Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chateau Liberte, 22700 Old Santa Cruz Highway, Los Gatos, CA

The Chateau Liberte was a rock & roll bar in the Santa Cruz mountains.
An old stagecoach stop in the mid 19th century,
the all-wood building on stilts was originally built in 1865 and was a notorius speakeasy durung Prohibition.

In the 20th century it was an inn and restaurant owned by a family. From about 1947 to the mid 60's it was just a restaurant. It went through at least two owners in the 1960's.
While Janis Joplin never entertained there, she visited the Chateau with an entourage thinking to purchase the property. The old Dr. Moore out of San Francisco, who owned the place at the time wouldn't hear of it....he didn't like her.

The following piece of history is added by Pearl Regis, Owner/Operator of the lease at the Chateau along with her family. Prior to that name (Chateau Liberte) , it was called the Redwood Chateau 1965 - 1967 and then Chateau Regis (1967 - 1971) This is the period the Doobie Brothers and other legendary rock groups got their start or played there. It was not a "biker" bar until Jim Richardson bought the lease in 1971 and called it Chateau Liberte. The bar was a magical, rockin'-sockin' fun place to go and was patronized by the local Mountain Folk, Cowboys and equestrians, Professional people such as Airline Pilots, Doctors, Lawyers, Heavy Construction Equipment Operators, Artists, Scientists, Musicians, Poets, Families, "hippies" and other eclectic groups. It has since been demolished and rebuilt on the site of the old redwood building. The swimming pool was left in place, and could have been viewed as folks sat at the log-hewn bar.


A figure in the Chateau Liberte scene, Billy Dean Andrus, has been virtually
forgotten by rock history.   He was a lead guitarist who came out from
Mississippi and hung out with the Doobies and Skip Spence.   He performed in a
black leather band with Skip Spence and other local South Bay musicians in 1970
called Pachuco.  He died of a drug overdose on Thanksgiving Day 1970, and is
buried in Soquel graveyard - - near Santa Cruz.   Andrus is the inspiration for
the Doobies Brothers' number one hit "Black Water," and the song "Chicago" is
also dedicated to him on the first Doobies album. Skip Spence called him the
"best guitarist in the world."
They attracted a particularly strong following among local chapters of the Hells Angels and got a recurring gig at one of the bikers' favorite venues, the Chateau Liberte' in the Santa Cruz Mountains.



An old Wells Fargo stagecoach stop in the mid 19th century, the all-wood building on stilts was originally built in 1865 and was a notorius speakeasy, Chateau Boussy from 1920 to 1945.(1)

From about 1947 to the mid 1960's it was a family run restaurant.

It went through at least two owners in the 1960's.
While Janis Joplin never entertained there, she visited the Chateau with an entourage thinking to purchase the property. The old Dr. Moore out of San Francisco, who owned the place at the time wouldn't hear of it....he didn't like her.

The following piece of history is added by Pearl Regis, Owner/Operator of the lease at the Chateau along with her family.
Prior to that name (Chateau Liberte) , it was called the Redwood Chateau 1965 - 1967 and then Chateau Regis (1967 - 1971) This is the period the Doobie Brothers and other legendary rock groups got their start or played there. It was not a "biker" bar until Jim Richardson bought the lease in 1971 and called it Chateau Liberte. The bar was a magical, rockin'-sockin' fun place to go and was patronized by the local Mountain Folk, Cowboys and equestrians, Professional people such as Airline Pilots, Doctors, Lawyers, Heavy Construction Equipment Operators, Artists, Scientists, Musicians, Poets, Families, "hippies" and other eclectic groups. It has since been demolished and rebuilt on the site of the old redwood building. The swimming pool was left in place, and could have been viewed as folks sat at the log-hewn bar.

A figure in the Chateau Liberte scene, Billy Dean Andrus, has been virtually
forgotten by rock history.  He was a lead guitarist who came out from Mississippi and hung out with the Doobies and Skip Spence.   He performed in a black leather band with Skip Spence and other local South Bay musicians in 1970 called Pachuco.  He died of a drug overdose on Thanksgiving Day 1970, and is buried in Soquel graveyard - - near Santa Cruz.   Andrus is the inspiration for the Doobies Brothers' number one hit "Black Water," and the song "Chicago" is also dedicated to him on the first Doobies album.   Skip Spence called him the"best guitarist in the world." They attracted a particularly strong following among local chapters of the Hells Angels and got a recurring gig at one of the bikers' favorite venues, the Chateau Liberte' in the Santa Cruz Mountains.(3)
The cover of the first Doobie Brothers album was photographed in the bar and the Doobie's were regulars here before they hit it big with Manager Bruce Cohn at the helm.

