Ratcat

THE WATERFRONT LIFE

By STUART COUPE, 14-12-93

"PERSONALLY I've had a quite fine time," says chief Ratcat person Simon Day of the band's last couple of years which have seen them on a topsy turvy roller-coaster ride from seemingly overnight stardom to the current situation where they appear to be gently treading water in preparation for their next assault.

"IT'S almost a matter of things calming down," he continues. "That was quite a welcome on my part because things got really crazy here for a long time. In terms of the band we've had our ups and downs but I think we're riding it through, and they were just things that had to happen."

SO was the craziness Day's referring to a case of increasing pressure on Ratcat--or the inevitable personality implosions that regularly seem to accompany such escalations in profile?

"EVERYTHING:' he says. "It goes from a situation where all ot a sudden you're working harder than you ever have, and you've got a number - of people wanting you to do a number of things, all at the same time. Then there's the show of course, and the added pressure of that means you might go out abit later each night (laughs). You know what I'm saying. And the rest of it builds up to a sort of Aaaarrrgggghhhhh. That's the only way I know to express it."

POSSIBLY as a bit of therapy, and to placate more recent fans, Day has gone back and assembled all of Ratcat's early, pre-rooArt, recordings for CD release as Informer 80:629 (1986 to 1989, get it?!). What's more the CD is not on rooArt but through Shock's Current label.

"OH yeah, totally," he says in response to a question about how happy they are with rooArt.

"rooArt are a wonderful label. We get along with all the people there like a house on fire. We don't have a problem at all with rooArt, or MMA for that instance. They know about this release. We approached them first and told them what we wanted to do, and they were all cool. Whether we do or not is another story but we're a band that doesn't like to put people offside in our relationships.

IN many ways for Day this release represents the whole Ratcat saga coming full circle, something that was brou~ht home to him during the mastering tor Informer. "THE guy who englneered the mastering with me was actually the guy that me and the first bassplayer, Victor, did our first recordings with:" Day says.

'WE went to his house and recorded on his 4-track maching He went to school wlth us. He's taken a tew steps up and so have we."

THE idea for Intormer was one that Day had been kicking around tor a while--but with the pressure ot the past tew years probably had little tlme to do anything about. The malorlty of the records, released originally on the Waterfront label, haven't been available tor a long time. What remaining vinyl copies existed at the time of the rooArt deal soon disappeared when Ratcat hit big, as new fans scurried to pick 'em up.

SOME of those releases, like their first six track EP, command prices of around $70 on the collectors market, something that Day says doesn't concern hlm too much but then adds in a contradictory statement, "It annoys me that people have to pay that much money to get a hold of something that they really shouldn't have to pay that much for."

AND Informer contains some pretty scarce items, like one track that was released on the Waterfront Volume 3 album "which very few people will have I imagine. The rest is the first EP, the next two singles, and This Nightmare and a couple of other tracks that were bonus tracks at that stage."

ASIDE from the compiling of Informer, and work on the new album, Day and Ratcat are keeping themselves busy. The band still plays somewhere most weekends, usually in the suburbs or outside Sydney.

DAY'S busy with his other artistic pursuits, having a painting in the Big Day Out's travelling exhibition of Contemporary Australian Musician's Art where his work will hang alongside contributions from Tex Perkins, Reg Mombassa, Ray Ahn, Jodie Phill is, Pay Haynes and Fred Negro. He's also made a contribution to an exhibition of painted appliances - currently showing in Sydney.

Day and tellow Ratcats wlll launch Informer80:629 at The Annandale on Thursday December 16th.


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