Cats In Space

Cats In Space are an interesting bunch of felines, comprising of members from a plethora of classic rock bands. They came together back in 2015 and in just these few years they’ve released three really feelgood album that are truly melodic masterworks, while also managing to squeeze in dates with classic bands like the Sweet and Deep Purple. Talking about the former, and original vocalist Paul Manzi was invited to join them, so despite having finished the album, he’s no longer an active member, with Mark Pascall taking over the vocal mantle, almost seamlessly, as he seems able to make all the right noises that his predecessor did. Greg Hart once more comes to the rescue, to fill us in on what’s going on in the band’s ranks.
Cats In Space band pic
Hi, Greg… congrats on “Daytrip to Narnia” – it’s has been chosen as the “Album of the Month” on Grande Rock! Great job dude once again!
G: Hi there guys! That’s awesome news, thank you so much for the support!
So, how are things out there in space?
G: All very very busy, we are planning our Xmas tour, plus a whole host of goodies to go with it, plus we have some special acoustic VIP shows soon which have all sold out! We are also planning the next studio album too! Life as a cat is always busy!
Why did Paul Manzi depart and how did you find your new guy Pascal?
G: Paul joined the Sweet, an offer he couldn’t turn down. We wish him well. Mark Pascall came onboard after he contacted me about a few things and immediately slotted in like he had been with us for years.
Will you release a new single with Pascal anytime soon – are you working on new stuff with the new singer or any new versions of old songs?
G: Yes, the brand new version of “September Rain” with Mark singing is out on September 7th, with a video too – the special CD singles we released in our webstore all sold out, our biggest selling single before its even been released!
“Daytrip to Narnia” is a concept that includes even a concept suite within the entire concept. Why this “inception”?
G: I’ve always loved Narnia as a kid, and the story is a good one that works for the make believe of all you see in the music business.
What does the album title “Daytrip to Narnia” declare?
G: The album ‘as a whole’ is basically saying ‘everything is not as it seems’, but we let the listener draw their own analogies from it all, as that’s part of the fun! If we gave it all away it takes the mystery away too. But it is quite clear if you dig beneath the snow!
Your album titles seem persistent in fairytales, Scarecrow, Alice, now “Narnia”… too fond of the fantasy realm?
G: When we were kids we all had dreams, make believe places and these days as adults it’s a nice escape to go back to those times- that is the sole purpose of Cats In Space. To take you back to more innocent times, and forget your troubles for a bit. I’ve always lived in a cartoon type world1, it’s a better place to be.
Can you indulge a bit in the concept and Johnny’s story?
G: The main story is about “Johnny Rocket”. A whole saga about a boy who had aspirations, as every kid does. Johnny wanted to become a Spaceman, but wanting to go to space as he ‘did’, finds out everything it isn’t as it seemed… it’s also a love story with a happy ending? But there’s more interpretations within if the listener wants to dig deep enough. One day we will make it into a musical.
Are you happy with how things have gone so far, in terms of popularity, sales etc.? You come from a different era when the sizes weren’t necessarily that much different at first, but there were way less “gods”, now we have way too many of them!
G: It’s all going upwards so that’s a good sign, and our audience is vastly bigger than when we started. Each album has outsold the last and our back catalogue continues to sell on our website, plus our distributor is always selling it. We have good presence in the HMV record store chain too. We have become a well-known band in the UK, but we are still only scratching the surface. We have the rest of thew to get to yet! Our fans are incredible tho, their support is quite something to witness. Ask any music fan about a ‘Cat Fan’… they are a unique bunch! Dressing up in outfits, making models, paintings, you name it they do it all.
You supported the mighty Purple and Status Quo and are still doing tours in the UK, what is the plan like this time? Other than the local tour with Rock Goddess that you kind of ended up doing on your own or what?
G: More of the same, our “Narnia Part 1 tour” was a financial success (which is so rare for bands our size these days) and we have the Christmas tour in the UK, plus we are doing a few German shows to launch the band there. Our top gig this year is supporting Bonnie Tyler at the famous London Palladium, which is an amazing opportunity. Plus next year we have an extensive program lining up, with more touring, support tours, festivals, plus a full German tour is planned too in support of what will be the next album..
