The Catch was finished, yet music remained an important part of our lives.
Andrew, Jarrod, Justin and their new bassplayer Nick renamed the band "The Chilli Vandals". At the same time, Jarrod began writing many, many songs - they were mature little pop numbers too, fun to listen to. They desperately wanted to get out of the cover circuit, and into the much more hard core originals circuit.
I recall seeing them 6 or 7 times over the next year or so. They played a lot of mid-week gigs which were hard for me to get to as I was 4 nights at uni. Was I jealous, seeing them on stage? Of course I was. They sound so good - tight and energetic and entertaining. I was sick with regret for a while, but soon got over it and just enjoyed what they were doing.
I noticed that the further south they played, the bigger the crowds were. But they were targetting the inner city venues now, which generally meant smaller crowds but more credibility, and more likelihood of being picked up by a little indie label.
I loved their originals. They'd taken a lighter approach than The Catch - it was good Aussie pop guitar music. It made me think of The Triffids, The Sunnyboys, The Church and Hoodoo Gurus. You can hear a couple of their songs here. I still remember those tunes from 20 years ago - great stuff. I wish Jarrod would put some more up on the net.
The best Chilli Vandals gig I remember was after work one night, perhaps a Thursday. I recall it was at Forest Lodge, so the venue must have been The Roxbury. It was a small room with only a few people, but the band sounded sensational. By this stage, Andrew had not only his Strat, but also a $5,000 Les Paul and a $7,000 Mesa Boogie amp (todays $). Sometimes money can buy you happiness.
He also had a mandolin, which he played on the song I remember most clearly from that night, "Sex and Lies". That song stuck in my head like no other, and I suspect that 6 months has not passed over the last 20 years when I have not hummed the melody to myself. "Come with me, and I'll show you a place..."
Sometime around here Russell quietly left the band. Actually, abandoned was more like it. I look back again and wonder, should I have stuck it out? C'mon - no regrets!
Although busy with work and uni, I still saw Andy pretty often during this period. At least once a fortnight I would drop in at his place. We'd sit and chat about music, about the band, and whatever else was happening. I often sat and chatted to his dad as well - we got on. I'm not sure what was going on with the band at that stage, but both he and Andy said, "I wish you hadn't left." I still feel flattered by that.
I saw Jarrod and Justin at gigs, and I remember going out with the whole band a few times. Justin had recently moved into a terrace near where I worked at Ultimo, so I dropped in at lunch sometimes. Graeme had rung me just after I left The Catch and asked me if I wanted to play bass in a new band he was forming with Jarrod's brother called "Frog". I said no - I needed a break. By coincidence, I've just got in touch on FB with the guy who ended up playing bass for them. He was a talented muso.
Things changed for me in mid-1992 when I got married. Andy was one of my groomsmen, and it is possibly the first time he ever wore a tie. We moved to Riverwood to live with my wife's grandma, and I really lost contact with the guys. It's funny, but 20 minutes drive was enough to lose contact with someone back then - we didn't have Facebook! And then I had something else to think about - my wife was expecting our first child.
I still saw Justin occasionally as he was still living at Ultimo. I remember him telling me they'd gotten a new bass player, and changed their name to Pelican Jed. I was still in contact with him in 1993 when they released an EP called "Boofeggs", and he gave me a copy. The sound had morphed into an edgy alternative style which, didn't take itself too seriously. It was fun music.
Justin moved sometime after that, and I lost touch with the guys. I was busy with my new career and a new baby at home, and my rock and roll days were over. I wish I'd made more of an effort, but I'm pretty bad sometimes at keeping in touch with people. I heard the guys had moved to Melbourne at one stage, but I might have got that wrong. I also recall seeing in Drum Media that they release their second album, "Tickle Your Brain" in 1995, but that was the last I heard. Yet the guys were often on my mind. After the internet became big I occasionally tried to track them down, without luck.
Until one evening earlier this year. My wife was out and my eldest son had recently moved in with his girlfriend, and I was sitting at home and feeling incredibly nostalgic. I typed "Jarrod Murphy" into google and discovered he had a pretty large internet footprint, from which I pieced together the rest of his story. I've since FB'd both Jarrod and Andy - after 20 years!
Pelican Jed broke up in 1995 (I'd like to know the full story there). From 96 to 98 Jarrod was in a band called SMLXL, which the surviving members speak really highly of. I'd like to hear their music some time. The band broke up after the tragic death of the drummer.
From 1999 to 2008 Jarrod was in a band with his brother called Major. They released 2 LPs and 1 EP before going on extended hiatus. Their first album garnered rave reviews and airplay, but they lost steam after their second album was not as well received. You can read the hilarious and heartbreaking story of that album here. You can also listen to their music here - its original and engaging.
From 2005 to 2008, Jarrod also played in a Sydney-based rock group called The Cops, who enjoyed a fair bit of success. You can read their story here. After that he gave up being a rock star, got married, had a kid, and lived happily ever after.
Justin drummed for Major's first EP, but that's the only thing I know about his and Andy's post Pelican Jed career. I saw Graeme a couple of times with Frog, then nothing for 20 years until I recently saw this clip. But I'd like to know more guys! Nor have I spoken about what I did myself with music after all this - that's another story.
And that, with plenty of holes, is the story of The Catch and it's aftermath. When I started writing this series my wife (who is 8 years younger than I am) said, "People will think you are an old fart if you write stuff like that." She came up with the "Prehistoric facts" label that accompanies these posts, though it's all said in fun.
It's made me wonder if I'm being venerably nostalgic. It's said that young men think about the future, mature men think about the present, and old men think about the past. I'm also a bit wary of living out Springstein's lyrics in Glory Days. But I know from the stats that about 50 or 60 people are following along this little story, quite a few who saw The Catch back in the day. And I've had plenty of positive comments.
You know, it's often occurred to me that the modern western world is the most musical society in history. Music has always been important to people, but there has never been a time when it is so ubiquitous and sophisticated. And music, popular music, is the language of modern story. Little wonder these tales are imprinted on my brain, and 20 years after the fact people are still interested in The Catch. And sometimes the story of the music is almost as important as the music itself.
Thanks for listening, you've been a great audience. Good night!
The Catch was finished, yet music remained an important part of our lives.