Wednesday, March 08, 2006

a new millenium signature from the likes of 1980

The year was 1980. What a grand time to be in Fort Worth. No sarcasm intended, it was really a rockin’ scene. Zero’s new wave Lounge was in full swing and on any given weekend one could witness the likes of The Telefones, The Ralphs, NCM or The Fort Worth Cats. Even Lester Bangs showed up there one night. X played there.
Myself? I had been playing in a punk band that decided to start playing R&B and kicked the rhythm guitarist out because of his slightly out-of-the-norm style of playing. I took a stand and said I would quit if he was out, thinking that would calm things down and I could keep playing songs I wrote. Wrongo! I was kicked out the following day, but am still friends with the guy that carried the hatchet.
It was only a couple of months later that found me sitting in Zero’s and watching The Ralphs, who’s bass player informed me that the Cats were in search of a new bassist.
I interviewed with ½ Nelson and was given a tape to listen to in order to learn the material.
I don’t think I ever admitted to this to the guys, but I stayed up at least 20 hours going over those damn tunes. At the first rehearsal, when asked if I had listened to it, I shrugged and said I heard parts of it while driving around. A blatant lie, but they seemed impressed that I managed to follow along so well. Ha he ha!
The ex-bassist had been nicknamed Squid. All the other guys were at least 10 years my senior, so I was quickly dubbed – Kid.
My first gig with the Cats was July 4th, 1980 with a sold out crowd and it would have been the perfect evening had some dude not been standing off to the side of the stage shouting that he was going to kick my ass and that I sucked.
Turns out that he was a friend of Squid’s and felt somewhat betrayed by my brazen attempt to replace him. Squid, by the way was always nice and, I must say, a bad-assed bassist. I have no idea whatsoever as to what became of him.
Anyway, we were in the studio a few months later and recorded something like 25 songs or so and picked 14 of them to actually wind up on vinyl. All the sessions took place at something like 2:00 AM until 5:00 AM.
We did a photo shoot over at D. Matthews’ pad and decided we would do a remake of the infamous Beatles’ meat and butcher smock pic. That was to be the inside cover, but two days later, John Lennon was shot and we decided it in poor taste to use it.
Instead, we put in a lyric sheet with the other side being a drawing by Icicle of a man wrestling a panther. Cool drawing as it can be turned any which way and it still works.
Funny thing; the TV was on and it was an old black and white one. The screen kept shaking and jumping around and I joked that the movie on must be ‘Earthquake at OK Corral.’ Icicle jumped on the unintentional cue and suggested that to be the name of the LP.
To finally get to the point, a cat goes by the moniker of Stash Dauber found one of these albums at ½ Price books the other day and actually requested that I sign it next time I am in the vicinity of the panther city. Of course I will. That’s the nicest request I’ve had since, well, 1981 - the year the record actually made it to the shelves.
The Fort Worth Cats never really broke up. We just do not play together anymore due to living in different cities and sometimes in different countries.
The Cats’ lineup was and is ½ Nelson, Johnny Icicle, Kid Daniel and Johnny Johncock.

PS – The guy who was yelling at me in a threatening tone bought me a beer a week later and apologized. 1980.


Blogger The Stash Dauber said...

nice snippet of fw music history

much is now explained

i remember squid

i must not have actually seen you play w/the cats, since by mid-1980 i was living in austin


10:58 AM  

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