In 2010, George Rabe currently owns and resides on 72 acres off the Old Santa Cruz Highway in the completely restored, and most recently the famous nightclub,The Chateau Liberte (1965-1975).(2)



Jerry performed here on
3/22/74 Merl Saunders
10/11/74 Merl Saunders
11/30/74 Merl Saunders




1.)^Selvin, Joel, San Francisco, the Musical History Tourm pg.171, http://books.google.com/books?id=hxCLmGXGuHIC&pg=PA122&lpg=PA122&dq=mandrake%27s+berkeley&source=web&ots=NZ6q3FFDUv&sig=6FCJXA_jzBE1M10hHIdWYQ6zgr8&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result#v=onepage&q=mandrake%27s%20berkeley&f=false
2.)^Singh, Gary, Chateau Liberte, 2010-07-28, http://www.metroactive.com/features/columns/silicon-alleys_20100728.html
3.)^http://www.answers.com/topic/the-doobie-brothers#ixzz1H5NSHONC

10 comments:

  1. I swear it was called Chateau Libertad in 1973 when I used to go there. I wondered then why they mixed spanish and french. I don't recall the pool but do remember a long muddy road and parking lot in Santa Cruz rain. One memorable concert was when Sonny Land Slim was playing piano and singing. The power went out and he stepped up his volume and kept the place rocking.

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  2. I was there for Johnny Winter and was dating a girl that was married to a Hells Angel.
    It was a crazy night and I had been on a heavy doze of LSD and drinking schnaps in honor of Johnny. As it got too crazy I decided to drive back to The Pit. It was raining and I couldn't see anything except double of everything. I pulled over on the side of 17 and just tried to focus. I could go on but I will say that Johnny Winter rocked and it was a grand time. I loved the Chateau. Great music. Damn hard to get back when you're high. One of many insane times but I lived----and I loved it.

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  3. Summer of '75,I rolled in to the Chateau from Atlanta.My buddy and I had just driven my "66 Dodge A100 across the country on my first adventure out west. We were on a mission to find his brother George who had been living in the hills after heading to Cali . dodging the draft. In the van, we had a brand new 20th anniversary White Les Paul, that my buddy Robert was bringing as a gift to his big brother. We sat down at the bar ordered a beer and eventually asked if anyone knew George .They all just looked at us with that blank look. Robert went out to the truck and grabbed the Les Paul opened it up on the bar and said" Does any body know George ,He's my brother and I have this brand new Les Paul for him". George was there in ten minutes. We stayed a couple of weeks in those hills ,playing softball with Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids against the Hell's Angels and having an all around blast.

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  4. We were there with Jorma, back in the day of going maximum with everything...glad we survived that phew!!!

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  5. I resided in the Boussy place (was a bunkhouse for stage drivers in the past) from '71 thru '74. I still have a few flyers advertising bands. There was a group picture of residents and friends on the front of the newsletter in which I appear. I hit a lot of music and party venues in the '60's and '70's but nothing topped the Chateau.

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  6. Went there with Doobie Brothers was under age and got in as a sister of one of them it was the start of some wonderful times

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  7. I used to live in Ben Lomand (1970-75) and frequented the Chateau Liberte many a time. Saw The Tubes there one night. What a show!! Saw Bob Weir and his side band play there one night. Since I had been a freshman at Menlo Atherton High school while he was a senior back in 1964 I talked to him after the concert. We had a nice chat and then I said. "Hey Bob, did you ever graduate from MA?" He was a little incensed "Yeah, I graduated!!" Those were the days.

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  8. I lived next door to the chateau thru the seventies until 85 when the Lexington fire hit. The chateau was truly something I will never forget many great bands wild parties you could hear the music at night thru the redwoods truly magical

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  9. I lived next door to the chateau thru the seventies until 85 when the Lexington fire hit. The chateau was truly something I will never forget many great bands wild parties you could hear the music at night thru the redwoods truly magical

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  10. Jan.74 a buddy and I dropped in for a beer late on a week night.We were the only people there.We were playing pool and I noticed the band stand was set up. Didn't think much about it till people started coming out to tune up. A few minutes later the band was playing a song and out from the back David Laflame walks out and proceeds to play a whole set. It was his new road band after Beautiful Day broke up. They were tuning up to go on the road. Great night,great music,and lots of beer.

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