Don't call it a comeback. While their I Hate the Music lovefest with Countdown legend John Paul Young might be Ratcat's first recording in memory, Simon Day insists his power-pop trio has just been in very low-key mode. "We played gigs earlier this year and plan to do more, including Homebake. It's more a revival. In fact, right now it's just a oneÄoff project and a few gigs, including Homebake. But we've never really split up", he insists. YET a good half-dozen years have quickly slipped by since the Sydney trio's barb-wired pop brought socalled "alternative" music into the loungerooms of the nation, via the smash single Don't Go now and the platnum-plus album Blind Love. Since then, such acts as You Am I, Regurgitator and most notably, Jebediah, have achieved similar chart glory with a comparable popcore sound. I say Jebediah, especially, because it turns out that Kevin, Frontman of this WA quartet, is a diehard Ratcat devotee.
JOE Seg, from Sydney promotion company IMC, confirms this to be true.
"Oh yeah, Kevin's a serious fan. In fact, the plan is to have Ratcat and Jebediah come together during Homebake."
COULD this be true? An all-star Homebake jam? Simon Day doesn't dismiss the rumour.
"JOE'S met them and he's hatching plans", he confesses, with a slightly nerivous laugh.
EARLIER this year, Ratcat booked a small scale Annandale show that turned into a full scale Ratcat revivalist's meeting, proof enough there's still loads of interest in the band. Day admits to being dazled by the response. "There were old people, young people hanging off the walls, it was amazing. Tickets were sold out at nine in the morning. I guess it was just a collection of all the transient people that have crossed our paths over the years."
"BUT I've never doubted the public's perception", an older, wiser Simon Day. adds. "Don Walker said to me, 'don't worry son, you'll be amazed at the good will that extends over time'. So I'll just wait and see."
"BUT once the machine starts, it goes at its natural pace, your life's organised for you", he adds, recalling how his world span out of control around the time of Blind Love's supernova success. "lt's an exciting ride and it's worth taking in as a life experience, but there are other things to do in life, too."
HENCE the fact it's been all quiet on the Ratcat front. That was, of course, until the Day, bassist Nic Dalton (he of Lemonheads/Half A Cow fame) and original drummer Andrew polin, decided to hunker down to record their duet with JPY on his I Hate The Music. The song's a standout from the soundtrack of the upcoming indie flick, Occasional Coarse Language, and is a surefire summer hit.
DAY admits it was quite a thrill meeting the Oz rock legend universaliy known as "Squeaky".
"HE'S excellent, a realiy good guy. I went up to the Alberts archives and found this photo of JPY and his band lying on this couch, and they looked like the roughest bunch you've ever seen. Says a lot about how rock'n'roll never changes. He's got an amazing voice, too, it was quite daunting sidling up to the microphone, singing with him."
SO was Day a closet JPY fan? "I remember the I Hate The Music clip, with the sailor suits on the barge. How old was I? Ten? I remember all that music", Day admits, "I definitely grew up with it. Songs like this one and 'Pasadena'."
"HARRY (Young) came down and had a listen to the recording", Day recalls, taking me behind the recording studio door. "He was nodding his head and taping his foot, and told us in his Dutch accent that he thought we had more energy than the original. We were psyched."
SO what would happen if the song goes ballistic and the call is put out for new Ratcat material? Day's ambivalent about this, preferring to remain a back ground player in today's musical world. He's quite content with his design related work at MTV, as well as setting up his own label, SatelliteRecording Company.
"NOWADAYS I can wander around, do my shopping or whatever, and only a few people will come up and talk about the band. But once it's in the public eye again, this can change, you can get people talking behind your back. That's a little daunting."
"THAT'S why I'm considering this a one off project. People have been saying 'why not do another Ratcat album if this takes off?', but I don't know if we'd still be considered new. Bands like Crow have been around the same amount of time as us, strangely. But given that we're doing Homebake, maybe perceptions will change."
AND the likelihood of JPY repaying the Ratcat favour and covering Don't Go Now?
"GEE, I don't know about that. Different schools maybe. Still, that's not a bad idea", he offers after a moment's though, "'cause there's talk about him getting up on stage at Homebake with us."
YOU read it here first, folks.