Former Location –
In 1967, the Aragon Ballroom in Venice was transformed into The Cheetah Club which became one of the hot places to play if you were an up and coming band in the Los Angeles area. Early performers include: The Strawberry Alarm Clock, Ten Years After, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Pacific Gas & Electric and Sweetwater.
The club is probably best known as the place Frank Zappa “discovered” the house band Nazz, which later became the Alice Cooper Band in August of 1967 and signed them to his label. Pink Floyd played one of their first ever U.S. gigs here on November 5th, 1967.
In January of 1968 there was a charity benefit here for the L.A. Free Clinic. The event was called Phantasmagoria and many bands played for free to help raise money for the clinic. The line-up included The Turtles, Buffalo Springfield, Brewer and Shipley and others.
The Cheetah Club only stayed open for about a year and a half, but during that time they had some of the biggest musical acts of the time.
Notable Concerts Held At The Cheetah Club Include:
August 4/4, 1968 – Creedence Clearwater Revival / Howlin’ Wolf / The Hook
May 1, 1968 – Alice Cooper
April 6, 1968 – iron butterfly / The Hook / Rubber Hiway
April 5, 1968 – Traffic / iron butterfly / Rubber Hiway
March 29, 1968 – Moby Grape / Spirit / Genesis
March 1,2, 1968 – Blue Cheer / Music Machine
December/20-12/24, 1967 – The Chamber Brothers
December/1-3, 1967 – Big Brother And the Holding Company
September 29-30, 1967 – Strawberry Alarm Clock / The Rich Kids / The Natural Resource
September 1-2, 1967 – Buffalo Springfield / The Watts 103rd St Rythym Band / The Nazz
The Cheetah Club
1 Navy Street
Venice CA 90291
More bands at the Cheetah Club:
Barry McGuire, The Chambers Brothers, Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf, Jefferson
Airplane, The Doors, and more!
I went to this show. There were maybe 50 people in the audience. I bought their album that day, so I knew their songs. I went to the front of the stage and I could hear a band member say, “What should we play next? The they played “Interstellar Overdrive”. I had just bought a guitar so I learned that song from that show. i liked the psychedelic music.
I recently went to Venice, CA and the pier where the Cheetah stood was completely gone.
Have you got any photos of the crowd at the may 14th 1967 Door’s performance there?
researching family history (the lack there of) for some one from venice Beach born 9 months later.
The video of the ruins was three to four years later in 1971-72. BcAdamson
Yes,not a sign of that pier,where the ballroom had been before it became the cheetah club,wish I’d had a camera in those days that my second sojourn in venice began,1973-76.
Went to the show that Iron Butterfly opened for the Doors. From the side door on the right comes Lew Alcindor (Kareem)
who sits in the front row, before the show starts. The four of us keep yelling ‘Play the ‘Theme’ from about 20 rows back,
to the Butterfly. They finished their set, and we kept yelling. Whoever the host was finally came up and said ‘The Iron
Butterfly are coming back on to play the their theme song’. Afterwards Ron Bushy came back to talk to us. We felt we changed Rock history. But so does Kareem.
My sister took me into the Venice Cheetah Club when I was 13 years old. The bouncers said I had to sit at table. Her friends were all top notch and it was my first rock concert. This had to have been in 1968. I have a 3 minute minute 29 second video of the ruins of Pacific Ocean Park POP on 8 mm video. I know at one concert one of her friends kissed Jim Morrison back stage. It seems to me if my memory is correct right around the time of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination which was June 5, 1968; my birthday was May 28. Bruce Adamson —–}Santa Cruz
Also The Standells in 1967.
I saw Steve Winwood here. He asked if there were any requests, I raised my hand and said, “Hole in my Shoe”. Steve said that was the only one they didn’t do live. Amazing performer, “Dear Mr. fantasy” is one of the best songs.
I took many photos of bands here and other venues. Bruce Gary of The Knack used to see me and always talked fondly of The Cheetah. He is gone but a good fellow. He enjoyed the music of the British Invasion.
If you have pictures from the Cheetah club perhaps you have some from the Electric Flag and Hour Glass (Allman brothers) shows from May 10th and 11th, 1968. I have an original Bob Massey art poster from that show. I know of no other….I did see an ad for a newpaper print ad with the same artwork.
I talked to Massey and he told me 1. He never got a money for the posters he did in those days, just tickets and maybe a couple drinks. 2. He did go to most of the shows and backstage as well. 3. The girl on my poster was a German supermodel at the time named Uschi Obermeir. 4. He was talking to Buddy Miles backstage after the show and some guys were trying to sell him drumsticks that their company made….he said buddy m. was very shy.
Saw many bands there, once Flat and Skrugs played in between acts. White suits and white cowboy hats. Quite out of place in the psychedelic atmosphere.
I was there that night. Quite a surprise.
