|We all knew Tony Martin who ran Red
Hot Records, that’s how it started for us. He
arranged the meeting. Clint Bradley and Mitch Caws
met Carlo and Stef Edwards at the St Hellier Arms
in south London one morning in early 1980.
|From the first chord it clicked, man did it click!
Four teenagers full of expectation giving it some
in the front room of Stef and Carlo’s place.
We put together a set with Clive Osbourne(Rocking
Mont Oz) on Sax, to play at our first gig together
in Holland, The Eindhoven festival and it ROCKED!
The first gig, Eindhoven festival, Holland 1980
From the start we set about crafting our own
identity, The Blue Cats would not be a sound a like
band. We would take all the musical influences we
had together and create something new. This was
far from plain sailing, we had to deal with a lot
of opposition in the beginning, but it was our way
or nothing. That first gig in Holland was a great
We wanted to take Rockabilly on to another plain,
to pay homage to everything about it we loved but
also add the energy and vitality of our own contemporary
musical surroundings. The early eighties was an
exciting time to be forming a band regardless of
what music you were into. The whole post punk thing
was happening and new clubs were springing up all
over the place.
The Blue Cats - 1980
|Within months we had started to build our own following,
it was amazing how loyal they became. Remember at
that time there was no neo- Rockabilly/Psychobilly
scene, what we were trying to do was uncharted territory.
Rocking Mont Oz departed just before the release of
Wild Night and we became the Quartet that most of
Helsinki - 1980
|The release of ‘Wild Night’ and ‘Fight
Back in 1981’ finally established us as an independent
force, and we started to get support gigs with bands
like The Clash which in turn brought us to the attention
of the main stream music press. By the end of 1981
we were headlining our own sell out gigs all over
Europe. Then that we started to get interest from
major record companies. We could not consider any
of the label offers because we were contracted to
Rockhouse/Charly, but with the benefit of hindsight
maybe that was a good thing. At least it stayed pure.
|In April 1981 The Blue Cats, Wild Night,
was Single of the week in Sounds.
Another Cafe at 4am - 1981
Fight Back 1981
In the studio with Bert Rockhouse
Italian TV Show 1981
|By 1982 we were starting to get creatively
frustrated and began locking ourselves away to write
and rehearse new materiel. It was around this time
that we recorded the G MEN E.P. and played a few low
key gigs to try things out.
|"I'm having new drum skins this month, your
guitar strings will have to wait."
G-Men gig, London 1982
The G Men 1982
L to R Mitch, Clint, Carlo & Stef
The beginning of 1983
saw us starting to play gigs as BELTANE FIRE. It
was at this stage that Tim and Phil Polecat, along
with Tim’s Dad Barry came on board as our
The BELTANE FIRE set list consisted
of completely new and original songs, the sound
we had by then was unlike anything anyone had ever
heard before. But Rockabilly was still the base,
it was the foundation on which we built the house.
We intend to release the demo’s that we recorded
during that period in the future, so those who are
interested will be able to hear for themselves what
it was like before outside influences became involved.
The first BELTANE FIRE photo's 1983
By now we were playing
regular gigs at places like Dingwalls and the Rock
Garden, the buzz about the band was building at
a rapid pace and before long we started to get label
offers. By the summer of 1984 a bidding war for
‘Beltane Fire’ was underway. I don’t
think any of us would deny that it was exciting
to watch the advance offers going up day by day,
but we were young and naive and had know idea what
life would be like inside a major record company.
All it meant for us was the chance to get into a
decent studio and record in the way we’d always
wanted to. Whether or not signing to a label the
size of Sony was a good thing for a band as individual
as BELTANE FIRE is debatable. You have to remember
that this was the first time we’d ever had
the prospect of any real money in front of us. During
all our efforts with the ‘Blue Cats’
we’d earned very little, even buying simple
bits of equipment to keep us on the road was a struggle.
Now all of a sudden people were throwing hundreds
of thousands of pounds at us. What this gave to
us was the chance to concentrate full time on music
rather than shovelling shit on a building site during
the week. This game of cat and mouse between the
major labels could have gone on for months, the
80’s was the ‘hey day’ of THE
DEAL! But we all agreed we’d had enough, and
wanted to get on and make the record we had dreamt
about for so long. So on the 21st of August 1984
we signed to CBS (SONY) records for more Nelsonics
than any of us had ever seen.
