Born 20 March 1961, Brooklyn, New York City
Slim Jim Phantom will forever be remembered as the crazy, smiling, stand-up
drummer for the sensational rockabilly revival band, the Stray Cats. A
lovely rogue, he kept a relentless pounding beat with Lee Rocker allowing
Brian Setzer to shine with some breath-taking guitar licks. It was a perfect
combination which you can read more about at
Following the break up of
the band, Slim Jim has been a busy man. Playing in numerous bands and
running his own Cat Club joint on Sunset Strip. He will always have a band
to play, it's in his blood and bands will always want him. He's a great
drummer who plays with enthusiasm and verve and always gives the material
that extra kick. I think his best work is on the Blast Off! album, although
he kicks ass on everything the Stray Cats have ever done.
Slim Jim became a stand-up drummer as a sort of protest against the rock
drummers who had about fifty piece drum sets which took up a quarter of the
stadium space they were playing in. Also, the Stray Cats were a great visual
group and Jim didn't want to miss out on the action. He also recalls that
the Gene Vincent photos they saw showed Dickie Be-Bop Harrell standing at
the drums, and thought (wrongly it turns out) that that's how he played.
As well as banging the drums, Slim Jim made the news in the '80s for banging
the beautiful actress, Britt Ekland. They were married for quite a few years
more than the press expected and kept Jim in the UK papers long after the
Stray Cats had moved on. Although his other bands have failed to reach the
heights of the Stray Cats fame, they are still worth looking at.
The first afterlife band I became aware of were Phantom, Rocker and Slick
with Lee Rocker and former Bowie man, Earl Slick. They did a couple of
albums, 1985's self-titled debut and 1986 great follow-up, Cover Girl. The
debut remained on the American charts for six months with the single Men
Without Shame hitting the top 10 on rock radio.
Phantom and Rocker next teamed up with guitarist Danny B. Harvey to form the
Swing Cats. They released four albums between 1999 and 2002, the best being
Swing Cats which featured some high voltage rockers in Tall Skinny Mama and
Little Pig, together with some less successful standards like Summertime and
St. James Infirmary.
In between these release he also worked as part of Lemmy, Slim Jim and Danny
B., the members of who should be self explanatory. Their self titled debut
from 2000 featured covers of such rock'n'roll classics as Cut Across Shorty,
Matchbox and a handful of Buddy Holly songs. 13 Cats feature Slim Jim,
Harvey, Smutty Smith on bass and Tim Polecat on vocals. Their 2003 album
simply called 13 Cats has some interesting sounding song titles but
unfortunately I haven't heard it.
Another band he plays in are Col. Parker with Gilby Clarke, Muddy Stardust
(sounds like a glam rock-bluesman) and Teddy Andreadis. He toured the UK
last year to critical acclaim with Dead Man Walking, a mix-match of '80s
stars including Mike Peters (The Alarm) and Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols).
Finally there's his own band Slim Jim's Phantom Trio. Together with
double-basser Jonny Ray Bartel and Lee Rocker's guitarsist Mike Eldred they
play a powerful roots rock sound. They are currently working on their debut
disc and hope to embark on a European tour to promote it later in the year.
He has signed an endorsement deal with Peace Musical Co. who've called their
latest snare drum the Slim Jim's Phantom Beauty. To top it all, Jim and the
Stray Cats are embarking on a European tour this summer (2004) and I can't wait.
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