.
Taime Downe, Riki Rachtman, Izzy Stradlin & W. Axl Rose
METAL SLUDGE: So you’re back with Riki Rachtman doing a club, just like the old days with the legendary Cathouse. You must have some great memories, Taime.
TAIME DOWNE: I don’t know about that. I don’t have a lot of memories because the ones I do have are blurry. I’m old. It’s like enjoying a great meal, then by the next day you’ve forgotten all about it. The new club should have the same feel as the Cathouse – debauchery and rock and roll but with some fucked up karaoke thrown in.
METAL SLUDGE: Will you join in and sing karaoke in front of the crowd?
TAIME DOWNE: If you get me drunk enough, then oh yeah.
METAL SLUDGE: You can do “House of Pain.” Is that a karaoke song?
TAIME DOWNE: No, I’ve never seen it, but I don’t know, maybe. I’ve looked through some karaoke lists and have never seen it.
Watch "House of Pain"
METAL SLUDGE: Really? That was a big hit? Have you ever been in some bar and innocently heard someone doing “House of Pain” on karaoke?
TAIME DOWNE: I don’t think so but I’m not sure. I probably would have remembered that, so I don’t think so. I’m going to try to find it.
METAL SLUDGE: I guess you could just boot it up on youtube, a version with the lyrics and sing along.
TAIME DOWNE: The guy who owns the club will deal with all that. It all runs through the PA, off computers and stuff. I’ll go through the files and see what we have, the applications. But I already went through it and didn’t see any Faster Pussycat, but who knows? It might be out there floating around somewhere.
METAL SLUDGE: Interesting.
TAIME DOWNE: There is probably an easy way to do it, but I’m always too busy touring and shit. Getting a club together is a lot of work, and I’m on the road and whatnot. I’ve got all the lyrics in my head but sometimes I don’t remember them all until I start doing the song. Sometimes, I’m like, “What are the lyrics to that song again?” This happens like a half-hour before the show, but as soon as it starts, something happens and I always remember – or like 90 percent or something.
METAL SLUDGE: Looking back now, do you think Faster Pussycat was treated fairly? Do you feel like Elektra Records did everything they could to make the band as big as possible, or were you, I dunno, mistreated?
TAIME DOWNE: No, Elektra treated us great! They kept us out on tour and the label was always behind us. I’m totally grateful for everything.
Faster Pussycat during the Elektra Records era
METAL SLUDGE: I grew up a couple houses from Eric Waxman, who is Eric Stacy of course, your old bass player. I remember when Faster Pussycat first signed and the record came out, they gave every member like ONE copy of the record. I was thinking, “Wow, is this record company really behind this band?” But who knows, maybe that’s the way it was with all the bands back then.
TAIME DOWNE: Eric really didn’t have a clue. He was the last one in the band, and we gave him a lot of shit.
METAL SLUDGE: Really? I used to bump into him all the time, but I haven’t seen Eric or heard from him at all in a long time. What about you?
TAIME DOWNE: I have no clue. I talk to (former guitarist) Greg Steele and (former guitarist) Brent Muscat all the time, but I don’t know what’s going on with (former drummer) Mark Michals anymore, either. Last I heard about Mark, he was hit by a cab in New York, but was a long time ago. I think I saw him for two seconds in a club in the 90s and didn’t even say anything.
METAL SLUDGE: Eric was my good friend for a long time. The last I saw him, he was struggling with his sobriety.
TAIME DOWNE: I’ve heard nothing from that guy, and I don’t care to.
METAL SLUDGE: You had a falling out?
TAIME DOWNE: No, he’s just an idiot. He was kicked out of the band in the first place, then he tried to get back in, but it wasn’t going to happen because of the drugs. This may sound hypocritical, but you’ve got to do your job the right way. My job is rock and roll, and if that’s your job, it’s the coolest job you can ever have, but it’s still a job, and you have to put your job first, so there you go.
METAL SLUDGE: Take me back to the old days with Riki Rachtman. How did you first form a partnership together for Cathouse?
TAIME DOWNE: When I first met Riki, it was right when I started Faster Pussycat. We just decided to have some rock and roll parties. Riki had already been a promoter, doing bars. This was the first rock and roll club.
METAL SLUGE: Cathouse became a huge success, the playground for bands like Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue. Did you think the idea was going to work from the beginning?
TAIME DOWNE: I had a feeling it would because it kept getting bigger every week. It kept growing, so we were like, “Let’s keep doing it.” We both did a lot and promoted our asses off, a lot of promotion.
METAL SLUDGE: But you didn’t make any money off the liquor, right?
TAIME DOWNE: No, we didn’t have to. I’m sure the bar made shitloads of money, but we never had to worry about all the stuff that goes with it, the insurances and taxes and security, none of it. We didn’t have to worry about all those bills. But I’m sure Oskos and Probe, the two clubs, they made a lot of money on the liquor. At first, it was just the bar that was enough to attract everyone. Eventually, we brought in bands, too.
METAL SLUDGE: How much were you guys making yourselves when Cathouse was in its prime?
TAIME DOWNE: It was 20 years ago, I have no clue.
Taime rocks the Cathouse tee old skool and then rolls goth ghoul
METAL SLUDGE: You must remember something, Taime? Did you ever make five grand in a night?
TAIME DOWNE: No, not that much.
METAL SLUDGE: What about one thousand?
TAIME DOWNE: I can’t remember. I was doing so much shit back then that Cathouse wasn’t my only gig. It was once a week, and really, I have no idea.
METAL SLUDGE: Well, how much money did you carry around at the time? That would give you an idea, Taime. The Sludge readers like this kind of stuff.
TAIME DOWNE: I don’t know because some nights, we’d let 200 people in for free, so all I remember is we just kept it going. Money came in all the time, but not enough to make us rich. Mostly, the whole idea was to let in hot chicks for free.
METAL SLUDGE: Was it always a 50-50 split between you and Riki? How did the partnership work?
TAIME DOWNE: No because we were touring nine months out of the year, and I didn’t have the time. It was Riki Rachtman’s baby. He was there every week. For me, it was fun and whatnot, but when it came down to it, Riki Rachtman was doing all the work, so once it got to a certain point, where we needed to book bands to keep going, Riki was the one who kept it going when I was gone. So then, I was like, “Riki, you do it, dude.” I wasn’t putting as much time in, so it wouldn’t have been fair for me to pull half the money. I saw that, and I was cool with that.
A classic flyer from the hey day
METAL SLUDGE: And now you’re starting over again, both of you together.
TAIME DOWNE: It was funny because we’d been friends again, riding motorcycles together, and we both knew that there was not really a scene anymore, not a kick-ass scene, anyway. So we figured let’s find a little bar and regenerate and having a little fun in Los Angeles again. We’ll do it for fun but in a sleazy way.
METAL SLUDGE: We’ve barely talked about Faster Pussycat. What’s going on with Faster Pussycat now?
TAIME DOWNE: We’re getting ready to go back out on the road for six weeks. Then we’ll be home for a few days, then we’re going to South America. Then we’re home for May, then we do Europe for six weeks. We’re going on tour instead of putting shit off.
METAL SLUDGE: Nice.
Taime mesmerizes a Jonestown size crowd to drink the Pussy punch
TAIME DOWNE: We’ve got some new songs, too.
METAL SLUDGE: Really? What’s the title of the best new song?
TAIME DOWNE: I guess the best one is “Nola.” It’s about New Orleans. It’s a really good song.
Gerry Gittelson can be reached at [email protected]