Cat Treads Softly On His
- By Bob Dawbarn
"I'm so glad it
happened Ive had the chance to become human again."
Cat Stevens was talking
about his nine months lay-off through illness. Now relaxed and fit, he is preparing for
his comeback on the record scene with the release of 'Here Comes My Wife' on October 4th.
"I came straight
from art school into the business and I didnt have time to look around," he
continued. "Being forced to rest up has altered my musical outlook, Ive become
much simpler again because I was living a normal life in hospital."
Cats illness has
been a well-kept secret.
"It all started
about February," he explained. I was feeling ill and at first they
thought it was pneumonia. But when I had been in hospital for a week they found it was
more serious. I was in hospital for three months and after that they gave me some tablets
and told me to take things very easy. The only thing that brought me down in hospital was
having to conform getting up at 6 am and aII that. One day Id just had enough
and ran away. I found a little garage on a farm about three miles from the hospital. There
was an attic over the garage and I just stayed there for four days. I had a tin of
pineapple chunks and some apples I never want to see another apple again. No one
knew I was there and when the farmer came to get his car out I just lay low."
"Back in the
hospital I felt my music had been getting too complicated. I had a little record player
and I played Bach again and again he helped me out. Bach is like mathematics; it
helps to clear your brain. Two months ago I went to Venice for a holiday and my doctor
sent me my X-rays which were completely clear and said I could start work again. I got
together with Mike Vickers and did three songs for a single. We couldnt decide on
the A side. Eventually it was decided to have Here Comes My Wife although a
lot of people liked the B-side, Superlife, better. I wrote about 30 songs
while I was away enough for two good LPs and I am now working on an idea for the
first one. Id like to get some kind of story running through one side."
I asked if Cat was
planning to return to live shows.
"Ill just see
what happens," he told me. "But I'd like to do some shows, I want to get back on
a stage again. When I came out of hospital I went to concerts and things and just watching
other people at work has helped me. The whole scene seems very distorted at the moment.
It's a bit topsy turvey with nobody knowing what is happening."