Phantom brings his Kat Men to the Plug

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It takes dedication to name yourself after a comic book character.

And that’s what rockabilly group Stray Cats founder, Slim Jim Phantom did in the late 70s. It was a move he’s never regretted.

Phantom - from New York - has lived and breathed rock and roll for decades, leading the ‘Neo-Rockabilly’ movementt with his band.

And now, he’s preparing for a show in Sheffield with his other band - the Kat Men. The rock and roll-inspired Kat Men features Phantom on drums and guitarist Darrel Hingham, who also worked as a session musician for wife Imelda May.

“It’s good to experiment and it’s nice to do something different,” says Phantom. “Sometimes you have to take a break from time to time.”

And like the Stray Cats, the Kat Men has a loyal audience. “It’s a lifestyle ting with this music. There’s something about hearing Gene Vincent of Eddie Cochran for the first time and now that lifestyle is taking off everywhere, from the UK to Japan to America. It’s great. There’s a rockabilly scene in every town though I think England has the biggest scene.” And drumming is key to rockabilly, according to Phantom “There’s a dance basis to this music and the songs all have a certain swing and rhythm to them.”

So important is rhythm to the Kat Men’s repertoire that their latest release is called Beat for the Feet.

The Kat Men play this Friday at Plug, Matilda Street.