But Does He Still Love His
- Creem Magazine - September, 1971
- By Michelle Straubing
'Yes I'm going to be a pop star
Yes I'm going to be a pop star now
Yes I'm going to be a pop star
Oh mama, mama see me,
mama mama see me, I'm a pop star
Yes I'm going to my first gig
Yes I'm going to my first gig
Yes I'm going to my first gig
Oh mama mama see me,
see me at my first gig'
Such were the
feelings of one Stephen Dimitri Georgiou when he first picked up a guitar at the ripe age
of 13 and proceeded to write his first song 'Darling, No'. During the next two years he
learned to master the guitar andmaster five more songs.Before long, he and his brother
began making the rounds of the record companies until he was finally "
discovered" by Mike Hurst who produced his first single, ' I Love My Dog'.
The Record was a
smash, making Cat an instant sensation. He went on to write more hits like 'I'm Gonna get
me A Gun',' Mathew & Son', and 'Here Come My Baby'. But life in the pop world was not
an easy one for a naive boy of 18, and it wasn't long before the pressures- both emotional
(record company execs pushing to the limit and then some) and physical (ill health in the
form of tuberculosis ) became unbearable.
So Cat disappeared
from the music scene as completely and suddenly as he had appeared to recuperate for two
' Yes well, I'm going to the cold bank
cold bank now
Yes I'm going to the cold bank
Oh mama, mama see me
mama mama see me at the cold bank'
Now in 1971 Cat has
indeed come home - home to the pop world, a new pop world where he has the control he
wants and deserves over his own creativity.
being back in the music business again. What I'm doing now is exactly what I've always
wanted to do. I've just never managed to do it before. The only trouble is, before I was
not in control or anything. This time I feel that I'm doing exactly the things that I want
to do and the people around me are just great people. There's no ego trips this
He is also in no
danger if being pressured - either to do too many performances in one night, to write for
someone else ( he wrote "here Comes my Baby" for the Tremolos) , or to write
with someone else ( he oncecollaborated with Kim Fowley).
Relating back to hid
early writing experiences, Cat recalls, " I was trying to get my songs placed with
artist about four of five years ago, I was with this really bad publishing company. They
just used to sign up every song and not do a thing with it; you know , just keep you
hanging around. They had quite a few writers there: Mark Werts and Kim Fowler and Elton
was there too at a time. I just met Kim you know this mad guy right? He showed me all his
lyrics and he said, " Do something. Can you do something with it? I said '
Sure" And I
took these and worked on them and then played it to him and changed a few things around,
and I did it on a B-side. A very simple song it was called Portebello Road."
Although Cat is
fairly open minded about writing with someone again ('If it happens, it happens, but I am
not really thinking about it.'), he isn't all that keen on writing for someone again.
"I don't think I can write can. I tried that once and I think I can only write for
myself basically. If someone feeling are the same regarding doing someone else's material.
" I'm very strange about that because ever since I played guitar I've never sung
anybody else's song's. I mean, of course I started in the beginning trying to, but it
never worked out because I didn't do it so well, so I thought, ' To hell with it, I'll
write my own. ' So I've never really sung anybody else's. I've sung this hymn song for the
next LP, which I really like. It's and old Welsh melody and it's just beautiful. I just
fell in love with the melody. I suppose it's the first one."
Anyone listening to
the songs that Cat writes is well aware that they all stem from deeply personal
experiences some more obviously so then others.
" I think 'Sad
Lisa' reflects me very much. I say it's Lisa but I suppose basically I'm talking about my
self on that one. It's very close to it. 'Into White' is when I'm in my very naive
child-like state where I just let anything come into my head and let it out. 'Hard headed
Woman' is a strange one. I don't really know who a hard headed woman really is. I'll find
out one day. It's weird. I mean, most of my songs I just let them come and figure them out
"You see for me
writing is an experience and it's a discovery. Each time I get into song writing-each time
it's different. I mean it has to be otherwise I get bored. Otherwise I don't want to do
it.There's no use in it. So each time I just twist it around all the time. You know , I
getinspirations from the maddest things. It may start with one word and then a melody with
that one word. And then it may go on from there . Or else I'll get a melody or else I'll
just write a few chords and then I'll put a tune on top of it. But , for me, it has to
change all the time. I don't writing two of the same style. That was a drag about the old
time: they always kept telling me that I had to do another 'Matthew & Son' which is
completely ---- I couldn't believe, I mean , how could you do that? I'm always into those
change thing. You really learn so much each second you grow up gigantically. It's incredible."
Cat feels that his
Greek musical background ( his father was Greek) has been a heavy influence on his music.
'It's only lately
that I realized how subconsciously my work has always been affected by the forms of Greek
music. You see, I get such a feeling just listening to Greek music' Cause that was my
fathers trip. It's just natural. My half-brother from my fathers first marriage, George,
he really use to play the bazooka. He was one of the first bazooka to come to London and
play the clubs about 14 years ago. I used to go and listen to him. That was really, I
think, one of the beginnings of music for me listening to that and the kind of timing they
have. It's natural to me to change the timing of the song half way through, you know, and
just out of beat or whatever which technically doesn't flow, but to it does.. Like in the
middle of a song, if I suddenly stop playing, you know, that's the same for to me. Maybe
I'm kidding myself, maybe it's not at all. I use silence, I think quite a lot. I like to
hold silence for a bit and make it something else."
Although Cat feels
that Greek music has influenced his style, there are other influences present in his music
that are perhaps due to the type of music he listens to today.
