The Family Cat

The Family Cat were a disparate group of Southern Englanders drawn to the big city in search of fame and fortune. Naturally, they ended up working in the Savoy Hotel and it was here, within this symbol of Empire, that their plans for musical innovation and greatness were hatched.

“The single isn’t actually about Tom Verlaine – that was just the working title. A useful reference point. Effectively it was just built around the idea of growing up, getting older and how you remember certain times certain people. The first verse is about a birthday party I had when I was 17. I don’t remember if Television were played, but I can imagine the probably would’ve been. If it makes people go out and buy a couple of Television records then we couldn’t be happier.”

— Fred
Jack Adaptor Christmas
THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS – DAY 8: JACK ADAPTOR December 20, 2014

Join our countdown to Christmas with exclusive competitions, videos and more. Day 8 brings you a Christmas message and a free download from Jack Adaptor!

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Christopher Cordoba Us Poor Humans
NEW RELEASE: Christopher Cordoba December 15, 2014

Us Poor Humans is Christopher Cordoba’s third collection of instrumental music and is again charged with imagination, intrigue and emotion. Order now on CD and Download

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The Family Cat Christmas
THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS – DAY 2: THE FAMILY CAT December 3, 2014

Join our countdown to Christmas with exclusive competitions, videos and more. Day 2 is an exclusive extract from The Family Cat archives.

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Jack Adaptor J'Accuse!
NEW RELEASE: Jack Adaptor August 24, 2014

Jack Adaptor announcethe release of their brand new album, J’Accuse!

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FC Louder Than War
Five Lives Left – Louder Than War Review February 7, 2013

“Five Lives Left… emphatically shows that the Family Cat had the songs and the talent to have been major players”. Read Louder Than War’s glowing review of The Family Cat’s new 2CD anthology.

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Five Lives Left Cat
The Family Cat – Five Lives Left November 1, 2012

The Family Cat Anthology available for pre-order in the 3 Range shop Release Date: 26th November 2012 Sonic Youth once claimed that The Family Cat were their favourite UK rock band, so it is about time that there was a …

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The Family Cat
The Family Cat – Five Lives Left October 5, 2012

The Family Cat, who Sonic Youth claimed to be their favourite UK rock band, have compiled a 2CD best of, titled Five Lives Left: The Anthology.

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The Family Cat Magic Happens Flexi
Win a Family Cat rarity! September 24, 2012

Click here to find out how you can win an extremely rare Family Cat flexidisc.

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The Family Cat
It’s A Jubilee! Powerpop and Queens June 3, 2012

Listen to Fred from The Family Cat’s lovingly compiled mixtape plus a new Jack Adaptor song.

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The Family Cat
Jack Adaptor (Paul Frederick) May 25, 2012

The 4th Jack Adaptor LP ‘Swimming Pool Lies’ is still available to buy.

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Roots Of Family Cat Part 2
EXCLUSIVE PLAYLIST: The Roots Of The Cat – Part 2 December 14, 2013

Fred, frontman of the Family Cat, has compiled an exclusive playlist exclusively for us giving an insight into where The Family Cat sound came from. In the second part of the playlist, Fred explodes myths, reveals inspirations and where The Family Cat’s name came from!

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The Roots Of Family Cat Part 1
EXCLUSIVE PLAYLIST: The Roots Of The Cat – Part 1 August 27, 2013

Fred, frontman of the Family Cat, has compiled a playlist exclusively for us at 3 Loop Music giving an insight into where The Family Cat sound came from. It’s too good not to share so click and listen to the tracks that influenced and informed the band and their music.

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Fred and John share the rock'n'roll tales of The Family Cat
An interview with The Family Cat – Part 4 March 19, 2013

During the compiling of Five Lives Left we sat down with The Family Cat’s Fred and John who told us their rock’n’roll tales and the inside story of one of our favourite bands. Here’s Part 4 of our exclusive chat.

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PJ Harvey performing on Colour Me Grey with The Family Cat
An interview with The Family Cat – Part 3 February 28, 2013

During the compiling of Five Lives Left we sat down with The Family Cat’s Fred and John who told us their rock’n’roll tales and the inside story of one of our favourite bands. Here is Part 3 of our exclusive chat.

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The Family Cat Exclusive Interview Part 2
An interview with The Family Cat – Part 2 February 12, 2013

During the compiling of Five Lives Left we sat down with The Family Cat’s Fred and John who told us their rock’n’roll tales and the inside story of one of our favourite bands. Here is Part 2 of our exclusive chat.

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Fred and John from The Family Cat
An interview with The Family Cat February 1, 2013

During the compiling of Five Lives Left we sat down with The Family Cat’s Fred and John who told us their rock’n’roll tales and the inside story of one of our favourite bands.

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Fred from The Family Cat talks about the band reforming
The Family Cat Gigs January 23, 2013

Since we announced the release of the Family Cat anthology, we have been inundated with people asking whether the band would be reforming to promote the release. We spoke to Fred, the lead singer, to find out…

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Family Cat Fred Exclusive
Fred’s Exclusive Playlist October 18, 2012

Fred, lead singer of the Family Cat and Jack Adaptor, has compiled a playlist of his favourite tracks exclusively for 3 Loop.

