Sunday, January 31, 2010

Washington and Murphy, Sunnyvale, CA Whisky A Go Go, August 1965 The Leaves

Recently we had been conducting archaeological digs into the little known San Francisco branch of West Hollywood's Whisky A Go Go. At the same time, I had commented in passing about a curious venue in suburban Sunnyvale (between San Jose and Palo Alto) called Wayne Manor. Wayne Manor was rock and soul dance club modeled on a Batman theme, with the club outfitted as the Bat Cave and the waitresses dressed like Bat Girl.

We were startled to receive email from the son of the Wayne Manor operator, the late Joe Lewis. Besides a treasure trove of information on the Wayne Manor itself, which had opened in February 1966. He startled us with the information that the venue had actually opened in Summer 1965 as a Sunnyvale branch of the Whisky A Go Go, offering as proof an amazing photo of the Joel Scott Hill Trio (with Bob Mosley, Johnny Barbata and Joni Lyman) playing the club, right underneath the logo.

The younger Mr. Lewis was also kind enough to send along some other promotional photos, one of which I am publishing here. These photos appear to have been promotional photos taken during or right after the club was opened, probably between July and September 1965. While I think this photo was staged for the cameras, since the real club was much darker, its nonetheless the real band and the real physical setup. I have posted this not only to marvel at it, but to consider a few things about the 1965 rock era:
  • The group is The Leaves, who were a popular Hollywood club band signed by Pat Boone. Their logo was a marijuana leaf, to the amusement of the few who recognized it. I assume the band members at this time were Jim Pons (bass), Bill Rhinehart (guitar), Robert Lee Reiner (guitar), John Beck (vocals) and Tom Ray (drums, not visible, possibly not even in the photo).
  • Note the tiny amount of equipment. There appear to be two amps for both guitars and the bass, and I don't see any drum mikes. I assume there was some sort of house PA for the vocals.
  • Note the dj booth. Whatever records were stacked up there would probably be an eBay goldmine now.
  • Check out the Go-Go girl fashions, a style originally made popular by the Hollywood Whisky. Both of the women are quite attractive, but neither the clothes nor the hairstyles look particularly flattering today
The Sunnyvale Whisky A Go Go was only open under that name until February 1966, when it became Wayne Manor.

(h/t Garth for the photo)


  1. I have a business card for their Sunday Battle Of The Bands. Maybe you can see it here

  2. Ron, that is a pretty amazing link. Do you think Chocolate Watch Band and The Jaguars were "headliners" or participating in the Battle?

    Didn't you have a Sunday night radio show on KSJO or KOME-fm back in the 70s?

  3. Ron, would you mid if we used the image on the Wayne Manor page?

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