Our A&R man, Jack Stevens understood
what the band about but we sensed that the rest
of the company were scratching their heads as to
what to do with us. We confused a lot of people
back then, which contrary to the ‘Looking
for Something Different’ philosophy that supposedly
exists within the music industry, we were just too
different! It’s been said since that we were
ahead of our time, but the long and short of it
is we just didn’t fit in.
The next few months were chequered
in terms of morale. The whole process of choosing
and recording the songs for the album was at times
painful and frustrating, there was a great deal
of compromise on DIFFERENT BREED.
Click image to read
the first review of "Different Breed"
|With the album finished we went back on the road,
and started to build a following and a good base for
the future. We were at our best live, it was the only
way for us to sell ourselves. But Sony were impatient
and wanted their investment back quickly, we weren’t
given the time we needed to build the name into a
serious force. BELTANE FIRE was the kind of band that
needed a slow build, if we had been given the time
to develop things would have been a lot different
Beltane Fire 1983 to 86
|The years from 1986 to 89 were a kind
of no fixed creative abode. We experimented a lot,
but nothing seemed to gel like it had in the past.
Then in 1989 we decided to give it one more shot and
re locate the band to America. Mitch decided not to
come with us and a period in our history ended.
|During that year we spent in the USA some of the
magic returned. We were now a three piece called ’Flame
of The West’, I was on bass and strangely enough
we became a unit again. Once more we were on our own
without any interference from outside influences.
We started to play around Connecticut and then New
York; we got a gig at CBGB’s after playing our
demo to an A&R man at Geffen records. He liked
what he saw and gave us some money for demo time.
We got close, but no cigar. Carlo cracked some of
the discs in his spine while jumping into a pool and
had to return to England for an operation.
Flame of The West 1989/91
|Back home we played some gigs around
London but just couldn’t seem to get back the
momentum we’d had in the USA. When the opportunity
to make a new Blue Cats album arose it made a welcome
respite from all the doubts and pondering on what
lay ahead .By now we had been introduced to the superb
bass playing talents of Paul Diffin, ‘Me Laddo’
fitted in a treat and low we were a quartet again.
|The writing and recording of The Tunnel was one
of the easiest projects we ever undertook together,
everything seemed to come together without any effort.
Looking back I suppose it was just us doing what came
naturally; we had nothing left to prove to anyone
we were simply enjoying ourselves. I remember when
Carlo and I were working on the songs together; it
was such a great vibe to be working on something that
we both found so instinctive.
After we’d finished The
Tunnel, we did a couple more tours together and
had some laughs but we all sensed that a natural
end was approaching. There were no cross words or
falling out, just a sad feeling that our wonderful
journey together was over. In 1993 we shook hands
and went off to pursue our own separate projects.
The Tunnel 1992
The Blue Cats 1993
The Blue Cats 1993
So now we fast forward
15 years and a strange set of circumstances see
the four of us walk on stage together at Hemsby
in May 2008. Without going into too much detail
I can tell you that a good deal of soul searching
went on before that gig took place. It was a very
emotional reunion for us, remember we had not seen
or spoken with each other in all that time. But
from the first chord at the rehearsal the magic
just filled the room, it was as if we had just stepped
out for a break in 1993 and walked back into 2008.
|Since that gig we have been inundated with requests
from fans around the world for more gigs and more
materiel, it has been a truly amazing experience to
read all your emails and words of encouragement, and
we thank you all so very much. Because at the end
of the day THE BLUE CATS belong to the fans, we have
never been an industry band or part of any particular
scene, we are just us, and it is you BLUE CAT people
who give us life.
So where do we go from
here? Well for the last year we have been writing
together with a view to making a new BLUE CATS album.
The vibe between us has been fantastic, there is
a freshness and creative buzz within the band that
has made us all sit back and think. We are under
no illusions, we are not trying to be 21 again but
we are a group of musicians who all share a common
bond and simply bloody well love playing together.
We genuinely feel the THE BLUE CATS have moved into
a third stage.
Early in 2011 Clint, Stef, and Carlo
met with Steve Whitehouse at arehearsal studio in
South London. The first song they played together
was ‘GOTTA GO’ it just felt so right,
as if they had always been a unit! And behold the
present BLUE CATS line up was born. Since then the
band have played a list of very successful gigs
across Europe. This stage, as with all our others,
will be different, but it will contain our soul
and our belief and that will make it THE BLUE CATS.
With a new album set to be released in late 2012,
the BLUE CATS are all systems GO!!!!!!!!