Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Let Us Sit Upon The Floor And Tell Sad Stories Of The Kings

Richard christened us The Catshit Kings. Misheard lyrics can be hilarious, not so much in your own song. It is, without doubt, a terrible name. You dream of a band name to rank alongside Crazy Horse, The Attractions, The Bad Seeds... you even make a note of a few in your little black book for possible future use, and then some bass playing comedian ridicules one of your songs and suddenly you're stuck with something truly awful. But it made us laugh, and makes performing that song doubly hard, knowing that behind my back they're all sniggering.

But that's what being in a band is all about. Finding a gang, a bunch of friends who support each other in every way, but also know how to cut each other down to size when necessary. A band is a hard thing for a singer-songwriter to find, let alone fund, and I’ve been lucky through the years, persuading some great people to play with me.

Some stay, some leave, some come back. Touring with me is a bit like a gap year, or voluntary service overseas – the riches may be little but the rewards are great. So here’s to you Laura, Clive, Tony, John, Ian, Ash, Gary, Richard, Dave, Brian, and of course, my brothers-in-alms, Olli and Oli. And Johnny, the best sound man in the known universe, and several parallel ones. I couldn’t have wanted for better friends.

Now the year draws to a close, the money is spent, and after many sell-out shows - often with bigger audiences than ever - it’s time to pack the band back into the box and bid farewell. We gave of our best, every night. We meant it, every night. As The Boss says "no one pays to hear how good you were last night". And that’s why he’s The Boss.

So these October dates will be our last hurrah, our last voyage, our valedictory. Everyone knows that life is different for musicians these days, but it’s changing for all of us. Times are hard for everyone and life is what it is – no violins, no wailing – adopt, adapt, survive. The world spins, things change. Noone's job or chosen career is safe. We are all in the same boat.

And what a boat it has been. Over the years it’s gone from tall ship to barge, from rowing boat to canoe. Now it's time to finally face facts and learn to swim. There will be more adventures, different guises, fewer extended boating metaphors - and fresh projects to get excited about, not least a solo tour ... and before too long the second half of the album... but for the time being it's don the speedos, pull down the goggles and without sight of land or horizon, just swim.

So a big thank you to all of you who came to the shows earlier this year, and to the festivals, and to all of you who have been coming to the gigs for a decade. And to those of you who helped out, who trimmed the sails, pumped the bilges and joined me in the search for land. I hope it was all worth it. I’ve loved every second.

Don't miss this last chance to see us as a band. We're going to send the old girl down to the depths in style.

In the days to come, keep an eye out for me in the rising waters. That dot in the distance, that’s me. I’m not drowning, I’m waving.

RIP The Catshit Kings.

Long live The Catshit Kings.


PS And for any of you choking back the tears, just picture me in Speedos.

PPS... extra-curricular ramblings here


  1. tom in speedos its not making me laugh, i would love to see it

  2. But you will get together again to tour the second part of the AOH and things and people will be the same again, right?

    I mean, this is more of a break...........right?

    Although it sounds like a farewell..


    Lovely photo, you all look happy and great and beautiful.

    Dave a bit more.

  3. No! Why are you talking as if everyone are gonna die or move to different parts of the world never to see each other again? This can't be the end of the great collaboration you've shown us this year. Not forever!
    Can't believe I'm gonna miss the October tour. Esp. now, reading this blog! Even though I've seen 13 of your Norway gigs, I want more. Seeing you live is like an energy boost I don't get anywhere else, and the band makes the feeling even greater.
    Let's wait with the band funural, can't we?

  4. Nick De Baerdemaeker7 September 2010 at 18:01

    "Tom Mcrae and the undertakers" then ?

    seriously, this can't be the end of your career, can it ?
    It does indeed sound like a farewell...

  5. This is a picture to cherish, and a bittersweet message, Tom. I guess that all comes to an end but I hate funeral and I am not good at moving on. You're probably wiser than me.
    If you say that this ship has sailed, it must be true. I will miss it.

