Slim Jim strays from Cats to Kat Men

Slim Jim Phantom, Darrel Higham and Al Gare  of Kat Men
Slim Jim Phantom, Darrel Higham and Al Gare of Kat Men

Slim Jim Phantom has lived and breathed rockabilly for decades.

The drummer has dominated the rockabilly circuit since the late 70s, for years in the Stray Cats, and now, he’s preparing for a show in Sheffield with his other band - Kat Men. The rock and roll-inspired Kat Men features Phantom on drums and guitarist Darrel Hingham, who also worked as a session musician for wife Imelda May.

“It’s nice to do something different,” says Phantom, who changed his name to Slim Jim Phantom in the late 70s. “Sometimes you have to take a break from time to time.”

And like the Stray Cats, Kat Men has a loyal audience. “It’s a lifestyle thing with this music.

“There’s something about hearing Gene Vincent or Eddie Cochran for the first time and now that lifestyle is taking off everywhere, from the UK to Japan to America. It’s great.

“There’s a rockabilly scene in every town though I think England has the biggest scene.”

And drumming is key to rockabilly, according to Phantom. “There’s a dance basis to this music and the songs all have a certain swing and rhythm to them.”

So important is rhythm to to Kat Men’s repertoire that their latest release is called Beat for the Feet.

And on Friday Kat Men bring their beats to Sheffield’s feet at Plug, Matilda Street.