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The Family Cat were a disparate group of Southern Englanders drawn to the big city in search of fame and fortune. Naturally, they ended up working in the Savoy Hotel and it was here, from within this symbol of Empire, that their plans for musical innovation and greatness emerged.

The band was formed in 1988 in the cellar of the Savoy Hotel several years after they first met. With a settled line up of Paul Frederick (vocals/guitar), Stephen Jelbert (lead guitar), Tim McVay (rhythm guitar), John Graves (bass) and Kevin Downing (drums) they made their London debut in April 1989 “at a pub somewhere in Finsbury Park”.

At the gig was John Yates, founder of a new label, Bad Girl Records. Impressed by their blistering live show he immediately snapped the band up and the single ‘Tom Verlaine’ was released later that year. It proved a shrewd move; the single drew critical praise and an NME Single of the Week nomination.

Artwork came courtesy of artist Iain Stronach who went on to produce imagery for all of The Family Cat’s Bad Girl output as well as their distinctive t-shirt range.

Buoyed by this promising start the band went back into the studio with producer Rick Bucker (The Jam) and recorded the ‘Tell ‘Em We’re Surfin’’ album. Resultant reviews were mixed, with the production deemed of insufficient quality to capture the energy of the band’s live shows. However, reviews not withstanding, the album sold well and reached number 6 in the UK Indie Charts.

The next couple of singles ‘Remember What It Is That You Love’ and ‘A Place With A Name’ performed well both critically and commercially, drawing admiring glances from major labels. The result was the band signing to Dedicated, then home to Spiritualized, The Cranes and Chapterhouse.

The first output on Dedicated was the single ‘Steamroller’, an ode to the ‘joys’ of supporting Southampton FC. It was considered a fine return across the music press and the band forged ahead with two more singles for their new label. Utilising their South Coast connections a young and innovative musician and singer was enlisted to provide backing vocals on both ‘Colour Me Grey’ and ‘River Of Diamonds’. The singer in question was one Polly Harvey who had just signed to Too Pure Records under her band’s marquee of PJ Harvey. Both singles again garnered considerable critical endorsement but frustratingly this acclamation was not matched with commercial success.

The Family Cat’s second album ‘Furthest From The Sun’ played out a similar story. Despite being accompanied by an innovative marketing campaign that included a lucky dip in your local independent shop (prizes including posters, badges and a band show in your front room) the album limped in at number 55 in the album charts.

Extensive touring followed but third album ‘Magic Happens’ again failed to take the band to the next level. Singles ‘Airplane Gardens’, ‘Springing The Atom’ and ‘Wonderful Excuse’ troubled the lower reaches on the charts but the album failed to breach the Top 75 despite favourable reviews and press coverage. The disappointment was further accentuated when it emerged that Spiritualized barcodes had been mistakenly printed on the album cover.

With perfect irony what would turn out to be The Family Cat’s final ever release, The Goldenbook EP’, proved to be their highest charting single, helped no doubt by the rumpus caused by b-side ‘Bring Me The Head Of Michael Portillo’.

Having returned to the studio to start work on a fourth album the band were informed by Dedicated that the demos were being rejected, this becoming the spur for the eventual disintegration of The Family Cat and the band called it a day in 1995.

To rub salt in the wounds, a multinational clothing chain had in the meantime appropriated the band’s infamous FCUK logo. They considered suing but decided against it. The brand claimed to have first came across the acronym on a fax to their UK office but supposed numerous sightings of senior marketing executives at The Family Cat gigs could never be proved.

Fred has continued to make music, forming firstly Pure Grain and then Jack Adaptor, who released their latest album in 2012. Work is continuing on a new album.

John Graves moved out of music and into another area of expertise, wine. He is Sales Director of a renowned wine company.

Both Fred and John are still enthusiastic cyclists and Fred recently completed the Tour of Flanders course.

Jelbert is a successful journalist with regular contributions for the Independent and The Times.

Tim McVay and Kevin Downing are working at a youth project in Cornwall called Zebs. The project is heavily musically based and, amongst other duties, they teach instruments and help develop young bands.

Tell Em We're Surfin' - 1989
Tell Em We're Surfin' - 1989
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Furthest From the Sun - 1992
Furthest From the Sun - 1992
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Magic Happens - 1995
Magic Happens - 1995
"Why was this group left watching from the sidelines as their less-talented guitar-based contemporaries profited from the Brit-pop explosion of the mid-'90s?": AllMusic
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Singles/EPs
Tom Verlaine (1989)
Remember What It Is That You Love (1990)
Place With A Name (1990)
Colour Me Grey (1991)
Jesus Christ (1991)
Steamroller (1992)
River of Diamonds (1992)
Airplane Gardens (1993)
Springing the Atom (1993)
Wonderful Excuse (1994)
Goldenbook EP (1994)
The Family Cat – Colour Me Grey August 3, 2012

The Family Cat featuring Polly Harvey

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The Family Cat – Airplane Gardens June 1, 2012 Watch video...
The Family Cat – A Place with a Name May 3, 2012 Watch video...
The Family Cat – Steve Lamacq Interview April 30, 2012 Watch video...
The Family Cat – Tea with….. April 23, 2012 Watch video...
The Family Cat – Just a Mirage April 16, 2012 Watch video...
The Family Cat – Remember What it is That You Love April 9, 2012 Watch video...

The Family Cat - Remember What it is That You Love