Volume 91, Issue 28

Friday, October 17, 1997

pigskin pummel


These Fat Cats are frisky

Gazette file photo

By Kent McKee
Gazette Staff

With a loyal and devoted following of fanatics in southern Ontario and the West coast, the Fat Cats have accomplished almost five years of energetic improvising without their fingers falling off.

"It's everybody's scene'" claims Todd Gillies, vocalist and guitarist of the jam band which seems to have the natural ability to include the crowd as one of their musicians. "The music works best when everyone's involved."

The Fat Cats are a compilation of generous goons that delight in focusing their entire lives around music. "At some point you gotta decide what you want to do with your life. This is the only thing I really like, when I'm doing it I'm not thinking of it as work," Gillies remarks. The goals of the band are made clearer when he continues, "We never take money from what we do. We always put it back into the band."

Another goal of the band is to provide more variety and choice of musical style to the world. Although Gillies thinks people are tired of having grunge music shoved down their throat, he believes there is more selection than ever before. "Right now everything is popular," he states.

Although Gillies mainly writes lyrics around his problems and self- loathing, his main objective is ambiguity. "Everything can be taken many different ways," he states. "Sometimes (the listener) is thinking of something with a completely different meaning than what I'm singing about."

The Fat Cats have a fat family. "Every place seems to be very familiar because there is all these familiar faces," says Gillies. Even when they are travelling, the band members seem to know people. "Touring is pretty much a paid vacation."

Although the band recorded a CD a few years ago, they don't bother trying to sell it because they all hate it. Gillies says it was an "expensive lesson to learn" and he has about 100 of them sitting beside some rotting parsnips in his closet.

Despite the setbacks, the band moves forward. They are currently putting together a new CD and plan to tour extensively in Canada and the United States next year. According to Gillies, their developing sound is "rougher and earthier sounding." Contributing to the growth of their new sound is their recent acquisition of two drummers. Although some bands have trouble with only one drummer, Gillies says the two "compliment each other and play well together."

The Fat Cats are not just contributors to the Grateful Dead scene. Rather, they are founders of a new genre of jam music. "Our music appeals to a variety of people. We like to get everyone out there with somewhat of an open mind; not thinking we're some kind of dated '60s jam band. We're constantly going, doing something new, but still we're jammers."

"I'm sure there's some songs we've played thousands of times," muses Gilles, "but you've still gotta make it different every time."

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997