Three decades can be a long or short time… depending on whether you’re staring at the clock or not!
For RATCAT – who despite forming in the same year that Crocodile Dundee bizarrely positioned Australia at the forefront of international tourist destinations – 1991 was also their most manic; most successful & the landmark year which witnessed their unexpected ‘sleeper hits’ rise from the top of the alternate charts to dominating both the commercial single and album charts. It truly was the year of Blind Love!
Being a career (& story) not without it’s fair share of the proverbial ‘ups & downs’, RATCAT formed via a group of friends from the northern suburbs of Sydney morphing from previous band incarnations all having been influenced & involved in the local punk & post punk scenes predominant across Australia during the mid 1980’s. Performing shows in many of the well known inner city & suburban venues (existing at that time), it was also a time when similar shows and events were regularly happening in backyards, on harbour cruises and disused spaces.
Releasing a handful of self funded singles, an acclaimed self titled EP & the debut album This Nightmare via Waterfront Records between 1987 through to 1989, RATCAT’s steady rise in popularity was in part the result of public radio nationwide embracing the band as well as a healthy dose of touring including with notables (& heroes) from the time such as The Buzzcocks, The Ramones, The Cramps, Violent Femmes, Public Image LTD, Sonic Youth, Mudhoney, The Wonderstuff, Swervedriver, Pop Will Eat Itself & many more.
As the momentum gained pace, RATCAT then signed to INXS’s newly created indie rooArt Records & released the then ground breaking Tingles EP in 1990 which – & with no fanfare whatsoever – made a steady climb to the top of the ARIA National Top Forty over a period of 7 months, eventually reaching the coveted number 1 spot in May of 1991 … & much to the band’s surprise & shock at the time!
Tingles thereafter scored the accolade of becoming the highest selling EP of that year. Featuring the ‘sleeper’ hit That Ain’t Bad (& with the original video featuring one of the first ‘acting’ performances for current international star, Naomi Watts), it was a bizarre & heady period completely unexpected by RATCAT.
The subsequent 1991 release of the Blind Love album resulted in yet another (although this time immediate) number 1 ARIA chart position and again, to the complete surprise of the band members and all involved at the time, RATCAT also scored a coinciding duel number one with the single Don’t Go Now (Aria singles charts). History writes that RATCAT were the first Australian independent act to have achieved coinciding National Top 40 #1 album & single chart positions. The touring was relentless (including with INXS on their ‘X Factor’ arena tour) and culminated in a huge Australian stadium tour whereby they invited the (then) new UK shoegaze sensations, RIDE, to support them – an arrangement that was reciprocated by RIDE in the UK.
As the RATCAT phenomenon began to reach hysterical proportions on home turf, they then packed their bags and moved to London – using this new home as a base to tour the world for the next year. Although the RATCAT story could continue for many paragraphs, their success was mirrored internationally by Nirvana nine months later, and despite Nirvana scoring the international accolades, the impact RATCAT had on the Australia music scene in the early ’90s remains historically significant and undeniable.
Being at the forefront of an international musical change of direction that witnessed the boundaries between the independent and commercial sectors literally smashed to oblivion, RATCAT’s incredible rise to popularity was the result of public demand, and with virtually no mass label marketing (at the time).
A generation & more has passed since that carefree & chaotic beginning – & of course 3 decades since the release of Blind Love. Although they don’t perform regularly these days and their career chapters have come to a close, RATCAT are celebrating this anniversary with a special show asking favourites (& old pals) to join the festivities – indie pop legends JODI & TRISH (from The Clouds) , the stunning ALANNAH RUSSACK (The Hummingbirds) and the irrepressible MC & party starting disc spinner, DJ MAYNARD!
It will be a one off performance not to be missed with details as follows…
Tickets on sale on Monday 17 May from Ticketek…