'I love folk music,
European, Old Russian, Greek. I like Classical, I like electronic - I don't listen to that
much, but when I go to sleep sometimes I just put on a weird kind of- well it might be
Stockhauser you know, just voices. I'll listen to that and go to sleep or I'll wake up to
Bach or something like that. I don't play that many records, though I am aware of course,
of what people are doing, possibly because there was a time when I just wouldn't listen to
any records at all; very stuck up about it all, you know, just dig my own music and that's
it. But I do dig a lot of music, I mean I can't saturate myself with other people's music
too much because I'd lose my identity, so I take things that can transcend me into my own
What does his own
world consist of? Mostly seeking, discovering and finding things out for himself.
Well I'm coming home now
coming home now
Yes I'm coming coming
coming home now
Well mama mama see me
mama mama see me, I'm home
" I use to
meditate, but I don't do it anymore. It was just a starting off for me. But now I
find I'm constantly aware of just ... I don't know how to put it now, 'cause when you
meditate you can't really think of anything anyway. It's not anything you say.
It's just that point that you reach. Nothing else really matters, you know,
except this one thing. I mean like now it just comes anytime and it comes a bit when
I'm working, you know, on stage. It's very weird 'cause I kind of jump out of my
skin and kind of look at myself and it's very weird.
" Now my basic
philosophy is truth, that's all. I mean that runs through everything, you know;
never underestimate anything or anybody from a rock to an elephant, anything.
Don't take it for granted. That's what a lot of people do like they take
cheese for granted, but think about it - if you think, everything is just incredible.
Then that should shouldn't get complicated, you shouldn't think of everything as
being incredible, just accept it...."
- " I don't read very much. I
searched myself a long time ago about reading. It was partly laziness. I said to
myself that I'd rather live and find out from my own experiences what is going to happen
and what it's all about for me rather than take it from a book of someone else's.
You can only light the way, but you can't walk or show someone how to walk on it.
That's why I just started to do it all myself and figure it out myself for me.
That's the joy of living: finding out."
There's so much left to know
and I'm on the road to find out.
Then I found my head one day
when I wasn't even trying,
and here I have to say 'cause there
is no use in lying, lying.
Yes the answer lies within,
so why not take a look now....
" I wouldn't
say I believe in reincarnation or coming back - but just a bashing about. I believe
in a physical wall if you like. If you don't have the right answer when you get to
this wall, you'll be bounced back again,
you know. If
you don't know what the wall is, you can see the wall but you can't see over the top of
it. And if you really see the top of it and then look over you see the whole wall
and the wall disappears and you can go through. But there's a definite kind of
spectrum...I mean just keeping on being human and everything is a struggle for a start.
I still think I've got a long way to go - a long matter of lifetimes, I
In between writing
songs and philosophizing, Cat spends his time painting. As a matter of fact, there was a
time in his life when he thought he would be a painter until he bought his first guitar.
But even though
music is now taking up much of his time, he has not let it interfere with his artwork as
evidenced by the covers of his two albums.
" I think I'll
be getting into my artwork again pretty soon, you know I'll take a bit of time off to do
"As for the
album covers, Mona Bone Jakon just came about naturally. They said have you got any ideas,
we'd be happy to use them. I said why not one of my paintings. You might be
able to use them.
" I suppose the
garbage can was just illogical. I was trying to fight offthe old image, if you like
and just put a garbage can on there and let people work it out for themselves, you know.
So that was basically it. I was being a bit sneaky! I like garbage cans, I
mean nobody thinks about garbage cans, so why not. It's a lonesome garbage can.
" I'll also be
doing the cover for the new album, but I don't think the painting will be on the front -
we may put a painting on the back.
each one was done differently. On Mona Bone Jakon we already had the garbage can; I
did Tea for the Tillerman when I knew that that song was going to be on it; and the
painting for the new one, I just got the mood of the album and put it down."
Now that Cat is
proving himself as an artist and composer, many people are asking him to branch out onto
the movie field. And Cat himself has a couple of ideas about other ways in which he
would like to express himself in the future.
" I'm doing the
score for a film 'Harold & Maude', about San Francisco. It'll be finished about the
end of June when I can start working on the music.
" But I'd also
like to do a film of my own because it's hard to write for someone else. It's a
strange thing, either you do the whole firm yourself or you can't really have that much
control over it - the vision;s already there. But I just love the idea of visual and
music because it brings a spark to it . You can have the most diabolically boring
piece of film and the same kind of music and when you put them together you get something
else - friction and a kind of movement, show and time and everything. It suddenly
gives it more of a whole, you know, a roundness. Whereas just music on it's own or
just visual on its own doesn't work. It fits together so perfectly.
" I've got
ideas for my own film, but I'm going to think it over first before I say anything 'cause
I'll most likely change my mind. That's one thing I must admit I do do. I
change my mind an awful lot. I can be inspired about something and then I look
really into it and I say well, no, that's wrong and I'll change my mind on that.
Most of the time I go back to the first idea. I know that and I know that when I
start out. But I still enjoy going around it so I can see all sides before I do it.
" I've also got
ideas of just doing loads of drawings and perhaps putting it together as a children's
book. I mean it's not set or anything. It might happen. I'm also
thinking about making a film for children: I don't know if that will come off."
Lord my body has been a good friend
but I won't need it when I reach the end
Oh I'm going to be a pop star
Yes I'm going to be a pop star