CATS IN BOOTS – Kicked & Klawed [Bad Reputation remastered +8] (2020) *0dayrox EXCLUSIVE*

CATS IN BOOTS - Kicked & Klawed [Bad Reputation remastered +8] (2020) *0dayrox EXCLUSIVE* full

Few days ago we featured the requested Rock Candy remastered version of CATS IN BOOTS‘s one and only album ”Kicked & Klawed”. Now we have in exclusive the Bad Reputation Records own remaster released last year, including 8 bonus tracks.
These extra tracks only were released in Japan back in the ’80s in limited quantities and where the tapes that lead to the band’s major label contract. The sound quality is first rate.
When Cats In Boots released their “Kicked & Klawed” opus back in 1989 their was little doubt that they were gonna cut themselves a considerable slice of the glam pie. The album is the Crüe doing Aerosmith, with more kicks, more claws and hooks galore.

Cleveland, Ohio native singer Joel Ellis moved to Los Angeles in the mid-Eighties and joined Merry Hoax, featuring drummer Randy Meers. They recorded a song for a compilation of bands and managed to win a production deal from Atlantic Records but the liaison really went no further. One of the Merry Hoax’s demos fell into the hands of Takashi O’Hashi, guitarist in the Japanese metal band Seiki Matsu.

Convinced that Ellis was the perfect man for the job of fronting his band, the Japanese axepert flew to LA and convinced both Ellis and Meers that their future was in the far East with Seiki Matsu.
The Tokyo based group had released three albums, the last of which sold over 400,000 copies. The addition of the two Americans to the existing duo of O’Hashi and bassist Yasuhiro Hatae was expected to increase their internation expo.

A name change to Cats In Boots and a demo album, suitably entitled “East Meets West” was released on the indie label Bronze Age in Japan to great success, finding the band at their rawest with a sound similar to early Motley Crue. These are bonus tracks featured into this Bad Reputation reissue.
Cats In Boots subsequently toured Japan for four months, the majority of the club shows being complete sells outs. A deal with EMI records was negotiated and signed with the band winding up in the studio with producer Mark Opitz (AC/DC, INXS) after their first choice of Tom Werman was dispensed with for allegedly being ‘too slow’.

With Opitz behind the desk, the band crafted one of the era’s best, if ultimately overlooked, slices of prime time Hollywood sleazy grating hard rock. The hooks were huge. The guitars cut and thrust. The production sounded like a million dollars and frontman Joel Ellis screamed and preened like he had been born to boogie.
Fame would come-a-knockin’ double time… or so they thought.

Sure, the competition for a spot in the major league of the hair metal division was stiff but the band had a couple of aces up their sleeves that put them above many of their contemporaries: half of the line-up was Japanese (unprecedented in the lily-white world of glam?), the buzz-saw guitar sound of Takashi ‘Jam’ O’Hashi that added an extra dose of sleaze to a sound that already dripped with attitude and street levelness, and the impressive vocal range of Ellis – who later joined ex-Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali in Heavy Bones releasing an stupendous album.

Not surprisingly the album sold like hot cakes in Japan, but also in Europe and the UK it kicked up its share of dust with the videos for the track ‘Shot Gun Sally’ and ‘Her Monkey’ getting regular spins on MTV’s Headbangers Ball, rave reviews in metal rags like Kerrang! and Metal Forces and sales figures that secured them a spot in the import platter charts.
Amongst the disc’s prime cuts are single ‘Shot Gun Sally’, the up-tempo ‘Nine Lives’, ‘Her Monkey’, the speedy ‘Coast To Coast’, ‘Bad Boys Are Back’ and the catchy ‘Heaven On A Heartbeat’.

But Stateside things didn’t work out as planned and while the guys shared the opinion that the album only needed a little push to take off, their label thought it was time to cut another record. So instead of hitting the road opening up for Vince Neil and his bad boys, Cats In Boots were forced to stay in LA and to start thinking about new songs.
Needless to stay that second record never materialized mainly because of inner band turmoil and the feeling that Cats In Boots had walked its walk.
One can only wonder what might have surfaced if singer Joel Ellis and O’Hashi had taken the band a chapter further. Personally I think the guys had it in them to come up with another killer release.

But as it is now their legacy consists of just one record… but what a record it is!
Three decades later “Kicked & Klawed” still sounds as good to these ears as it did when I first picked up upon release.
Almost every song is a winner and that justifies the kind of praise it’s been given by glam and sleazy hard rock aficionados. And the bonus tracks rock like Hell too, collector’s stuff to enjoy.
HIGHLY Recommended

You’ve seen it first at 0dayrox


01 – Shot Gun Sally
02 – Nine Lives (Save Me)
03 – Her Monkey
04 – Whip It Out
05 – Long,Long Way From Home
06 – Coast To Coast
07 – Every Sunrise
08 – Evil Angel
09 – Bad Boys Are Back
10 – Judas Kiss
11 – Heaven On A Heartbeat
12 – Tokyo Screamin’
13 – Girls All Right, Tonight
14 – Judas Kiss
15 – Bad Boys
16 – 9 Lives [Save Me]
17 – The Bayou Fool
18 – Her Monkey
19 – Heaven On A Heartbeat

Joel Ellis: lead vocals, harmonica
Takashi “Jam” O’Hashi: guitars, vocals
Yasuhiro Hatae: bass, vocals
Randy Meers: drums, vocals
Dave Amato: guest backing vocals



You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.