    As for your other ramblings, I understand where you stand, and there's wisdom in your words there too, but your blog saddened me even more...although "I feel like I'm grooming people, in a sort of a Catholic priest way. And as the choir boy says, it's leaving a bad taste in my mouth" almost made me smile.

    So...Missa est?

  6. I was fortunate enough to meet you after your Northampton gig in November 2003. This will sound very morbid but stay with me, I had just that been told my grandfather had terminal cancer so as you can imagine I was in somewhat a rather melancholy strage frame of mind.

    Being able to come and see you so early on following the release of your second album I must say I forgot my here and now for a while and enjoyed a wonderfully beautiful evening of the best kind of live music there is (even now it exists in your tours amogst some other artists of course).

    Apologies, for I digress (as usual) but coming back to meeting you after the show was such a pleasant experience as I rambled on about my musical likes (which have increased furthermore in the last 7 years) in, I shall freely admit, a bid to impress you and we tried to get invited on to your then very small tour bus to share in after show Heinekens.

    I have followed you (but alas I'm not the stalker) ever since that first gig I went to and been to quite a few more so I wish to thank you for the music (oh dear, I see what happened there) and may you continue bestowing your art upon us for many years to come.

    Also thanks to your influence I was highly fortunate to know about the Hotel Cafe in LA where I visited earlier this year. This kind of bar is something I believe we sorely lack in the UK to our own cultural detriment (if that makes sense?).

    After what seems to be turning into some kind of essay, simply thank you Tom Mcrae.

  7. Hm, ever thought about writing a book? I mean, you have a lot to say and obviously you are an amazing word-juggler. Maybe you hate me when reading this but you´re not so far away from a Nick Hornby!!!! And I guess if he released a CD a lot of people would buy it just because they KNOW him...

  8. Humpf, this posting makes me sad. Seems I have to say goodbye to something I really don't wanna say goodbye to. You lot look so great together! Are you even parting ways with the Ol(l)is? You guys have been together since forever?

  9. Tom, I really hope this is just a temporary feeling and that you all decide to along.

    Last March in Amsterdam was fantastic.

    Hope this will not be the last time seeing and hearing you

  10. A very big thank you for bringing your show to Ireland last time and a great show! Have been blown away by your performances since first seeing you play in Ronnie Scotts in birmingham in 2001. I continue to be inspired by your music and your witty performances....here's to many more and heres to the catshit kings!

  11. hmmm... so shall we bring cake?

  12. I've been so lucky to be at few of your shows at Folken, Stavanger, Norway. Always a great pleasure. I hope you will be back and "set the story straight".

  13. Tom,

    Your band should definitely come to Holland to sing goodbye. I saw that Holland is not listed in your last tour!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Rotterdam, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Groningen: anywhere and we ll come!!!

  14. I'm trying not to feel sad.

    We're in the midst of a grand-scale decluttering project - of real-life junk, mental knottiness and virtual hangers-on. When we're done, one of MY simple pleasures will be more quality time for Tom McRae, on a simple, sound system with perfectly pure clarity.

    Not that you're simple. More like simply inspirational. Enjoy the tour immensely. I wish I could find a way to be a part of this finale of sorts x

  15. Very sad to miss the finale of this tour, this band was the most fun I've seen you have on stage. Hope the rising waters will bring you back to Portsmouth/Southampton again, and for what it's worth your Facebook posts seem pretty sound to me. Please don't go away - I've bought all the albums at least once and got to a handful and a bit of gigs since the first album and would like to carry on contributing. Hope you can carry on creating and finding an audience for ever.

  16. what a sad news... however, as an avid, old, not-so-clubgoer-but-magazine-reader, Hungarian Tom McRae-fan, I'm extremely glad that I have the chance to see your show in Paris in october. it will be my first Tom gig and I'm sure it won't be the last. see you soon. :)

  17. No - this can't be right! I'm bringing my husband and pregnant self to the October gig in Edinburgh. I'd hoped to bring my wee boy to a gig in a couple of years. I'll keep hoping! I cried when Crowded House played their farewell gig (televised from the Sydney Opera House) and now I've seen them twice since. You'll be back!

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