Column #39 - published November 5, 2000
KATS LIKE US
Kats Like Us is a booking agency here in Las Vegas which specializes in Rockabilly and is run by Mike and Maybee Crouse.
Ronny: When did you start Kats Like Us and why?
KLU: We had seen several rockabilly acts at the Hard Rock Cafe. We were left wanting more. We had heard that the Hard Rock was going to discontinue booking rockabilly, so we contacted a local dance hall and they offered us a place every Monday. With a friend of ours, we formed GreasGun Productions and booked Frantic Flattops and locals Dragstrip 77 for our first show. Our partner also had other interests at the time, so we went our separate ways and the two of us decided to form our own promotion company. We had heard the song "Cats Like Us" by Hillblly Hellcats. We liked the sound of that, so we changed the spelling and got things started. That was in the spring of 1998. Now, bands would have a place in the desert to play on tours between California and New York. Actually, we even drew European bands later on.
Ronny: Can you list all the bands you have brought to Las Vegas?
KLU: We have had the pleasure of booking the following bands: Frantic Flattops, Mack Stevens, The Racketeers, The Lucky Stars, Deke Dickerson, South Paw Johnny and his Right Hand Men, Hillbilly Cafe, Jack and The Rippers, Tennessee Rhythm Riders, Frank Sprague, The Go-Getters, Three Bad Jacks, Ray Campi, Johnny Legend, Rip Masters, Rip Carson and The Twilight Trio, Cadillac Angels, Torturing Elvis, Deadbolt, The Blue Moon Boys, The Raging Teens, Tony Maserati, Randy Rich and The Poor Boys, Hillbilly Hellcats, Rocket J, The Casey Sisters, Graveyard Farmers, Thunder Road, The Spectres, The Majestics, Al Foul and The Shakes, Exit 56, Starlight Drifters, American Standards, The Chop Tops, The Belmont Playboys, Curse of The Pink Hearse, The Konks, Twistin Tarantulas, The Deadcats, Johnny and The Blades, Dragstrip Demons, Cave Catt Sammy, Johnny 7 and The Radio Flyers, The Camaros, Paul Galaxy and The Galactix, The Saddle Tramps, Chester Everett and The Ranch Rhythmaires, The Irish Brothers, The High Rollers, James Intveld, The Amazing Crowns, The Road Kings, Todd Stedman and The Flat Tones, The Bellfuries, Uncle Tiki, The Haywoods, and The Hillbilly Boogiemen.
Of course, we have also enjoyed the local sounds of Dragstrip 77, Sam and The Butchers, and The Rhythmblades.
MAY: Rock n Roll has always been a universal language. I learned this first hand when Mack Stevens and his wife Karina came thru Las Vegas last year. We had the band over for pizza and laughs. Mack's band members were from Argentina and could not speak much english at that time. The lead guitarist, Billy Disonante, came into the living room, smiling, very pleasant. Mike and his fellow Texan, Mack, went into Mike's office for a business chat (Mike was Mack's booking agent at the time). So I was left to entertain the Argentinians with very little language betwen us. So, I asked them if they wanted to watch a movie. Billy piped up "Gene Vincent?". He had spotted "Hot Rod Gang" on the movie shelf. Billy kept saying "Gene Vincent" over and over. I put the movie into the VCR and Billy got hold of the remote and pushed rewind about 25 times listening to Gene sing "Baby Blue". Turns out, "Gene Vincent" was about all Billy could say in english. I was blown away by the pure passion that these folks had for American Rock n Roll. We shared a fabulous two hours, not saying much, but dancing around and singing and laughing to the music. Fantastic!
Ronny: You must be quite proud of this achievement, any thoughts, comments?
Mike and May getting married at Rancho Ronny while Jorge Harada and Roger Casanova were playing Rockabilly and DooWop songs.
KLU: We take great pleasure in bringing these bands to town. There's nothing like a live performance. We really enjoy getting to meet the musicians and to make new friends. We are glad to do what we can to provide a place for these fabulous artists to come and perform.
Ronny: What are some of the difficulties, pleasures of booking rockabilly acts?
KLU: Some of the difficulties are getting a good chunk of cash into the pockets of these wonderful travelling musicians. Our local crowd is small. The bands get the door fee, so with a small crowd, that means a small pay for the band. We know they are on the road and could really use the travelling cash. So, this is one of the hardest and most disappointing aspects of booking.
However, the pleasures far outweigh the difficulties. We have found the rockabilly band members to be down-to-earth, pleasant and very likeable folks. Oh, we've met a fair share of the more rebellious types too. We can truly say we have enjoyed everyone that we have met. It's all about music. That's the draw. That's what pulls us all together. Rockabilly music offers honest, passionate music that moves the soul. That's what so fabulous to share with others.
Ronny: Mike, you were telling me about seeing Johnny Carroll. Can you give us the specifics about this?
