There were a few years there–the late 60’s and early 70’s–when underground FM radio thrived in Chicago. FM was new then, not yet corporate, and it offered, on weak frequencies, some very eclectic and adventurous broadcasting. I’d stay up late at night and record from the radio—musicians I’d never heard, but who fascinated me: Sibelius, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Skip James, Ornette Coleman, Doc Boggs. The tapes had no genre boundaries or even taste parameters, really–half the time I didn’t even know if I exactly liked the stuff I was recording. I didn’t yet have enough musical context to fully appreciate it. But I craved the soundscapes the tapes created. Avant garde and folk musics seemed much the same to me. It was all musical texture—fresh and new, especially the stuff that was old.
Almost anything can be a metaphor for songwriting. Prying open a jar of pickles? Yes. Playing Russian Roulette? Sure. Tending to a plant. Why not? If writing songs is inseparable from life itself, then it must fall somewhere between meditating and giving birth, at the equator of zen and utter pain; the middle path between the sacred and mundane.
“The moon looked pale and wan, as if it shouldn’t be up on a night like this. It rose unwillingly and hung like an ill specter.”
This is a quote from early in the third chapter of a book called Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. This is a book that I don’t like very much but loved in 8th grade. Before I was in a band, before I played an instrument, before I even listened to music, I loved the stories of Dirk Gently. So, when my friends and I started a band in middle school, I suggested this line as a name, and, being in middle school, misspelled specter as “spector”. This was, more or less, how the band started; as middle schoolers who couldn’t play our instruments, misspelling words, and deciding we liked it better that way. And this is, more or less, how the band has stayed since then.
Catch me Catatonic is Soul-Punk. It started around a glass table. Some of us had been friends for years, and some of us had only just met, but we were immediately connected by our passion for music. We come from different places and pull our musical inspirations from even more places, but we contribute equally to the creation of every song we play, and it’s been magic from day one.
I used to write lyrics and sing, but with the years I’ve come to find words too commanding. Lyrics tend to tell you where to go and how using music just as a vehicle to give their directions more power. As opposed to that, music without words means total freedom! Your imagination and the sensorial world find no boundaries. You are left alone face to face with all the power of Music.
Around the age of 18, I was in a Pop Punk/Hardcore band called “All That.” At the time that was the style of music I wanted to work with, but at the same time, I wanted to mess around with some acoustic songwriter stuff. So I figured, on the side, I’d start my own solo acoustic project. Of course, I needed a name, but I didn’t want to go with my own name. I wanted an artist name, something that stood out. So that’s when I went through the good old music library and came across one of my all-time favorite songs. Among the Wildflowers.