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
http://www.rockabillyhall.com/StrayCats.html

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.




Shaun Mather
Shaun.mather@btinternet.com
March 2004



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