In 1964, the Pussycat A Go-Go opened its doors as the first rock n roll club in Las Vegas. Founded by the legendary bandleader Garwood Van, entertainment director of the Castaway and owner of the first full-sized record store in Las Vegas (Garwood Van's "Musicland") The Pussycat A Go-Go was the 'in' place to come and see great rock music in Las Vegas.
The Pussycat's low profile, coupled with a rare dance floor and emphasis on rock and roll, made it a popular destination for professional entertainers, showgirls, dealers, musicians and all the beautiful people that make Vegas what it is. After their shows were over for the night, stars from the headlining acts at the main casinos made the Pussycat their playground.
Another owner, "Happy Harry" Haneman, was a colorful Vegas character best known for his energetic television commercials.
Almost immediately the club became the setting for some of rock's legendary moments. One of Michael Schivo first bookings took place at the Pussycat, as told on his website. Schivo, one of Americas most durable concert promoters was "...hired by Jack Entratter, the Entertainment Director and front man of the Sands Hotel. Entratter handed Schivo $1,000 and said "You are young and hip, make sure you have the hottest band this money will buy for Sammy Davis' birthday party", which was to be held at the Sands Ballroom. Schivo marched into the Pussycat A-Go-Go on the Las Vegas Strip, the hottest nightclub in town, and hired a 11 piece horn band. Sammy Davis Jr. personally gave Schivo a big embrace and kiss, thanking him for making his birthday party 'such a gas.'"
Bassist Phil 'Fang' Volk's first gig with Paul Revere and the Raiders was at the Pussycat. Ted Neeley (star of 'Jesus Christ Superstar') and Corey Wells (Three Dog Night) also gigged there early in their careers.
As one of the first African-American acts to play the Sunset Strip, The Checkmates headlined the Pussycat and were later partially responsible for the club's decision to eventually desegregate the seating areas (the dance floor was always integrated). Right after signing with Epic Records, Sly and the Family Stone played a three- month gig at the Pussycat, during which time they tightened up their famous sound. During their days off they recorded their debut album, "A Whole New Thing." Their gig ended when Sly had an altercation with the owner of the Pussycat that ended with the group quitting and Sly escorted at gunpoint from the premises.
Stark Naked and the Car Thieves was one of the Pussycat's hottest acts, playing from 1967- 68 and again in 1971. Their reputation attracted a celebrity audience from as far away as LA.
In January 1969, Jim Morrison of the Doors came from LA to see the band play. He got into a fight with the doorman at the Pussycat and was arrested outside of the club. Ironically, Stark Naked and the Car Thieves had the night off.
The musicians who played there had to win the approval of the best of the best Vegas had to offer. Frequent guests included Ike and Tina Turner, The Fifth Dimension, James Brown, Bobby Darin and notable others. But Vegas has a way of bulldozing history to make way for the future. More than one hotspot from the Rat Pack era fell victim to the inevitable march of progress and the Pussycat A Go-Go was no different. The club sadly closed its doors for good in 1971, leaving a few faded pictures and a lot of fond memories... until now.
The Pussycat remains a symbol of that wonderful time when the Rat Pack dominated the scene, Evel Knievel jumped the fountains at Ceasar's Palace, Elvis headlined The International and Vegas was one big rollicking party.
Visit our store to see our wide selection of official Pussycat A Go-Go merchandise, including Pussycat T-shirts, casino chips, women's clothing and other items.