Would love to see your photos:)🤔🤔
I lived in Venice on the boardwalk, and went there a lot. A friend of mine, Jack Kruschen, would give me passes. A memorable one….Buffalo Springfield, Vanilla Fudge, Iggy Pop, Procol Harum. Met Todd Rundgren and The Nazz. Fun guys! Wow, the best memories of my started in Venice in ’66-67.
I worked the Rose Avenue parking lot in 65-67 what a time it was in Venice.
Karen, I spent a lot of time there too. My mom worked there when it was The Aragon Ballroom so I spent a lot of time surfing next to the pier, visiting P O P, jumping on the back of the boardwalk trams, watching Swami X doing comedy on a boardwalk bench, etc… once it became The Cheetah I had to sneak in to see some of the great bands play there. Many of them played at a smaller place a few blocks away on Main Street. Funny, I got to know Jack Kruschen in the early 70’s. He was an actor and acting teacher, and shared a little studio on Robertson in West Hollywood with my acting teacher, Grant Williams. Didn’t know Jack from Venice, but we talked about bands a couple of times. Seemed like a great guy. Who knows, you and I could have rubbed elbows at one time. Hahaha!
Just thinking back a little about my young adult days, and nights, and was pleased to see this reference to one of my favorite night spots. So much great music and good vibes there. Those were good times. Hope everyone who looks back to those good old days is still having a good time now.
Most of the shows I went to were at Eagles Auditorium in Seattle….I found you guys cause I just picked up a poster from the Cheetah, The Electric Flag and Hour Glass (The Alman bros.) from 1969
LOVED the Cheetah. Spent many nights there, the light shows were amazing. Saw the Doors and many others. There aren’t a lot of us that had the pleasure of seeing such iconic bands up close and personal.
I saw Blue Cheer (Summertime Blues) open for John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Eric Clapton on guitar. Must have been ~1968.I remember the place was so loud you couldn’t talk.
The Peanut Butter Conspiracy opened the cheetah with Carl Holmes on the bill also. They also played there again later on with Electric Flag.
Snuck into the Cheetah by climbing onto the roof, going in through a small window, shinnied on a steel beam over to thick black electrical cords, then shinnied down the cords to end up behind the stage. Alvin Lee with Love was on stage, and he was introducing the band, looking back at them with a mocking laugh as the crowd in front of the stage cheered at every phrase he said. He said something like , “Let’s hear it for cheeseburgers!” The crowd would cheer, and Lee would mockingly look at the band members behind him. That incident made me cynical of mist rock performers, but I still went out and bought Love’s first album, which I still have. It was early 1968, which was a good year for the LA music scene. Pink Floyd , Grateful Dead, the Who, the Chambers Brothers at the Shrine Auditorium. Canned Heat, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Santana at the Kaleidoscope. Hendrix and Vanilla Fudge at the Hollywood Bowl. Cream with Deep Purple at the LA Forum. That myth that stated if you “remember anything from the sixties, you weren’t there” is bullshit. I remember every concert because they were more than memorable; the concerts were spiritual awakenings for many. Wish I had some friends left from back then to talk about the Venice Beach and Hollywood scene. So many stories to share.
Anyone have pics of the show where Chambers Brothers opened for Roosters, then Doors at Cheetah? 3 different stages outside.
I was there for a concert on the beach, next to the pier, probably summer of 69. The Cheetah had a terrible fire recently and was nearly gutted. Myself and a girl I met, just walked into the building and although it. It was sad to see it in that condition.
I sat on the floor at the feet of Jim Morrison.Sweat from his face flinging onto me. Another time Frank Zappa pulled me to my feet and gave me a big hug at the end of their gig. Don’t remember when but 1967-69. Thought I saw Deep Purple there, but maybe not. So many concerts. So many highs. Glad I had that time. Moved to Oregon 1970.
I remember the cheetah fondly. There were always tons of kids in there dancing. But this one night my boyfriend and I walked in and no one was dancing. Everyone was gathered around the stage, completely mesmerized by this singer, who was singing her heart out. That night they were billed as big brother and the holding company, but the person we all remember was Janis Joplin. She was something else.
This is where my best friend and I would spend almost every weekend. We drove from Chatsworth at the same time Jim Morrison was on the road with his Lincoln. We would race down the 405 all the way to the pier. I remember the elevated stage with a door on the side with the smoke that would billow out when the door opened to let the band on stage. The backdrop above was projected images of water with food coloring to make it look psychedelic. Usually, Jim was wasted and would bring a girl on stage to simulate sexual moves. It was ‘67, what can I say?
This and Hullabaloo in Hollywood were the two best places with live bands we could go to being under 18. Our favorite group at Hullabaloo was the Seeds. Who can forget such classics as Mr. Farmer or Up In Her Room?
Both venues had prestiges histories. Lawerence Welk’s Aragon Ballroom became the Cheetah and Moulin Rouge the Hullabaloo. The neon sign from the Rouge is now hanging overhead at Universal Citywalk, right where Bubba Hump’s is.
My bad! I meant Bubba Gump’s.