Satan’s Cats, a collaboration between UK punk band Satan’s Rats and singer Puss Johnson of Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons, have announced plans for a self-titled debut EP to be released November 4 by Salamander Records. Available on CD and download, the EP will feature five songs, including four reworkings of vintage Satan’s Rats tracks and a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “The Rocker.” Pre-order at Bandcamp
Satan’s Cats includes three members of Satan’s Rats: guitarist Steve Eagles (founding member in 1977), drummer Olly Harrison, and bassist Dave Sparrow. When the Rats dissolved in 1978, the trio invited Wendy Wu to sing and rebranded themselves as The Photos. Following much media attention and a record company bidding war, they signed with Epic Records. The Photos’ debut album reached #4 in the UK charts.
For this 2022 EP, the three Rats have collaborated with vocalist Puss Johnson, from the incendiary rock band Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons. PATDJs released their fourth studio album through Hound Gawd! Records in 2020.
“During Covid lockdown, Olly suggested that we should reform the Rats with Puss,” said Eagles. “When I reacquainted myself with the songs, I was instantly excited and wrote Olly back to say, ‘Yeah, let’s go!’ The band had one rehearsal with Puss to just sort out which key each song would be in. Puss has a strong presence, and she sounds great on these tracks.”
The EP features four classics from the Rats’ repertoire — “You Make Me Sick,” “Facade,” “Sex Object,” and “Year of the Rats” — chosen mainly by Johnson and Harrison. It was discussed whether Johnson liked the song, whether it was suitable for her kind of delivery, and whether the lyrics needed to be updated. “Sex Object” received the biggest overhaul. “We tried out seven or eight old Satan’s Rats songs and the four that sounded the most immediate made the cut for recording,” said Eagles. “As for the cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Rocker,’ Olly saw something in it that would suit Puss’ voice and attitude.”
In 1978, “You Make Me Sick” and “Year of the Rats” were the band’s second and third singles for DJM Records, a company named after the music business veteran (Dick James Music) who had originally signed Elton John. During their brief existence, the Rats played many of the famous punk clubs of the day —The Roxy in London, Barbarella’s in Birmingham — and shared bills with Slaughter and the Dogs, XTC, the Killjoys, Suburban Studs, The Drones, and many others.
Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of their career happened December 21, 1977, when they opened for The Sex Pistols at Club Lafayette in Wolverhampton (UK). The Rats were called back for an encore.
After Satan’s Rats and The Photos, Eagles spent time as guitarist with the post-punk/no wave jazz band, Blurt, and in the 1990s, Bang Bang Machine. The latter group’s “Geek Love” single (Parallel Records) was voted number one on John Peel’s “Festive Fifty” list for 1992. Harrison went on to become a filmmaker having his work shown at Cannes and the British Film Institute. Dave, alongside his charity work, is now a luthier and a member of the band The Pleasuredome.
As for the future, Eagles says “Satan’s Cats is all about having some fun. If there’s enough interest in the EP, I could see it leading to an album.”