Also while on the subject, are you concerned that Brexit might make a touring musicians life, unnecessarily a bit more complicated?
G: Yes it is a worry, but I always say everything pans out eventually, it did before the union and it will after. People spend too much time fretting over stuff they don’t know about yet. Life’s to be lived, cos why die fretting over stuff you cannot control? Someone statistically out there will alas die today, possibly fretting over Brexit, which will be a waste… it aint gonna be me!
Can you give us a few more details about the live album “Cats Alive” that you released in 2018? Was it something that you’ve planned to do before the release of your third studio album or what?
G: We recorded one of the shows in Cardiff, Wales – the biggest show on the tour we did with Thunder. And it turned out so well we decided to release it, as it gave us a live document of that line-up which at the time was firing on all six! We have other live recordings from other tours that may see the light one day. It also helped build our big fanbase in Wales, who have really took us to their hearts it seems by releasing that show which was so special – a crowd so noisy and appreciative of us as ‘unknowns’ then really. We felt like headliners! Quite a night…
What are your expectations from “Daytrip to Narnia” and what do you wish to accomplish with Cats In Space in the near future?
G: “Narnia” has sold out of the first vinyl run, and nearly sold out of the second run now… so that will be an incredible feat for a band on its own label. It hit high street stores, charted, and has sold faster and bigger than the other records. So, I am very pleased. We feel this album will continue to sell well into next year and beyond. Also the ‘spin off’ merchandise which we are becoming well know for, has also sold incredibly well – hundreds and hundreds of t-shirts and merchandise from our webstore. That alone enables us to proceed with more records and tours.
If someone asked you to describe the cats sound in a few words – how would you respond?
G: Classic 70s rock music that has no limits or boundaries.
It’s time for our Weird Questions!!! If you were a God for a week what would you do?
G: Banish all politics and have the world run by decent people who don’t lie, cheat or deceive.  Make Premiership footballers wages capped, and the rest given to the NHS (which will also be run by decent people not governments). And bring back hanging for any murderer, knife crime, children or animal harmer. No seconds chances.I think I stand a chance don’t you?
Dinner with Einstein or a date with Marylin Monroe?
G: Marilyn no doubt at all! A buxom blonde over someone who would alas bore my tits off? No contest! Remember I love the 70s!!!
What’s your preferred format? LP/CD/MC/ 8Track/ Digital?
G: Come on? Do you need to ask this? Haha! Vinyl is King! Always was, always will be!
If you were on an abandoned island, which 3 albums would you wish to have in your music player?
G: “Jailbreak” byThin Lizzy, “Queen II”, and a compilation of “The Carpenters” (6 album box set preferred!)…
What are your 3 most favorite concept albums?
G: Ooh tough one. I always felt “Zaragon” by John Miles was conceptual, so that! Has to be “War of the Worlds” by Jeff Wayne. And “Spilt Milk” by Jellyfish (which again I feel is conceptual)…
What’s your opinion of the “Cats” musical?
G: Fantastic, a legendary score, and a true iconic musical.
Is there a particular book you can’t recommend enough?
G: I don’t read many books, I don’t have time, but I do like “Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” of course!
Top 3 sci-fi films of any era?
G: All the original “Planet of the Apes”, “Terminator”, “Alien I”.
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
G: Without question “Queen II”! The first ‘grown up’ band I got into, tho I still loved The Sweet, this was 2 years before I heard of Thin Lizzy, Kiss etc… so its very special, and a true classic. I thought it was recorded by aliens! “Side Black” is musical perfection to me, and “Procession” is like the national anthem of Rock!
What’s the best soundtrack for the end of the world?
G: “Too Many Gods” by Cats In Space. Dig deep it’s all there.
Fill in the phrase… “Prog Rock wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
G: The Moog synthesizer.
Which do you consider to be the best male & female vocalist in rock history?
G: Freddie Mercury and Karen Carpenter. Without question.
Thx for talking to Grande Rock, Greg. Please salute the readers and conclude this as you wish… thx for the music! Take care dude!
G: Thanks everyone, and thanks for buying and supporting our band. Please tell your friends as that is the way forward for bands to grown these days… see you out there and keep music live!