by Gem Hotvet
In the art world the love for cats runs deep. Recently, I stumbled upon an article detailing the upcoming Sotheby's auction of an insane 40 cat portrait that is expected to sell for somewhere between $200,000 to $300,000. My favorite author, Tom Robbins, even alluded to the coolness of cats and used them as a metaphor for crazy wisdom in his essay In Defiance Of Gravity. He writes, “"I can't believe...that I'm talking to the man who barked on Big Mama Thornton's recording of 'Hound Dog'!" "Yeah," the grizzled sideman drawled, "I was gonna meow-s but it was too hip for 'em."”
It seems that musicians are especially susceptible to their charms. Music news featuring cats and memes are perennial features of the online music community, and David Teie even composed some music for cats. Danzig’s love for kitties is a beloved and never ending joke inside his fanbase. All over the web you’ll find photo albums full of rappers cuddling their cats, heavy metal types posting with their kitties, and there’s even a Tumblr dedicated to photos of indie musicians with their cat buddies.
While researching for this article I asked Rob Martinez of Flower Jesus Quintet what his favorite song about a cat was. He showed me the song "If You Rescue Me", a sweet little Lou Reed song specially adapted for The Science Of Sleep. It’s a love song from a feral kitty to its human friend. James Woodard of The Grasshopper Lies Heavy said that "All Cats Are Grey" is both the best song about cats and the best song by The Cure. Glenn Hotvet, my husband, pointed out Morphine’s "Sheila". It’s a song about a witch who casts a spell on her feline familiar.
I was terribly fortunate to snag the fantastically talented Deradoorian for a performance at K23 while she was touring this summer. She was the Dirty Projectors’ bassist and brought the weirdo element in psych-horror project Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks. After her set we were talking about their song Little Fang, a dancy spooky ode to a wonderful friend and definitely my favorite track on Welcome To The Slasher House. It’s reminiscent of a creepy haunted carnival viewed through a foggy funhouse mirror. She told us that was about their cat. Their kitty had a tooth that hung over its lip, and is depicted in the video for the song. I can’t help but it see in my mind's eye every time I hear the line “You’re always flashing your teeth.”
Run The Jewels revealed their affection for cats recently when they announced last year’s Run The Jewels 2. They joking offered a premium $40,000 pre-order option that offered the opportunity to commission a full remix of the record using nothing but kitty meows and purrs. They didn’t count on it being crowdfunded, but they came through (even auditioning the featured felines personally) and it’s pure magic. You can download it here for free.
I also was lucky to get Austin psych rock mainstays Hidden Ritual to play a show for K23 at The Ten Eleven recently. I got to hear their song Judy for the first time, which appears on Zebra Bottle, their new cassette out on Monofonus Press on 10/23. Judy is Jaime Zurverza’s little black cat (pictured above) that ran away from home. The song has a groovy darkness, a steady rhythm and is dreamy like a nightmare is dreamy. The first verse details a list of feline comforts that he has at his place for Judy. “I got fresh water, I got warm house, I got soft pillows, and I got hot food, what am I missing?” Sounds like the only thing you need is a little catnip to me.