Mike: There was this place called the Atic but it was really in the basement of this other club back home in Ft. Worth, TX. First we started looking though this window that overlooked the stage. You could hardly see anything but shadows but you could hear the music great! He would play there almost every weekend. Then when we got a little older we would sneak in and see him. What I remember most was the energy of this man, not to mention the room.
Ronny: Did you see any other rock' n' roll legends in the 60's - 70's?
MayBee Baby - Due to circumstances beyond my control (parents) I was unable to get out for live concerts. Then at 16, I ran away from Chicago and made it to the Woodstock festival. However, I did start out my musical education with Elvis. The first 45 that I bought on my own was Rock A Hula Baby, and the first album I bought on my own was Pot Luck Charm. I really wasn't aware of rockably until I met Texas Mike in 1997.
Texas Mike - Well I've seen the big "E" in Hawaii, Chuck Berry a number of times, The Killer Jerry Lee twice 71 & 85, Johnny Cash twice 71 & 83. Johnny Caroll more than I can say.
Ronny: May, how did you meet Mike, and I know you liked rock' n' roll, gospel and hillbilly music even before you met Mike.
Mike and May at Rancho Ronny
MayBee Baby: My daughter, Leyla, was managing the largest Tattoo Shop here in Las Vegas. Texas Mike was one of the artists there. Leyla had come to know Mike as a good and honest guy. She told me that Mike was like an old teenager just like me. Turned out, we had a lot in common. We went out on a few dates, and got bit by the rock n roll love bug. Several months later, we had a fabulous pink and black rockabilly wedding. The ceremony was graciously hosted by the author of this article at the famous Rancho Ronny.
Ronny: Who are some of your favorite rockabilly artists today, and why?
MayBee Baby - There are so many. I have to put Johnny and The Blades on my top ten list. Johnny's vocals are smooth and inviting, while his lyrics are constantly entertaining. Mack Stevens uniquely insane songwriting skills and one-of-a-kind voice. I love western swing, so The Lucky Stars are one of my favs. Their music moves me into another time, another place from way back when. For guitar pickin, I move towards Deke Dickerson, and Chuck Hughes (Hillbilly Hellcats). For high energy live performance it's The Three Bad Jacks and The Blue Moon Boys. For the feminine touch I can always listen to Marti Brom who delivers punch and passion with her songs. Nearest and dearest is Dragsrip 77. I have had the pleasure of watching them evolve into a top notch act.
Texas Mike - I have to say Three Bad Jacks (bad ass guitar and vocals) Mack Stevens (pshyco man great writing) The Luck Stars come to mind along with all the artist from Rollin' Rock are the tops, some of the best bands in this field come out of there. Deke rates way up there and I dont have to say why. Big Sandy rules best vocals ever. Frantic Finstones just a way out band. But my fav. of all would have to be BR5-49 this band has it all the talent and I havent heard a bad song come from these guys at all, the real deal!
Ronny: What are the future plans and hopes for Kats Like Us?
KLU: I really would like to see the crowd grow even bigger and we do intend to keep putting on the Pre-Post Viva Las Vegas shows. We will be putting on some Saturday shows. But what I really would like to do is to turn the Battle Of The Rockabilly Bands over Memorial day weekend into a weekender starting on Fri., Sat., then the battle on Sun. and everyone can be home to recover on Mon. But that's a fantasy. Maybe someday.
Ronny: Thank you very much!
Kats like Us can be contacted at
Always Rollin' The Rollin' Rock,E-Mail Ronny at Rollin' Rock
Rockin' Ronny Weiser
The Rockabilly Rebel Westerner From Las Vegas, The Wild Wild West!
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Original Cool's Ronny Weiser Interview
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Col. #33 for 05/00 - VIVA LAS VEGAS 2000 PIX!
Col. #32 for 04/00 - DRAGSTRIP77: TEARIN' IT UP!
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Col. #27 for 11/99 - AN UPDATED IMPROVED SOUND?
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Col. #22 for 6/99 - FINLAND IS A ROCKABILLY LAND!
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Col. #20 for 4/99 - ROCKABILLY REBEL: A SHORT HISTORY
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Col. #17 - 12/98 - INTERNATIONAL ROCKABILLY REBELS MEET & GREET
Col. #16 - 11/98 - GROOVEY JOE POOVEY: Reminiscing
Col. #15 - 10/98 - CHARLIE FEATHERS
Col. #14 - 9/98 - NARVEL FELTS AT ROLLIN' ROCK!
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Col. #12 - 7/98 - THE JORDANAIRES
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Col. # 5 - 12/97 - LAS VEGAS IS A 1950's TOWN
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Col. # 3 - 10/97 - FATS DOMINO
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Col. # 1 - 8/97 - 25 YEARS OF ROLLIN' ROCK RECORDS