Slim Jim Phantom is heading back to Australia with Glen Matlock and Earl Slick.
Throwback Thursday recalls Mary Boukouvalas’ interview with Slim Jim.
Mary Boukouvalas rock n rolls with legendary Stray cats’ drummer Slim Jim Phantom.
Renowned for his unique style of stand-up drumming, rockabilly icon Slim Jim Phantom is back in Melbourne this week –and he’s bringing with him guitar ace and vocalist Darrel Hingham. Slim Jim Phantom has worked with some of the world’s top artists and continues to inspire and excite new audiences. But what really made (and still makes) this King of Cats tick?
MB: What inspired you to become a musician?
SJP: “I never wanted a real job – I wanted to travel – I loved hanging out and being part of a common goal with the guys – and I was pretty good at It.”
MB: What was the first single or record you bought?
SJP: “It was Schools Out (Alice Cooper), the one that came with a pair of panties. My father was really angry that I used the money my grandmother gave me for my confirmation to buy it.”
MB: Favourite band of all time? Who are your idols/heroes? Have you met any of your heroes? If yes, describe the meeting.
SJP: “There are too many bands to mention – all the original rock and rollers – Elvis, Gene and Eddie, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee, Chuck Berry, Little Richard – I’m leaving out a bunch – I also love The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Led Zeppelin, The Clash, The Damned and the Pistols – I’ve met and have become friendly with most of the ones I’ve mentioned and many of the other rockabilly heroes, except the obvious ones that aren’t meet-able – then there is of course, Lemmy.”
MB: I saw The Stray Cats at The Palace in 1990, when you headlined, and you were fantastic. You also supported an Australian singer – Jimmy Barnes- that year. To me, that seemed a very mismatched line-up. When Lee Rocker was here last month he recalled an ugly incident with Jimmy Barnes. Can you remember the incident or how the support slot came about?
SJP: “1990 is a long time ago – I remember having a great tour – I have a feeling you remember or have heard something I do not recall, and you are fishing – remind me if we meet.”
MB: Since The Stray Cats, you have been in many other bands, and always with exceptional musicians. How were those experiences? Please comment on your involvement in some of the following: Dead Men Walking, Phantom, Rocker & Slick, 13 Cats, The Head Cat, and now Darrel Higham.
SJP: “Slick is indeed a great musician – playing with talented people is always a joy, regardless of individual style – I play like me every time, on a few occasions it has worked out really well – I have the tapes to prove it. I met Darrel in green bay at the 50’s fest – it’s put on by my pal Phil Doran – it’s the best fest. Dead Men Walking came out of friendship – Mikey Boy Peters is one of my oldest and dearest friends – he pitched me this idea and I agreed before he had finished asking – I am/was also friends with Glen Matlock and Kirk Brandon – all pals forever – Captain Sensible joined last year – it re-invented itself – we’ve done an original album which should be out soon – it is a truly extraordinary album – you will hear it.”
“Lemmy and I have just done some gigs in the states and in Mexico – we are doing more next year – another incredible cat – a true eccentric and a real rock and roller – one of a kind – who else but me can say they are in bands with both Lemmy and Captain Sensible?”
“Edmunds was a very important person for us – helped create our sound – put us at ease in the studio – I was a teenager in a big studio for the first time – he let us play, which was what we are great at and were comfortable with – he rolled the tape – we cut runaway boys and rock this town in one night – it’s held up pretty good.”
MB: Did you enjoy touring with the Stray Cats in 2002?
SJP: “Yes, I enjoyed playing with the Stray Cats again.”
MB: How do you feel you’ve matured musically as an individual?
SJP: “I don’t know if I’ve matured – I’m probably gotten better at it – there is something to be said for being young and not thinking about it so much.”
MB: What was the inspiration behind your latest release, Kat Men? Is there a theme with the lyrics?
SJP: “We did Kat Men at my other pal Glibly Clarke’s redrum studio – came out great – for sale at the gigs and on-line.”
MB: Do you find your life is sometimes restricted?
SJP: “I don’t quite know what restricted means – you have to work and take care of your family – musically you do what you do – I basically play the same as I always have and I have worked for a long time.”
MB: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
SJP: “I’ve only ever played music – I’ve made a living at it since I was kid – I don’t know how do anything else – you got a job for me?”
MB: What are your ideas on the politics of today? Do you think music can be used as a way to promote ideals/ideas?
SJP: “I’m very politically minded, well read and in tune with current events- you have to be – anti-war all the way – the powers that be have made a real disaster of the world by trying to push their beliefs and feelings on the rest of us – it doesn’t really represent how a majority of the world thinks – everyone can help – cast your vote, be heard – it’s so easy to help – check out one.org.”
MB: What can Melbourne audiences expect from this tour?
SJP: The set list is a few of Cats’ songs, some off the new record and some family favourites.
Stand-up drummer extraordinaire, Slim Jim Phantom, plays The Corner in Melbourne on Sunday 12th November.
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GLEN MATLOCK + EARL SLICK + SLIM JIM PHANTON
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