Kats to pounce on Riverside
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ROCK'S FELINES
Freddy Moore. Top Kat.
"I had a cat I kept indoors and he'd sit in the window all day long watching cats and other creatures walk around and freaking out -- 'If only I could get out there and be like them.' And I realized that's what we were all doing--sitting at home going, 'If only I could be out there right now.' That's what the whole Kats was about, so I wrote a song about it."
Freddy Moore, lead singer and guitarist of the L.A. based rock group the Nu Kats, is sitting on a seat-worn couch in his manager's office. His brother Bobbyzio, the multi-instrument player in the group (sax, guitar, keyboards and maracas), is hunched in a chair nearby. The high ceiling room is furnished in two corners, the walls are cracked in some places and peeling in others. You have to start somewhere.
Moore is the main creative force behind the group, writing almost all of their material. "I was always a songwriter," he says. "I never thought about being a guitarist or a singer or anything. I just wanted to be a songwriter. I stayed in my room for about five years playing 'em to myself, hundreds and hundreds of songs, millions of songs. Finally some people--it was real weird--some people that were in a band walked by my window, this is the honest-to-God truth, and they wanted to learn some of my songs. So all of the sudden I was this lead singer and guitarist in this band."
Moore's initial impetus as a songwriter was derived from the music he listened to as a kid in Minneapolis, such things as The Who, The Kinks and The Beatles. "I couldn't seem to get enough of the songs I liked so I wrote my own," he says.
Everything I write is a strictly emotional reaction," he says. "It's all from the heart and it's all about me basically."
The album the band has made as The Kats (They recently lost their guitarist Pete McRae and were renamed The Nu Kats) is pounding out of a boom box stereo across the room. "Lost My TV Guide" is scratching its way into our ears.
"You have to realize," says Freddy, "I came home and I couldn't find it (the TV Guide) and I absolutely ripped the house to pieces and I got very upset. I thought it was pretty absurd that I did that. Man versus machine you know."
Moore makes no pretensions about being something that is unattainable to the average person. "I came to a point in my life," he says, "where I realized I'm not a hairy chested Las Vegas kind of guy, so I can't do that kind of music, right? I'm not some virtuoso jazz guitarist, so I can't go around tryin' to be the greatest guitarist. What I always was and what I always sat down and wrote was rock songs because I like 'em."
"When I was a kid I used to put on certain records and play them over and over and it was like the whole meaning of life was listening to those records." The meaning of life for him now is to make records like that of his own. But there have been some rough spots.
"Every time you change personnel you have to start all over again. Fortunately for us, we're starting all over, but it's like we're one step ahead (all of the band's present members, Freddy, Bobbyzio, Dennis Peters on bass, and Al Galles on drums, have played together before The Kats). For some reason people are really responding to us being a four-piece unit."
"Performing come real natural to us. We're real fluent performers. I mean it's something I don't even think about. It's like going to the bathroom."
Bobbyzio comes out of his meditative, cigarette smoking withdrawal for a few moments when the subject of performing and crowd reaction to the group arises.
"When you play a new song the audience immediately rejects it--'Why don't you play a hit?' so you have to give it time."
But if changes are eventually needed, they are made. "If everything goes right," says Freddy, "the audience should be standing on the tables."
On stage the group has been known for its wild antics and almost frenzied showmanship, and it has often led to interesting situations.
"I jumped out into the audience," says Freddy relating a junior high school performance, "and was immediately lifted up by 25 girls and carried into the girl's restroom while the song is going on!"
"The same thing happened at the Starwood," says Bobbyzio. "He came back with his pants off."
"They pulled my pants off!"
The group is continually offers from record companies to record an album, but as of yet those offers have not been attractive enough for them. They're hoping that with their new personnel change and the new sound that has evolved as a result, that this aspect of their career will change.
"The record companies and everybody are real excited about this new sound," Freddy says. "It's more simple rock. There's no jazz at all which some people were sayin' was there but which I didn't hear at all myself. But now it's like simple rock."
Blow Bobbyzio, blow!
The whole point is to make a deal that gives you the best chance at succeeding. Your whole life is wrapped up in this, so you gotta do it right."
"It's no big deal to get a record out. But to get a record out to lots of people, one that they like and sit at home and listen to is a big deal. I don't want to make an album that only 5,000 people like, because, what's the point?"
The Nu Kats will be appearing at UC Riverside this Saturday night at 8:15 and 10:15 pm.