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Freddy Moore Is The Kats' Meow
By Laurie Bereskin. 1979.

Frederick G. Moore is the San Fernando Valley's answer to England's Jeff Lynne, the guiding influence behind the Electric Light Orchestra. Although ELO's orchestrated pop style bears absolutely no resemblance to the rocky bebop sound of Moore's group, The Kats , the two bands have one thing in common -- strong leadership.

Like Lynne, Moore functions as his band's lead singer, rhythm guitarist, sole composer and conceptual designer. But Moore carries his role as star cat one step further. Onstage he's riveting, especially when he unstraps his guitar midway through each set. Unencumbered, Moore prowls the stage in search of his quarry. He often bypasses his fellow band members -- younger brother Bobbyzio (sax), Dennis Peters (bass and vocals), Al Galles (drums and vocals), and Pete McRae (lead guitar) in favor of forays into the audience.

Young girls respond by enticing Moore toward them with promises of cat food tidbits from Purina and Friskies boxes. The other Kats are pelted with handfuls of dry kibble while Moore bounds back on stage, scrambles on top of an amplifier, and makes a dramatic feline leap, marking the end of one song and signaling the beginning of the next.

When it comes to everyday life, however, Moore's nervous system slips into a relaxing lower gear. Stripped of his flamboyant stage mannerism's, he comes across as an affable fellow, who looks rather intellectual due to the thick black rimmed glasses he wears when not performing. And it soon becomes apparent that his appearance is not deceiving since Moore's conversational wit reveals a sharp mind.

The Kats uniqueness id largely the result of one of Moore's most engaging concepts -- an individual appropriately named Freddy, an underdog or in this case an underKat. Buoyed by the band's good-natured rock 'n' roll vibes, this song pattern eventually evolved into a rock opera of sorts. The theme is so subtly presented that Moore's songs do not seem contrived, unlike many rock concepts. "We don't serve up a plot per se but each number ties into the next," explains Moore. "Freddy's problems continually crop up throughout the group of songs we perform during each set."

Moore says he has enlarged upon his own personality to create the character he portrays on stage. "Freddy's just an inexperienced little guy who's not really cool but constantly tries to convince his friends, as well as himself, that he truly is a cool individual. I used to be and probably still am, a nervy, punky kid living in suburbia always fantasizing about being where the action is."

I am, living in Arleta and its all happening on the Sunset Strip. That's the message behind "Street Life " in which Freddy sings of his longing to escape from the dull routine of middle-class suburban life."

"He dreams about hanging out in an area like the West Hollywood rock scene but his dad won't let him have the car, his friends won't cart him out there and he's too chicken to hitchhike. So Freddy has to stay home and live vicariously by reading rock magazines. Our theme song, 'The Kats' relates directly to this situation of being stuck inside like a house cat who's only desire is to jump through the screen door and join all the free roaming alley cats outside."

Of course Moore is no longer stranded in suburbia. He may live in the northern outskirts of the Valley but his present status as lead singer in a popular local attraction is anything but dull. In the song "My Life's In The Bag ," Moore poses the question: Where do we go from here?

The answer to Moore's question appears obvious. The Kats, who are on the verge of signing a recording contract, are more than ready to graduate from the local L.A. rock scene. These five Kats are already flexing their claws, eager to compete in the tough professional music business arena.