Farewell, Liquid Kitty

Dave Childs as the Sun Sets on Liquid Kitty (Photo by Jordan Schwartz)

Dave Childs as the Sun Sets on Liquid Kitty (Photo by Jordan Schwartz)

Liquid Kitty, that stalwart of relaxed Westside bars, is closing at the end of this month and the last pUnk rOck BBQ is tomorrow, August 7. Better than anything my meager words can express, I threw it to a few who have been instrumental to the BBQ’s meaning and success. As a show goer I can only add (and I’m sure I speak for everyone) that I will dearly, greatly, hugely miss the comfort that only people you’ve known for years, kick ass rock, cheap beer and free food bring (the few times I’ve been to the bar during a regular martini evening I was not surprised to find that the comfortable vibe extends to that crowd as well). An oral history:

Randy Stodola of the Alley Cats: “Liquid Kitty’s Punk Rock BBQ was the first show I did when I started playing again after 20 years. I think the Punk Rock BBQ is really cool. Everybody goes to it.”

Mike Watt: “Dave Childs, in the spirit of the old days, created a happening by doing, not just with words. His pad has been a petri dish…an experiment with cultures. We need that kind of effort, that sincere vibe that’s followed through with action, that isn’t just hype.” On Liquid Kitty closing: “It’s happened time and time again, it just shows you how valuable the moment is…for the sake of the next shift, things got to get passed on, it’s important for everybody to reinvent their own thing. Somebody once told me that the only thing new is you finding out about it. Bottom line is, when you have something in real life like that, that celebrates a moment, it’s about people. The old days, the scene, was about people. So are these days. It’s always going to be about people. Expression through art is the fabric that connects us. All the other ways involve some kind of boot on somebody’s throat. Bottom line – vital.”

Philo Van Duyne: “I first met Dave Childs over 30 years ago. I was at a Black Flag gig and my car got towed. I shouldn’t have parked in that supermarket parking lot. My date ditched me and found a ride. I didn’t know what to do. Then my buddy Nick asked his friend Dave to give me a ride to the tow yard. I was able to get my car that night thanks to a stranger. We became close friends after that – jamming together, playing basketball (sorry for the injury, Dave), and watching/going to Laker games. Eventually the timing was right and we started a band together, Fishcamp, with another great friend – Chuck Dukowski from Black Flag. Ironic, right?

Dave had been planning to open a bar for quite some time. At first I thought he was just dreaming like we all do, but soon realized he was serious. Liquid Kitty opened for business! I remember going out to the bar for the first time. I took some friends and said, “Lets go help out my buddy Dave with his new bar and give him some business”. We got there and the place was packed! It was the hip new place to be on the Westside. I was so proud of Dave.

Fishcamp was an incredibly fun band. Sometimes you just connect so well with everyone in the band. It’s really special. Of course we were always looking for shows. Say, guess what, Dave owns a bar…BOOM! The pUnk rOck BBQ was born. We always had the best time playing there.

The Liquid Kitty will always be my favorite bar. Dave is one of my best friends. He has had the greatest bartender Damian working with him forever. Nicest guy in the world. He had another super awesome bartender, Jaren. He was an amazing individual. More than once he would go out of his way to help me…because I was a friend of a friend. Just like how I met Dave. RIP Jaren.

I have probably been to more pUnk rOck BBQ’s than anyone besides Dave and Damian. I’ve had the great fortune of playing there with Fishcamp, the Last, the Jack Brewer Band, the Freda Rente Band, and the Exxtras. I always had a blast whether playing or just attending. The pUnk rOck BBQ will always be my all-time favorite show to play. Nothing will ever replace it. I’ve played to much larger crowds, but I never have more fun. I’m playing the final pUnk rOck BBQ tomorrow. Dave really outdid himself with a fantastic lineup. I hope I have as good a time as I usually do, because this last one is going to be incredibly bittersweet.

Dave Childs: “I opened Liquid Kitty in 1996.  It was a down-to-earth martini lounge with no velvet rope or attitude. Occasionally we’d have live music, but mainly roots, jazz, blues and low volume stuff.  I had played in bands in the 80’s (Lawndale, Sylvia Juncosa). Around 2000, Philo, Chuck Dukowski and I formed Fishcamp. People asked why my band didn’t play at my bar.  I’d tell them we were much too loud.

In 2002 I decided to have a punk rock bbq – partially so my band Fishcamp could play in the bar, but mostly for fun.  The idea was to have a free event during the day (that would not interfere with the regular martini-drinking clientele).  I wanted all of my old punk rock/underground rock scene friends to be able to afford it, so we made it free admission, free hot dogs and $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon (later raised to $2). It became an annual event, and eventually we increased it to 4 times a year.

Bands that have played include Mike Watt, Saccharine Trust, Nip Drivers, Sin 34, Euge, Savage Republic, Human Hands, Chuck Dukowski Sextet, Lawndale, The Urinals, Fishcamp, Spot, Phranc, Landfill, Symbol Six, The Amazons, Trulio Disgracias, The Alley Cats, The Last, iNGRATES!, The Bloody Brains, Backbiter, Raw Power Rangers, Fatso Jetson, Blood on The Saddle, Radwaste, The Walker Brigade, People Talk, The Mormons, Barrio Tiger, The Black Widows, Brainspoon, Bombon, The Mecolodiacs, It’s OK, Sassafrass, Third Grade Teacher, Carnage Asada, Santa Sabbath, Atomic Sherpas, Trotsky Icepick, Chotto Ghetto, Big Pig, The Charmkin Rebellion, Bikos, Legal Weapon, The Exxtras, and Sylvia Juncosa. The Stains were scheduled to play once, but they had an argument and broke up an hour before their set time.

The bar is closing because our lease expires Aug 31.  Liquid Kitty is a victim of rising property values.  We could not afford to buy the property and the new landlords who purchased the building do not want to renew the lease.  I’m hoping to be able to continue the pUnk rOck BBQ at other venues.  Stay tuned.”

Fishcamp (Photo  courtesy of Phil Van Duyne)

Fishcamp (Photo courtesy of Phil Van Duyne)

A Photographic Look Back At Liquid Kitty’s Punk Rock BBQs 

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