|Take And Give, The Wildcats
Hell's Kitchen records CD 66604
The original Wildcats started in 1982 as a Rock'n'Roll Trio, with a different Line-Up, playing gigs around their area in Rotterdam, Netherlands. To make their favourite sound, the British Revival Style (like Crazy Cavan, Shotgun etc.), they searched for a second guitar player. In 1984 Kees "De Prins" van Bemmel, a very young enthusiastic guitar player, joined the band. The line up in those days was: Roel Hazelhof on bass, Kees Spider Jan Dekker on leadvocals & guitar, Peter Schenk on drums & vocals and Kees van Bemmel on guitar & vocals. The band got very popular, played at many Festivals in several countries (Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Spain and on the big weekenders in Great Britain).
The Wildcats created exactly that powerful sound the European Teddy girls & boys wanted to hear. "I found a friend in alcohol" became more than a club hit! So Big Beat Records (one of the biggest R'n'R record companies in that time) was very interested to sign them. But in 1987 Spider tried other things, the band took another guitar player and Kees De Prins van Bemmel started singing the lead vocals continuously from now on.
Unfortunately, in 1989 the band had to quit, but around the turn of the century some of the bandmembers hooked up with associates of Lou Cifer & The Hellions from Oberhausen (Germany). Mikel Müller and Stefan Pfeifer loved and played this Teddyboy-Style for years and were totally into the "classic" Wildcats. They were very interested in playing together and came over for a few rehearsals & recording session. The project got the name "Black Leather" and the line up was: Kees "Spider" Dekker on vocals & guitar, Mikel Müller on guitar, Andy Rohling on bass and Stefan Pfeifer on drums. The project got the name Black Leather.
Because Andy started his "Evil Eyes Tattoo Studio", Mikel took his place as the bass man and Lele Lugosi reinforced the band playing rhythm guitar. A new name was found in Wildcat Rock and a three-gig tour was arranged in April 2001, including headliner appearance on the Rockabilly Race Festival near Ulm/Germany. Wildcat Rock started getting busy. But the band couldn't have a real future. Spider lived too far away for rehearsal, gigs and touring. Not to mention having a wife and two children at home. Then there was this other Wildcats singer ... By positive contact with Mr. Kees van Bemmel and after a few rehearsals everybody was sure: This is the real BAND & ready for touring!!
The above is the "nutshell version" of the story, you can read the band's full history on their website at http://www.the-wildcats.info
Meanwhile, we write the year 2008 and The Wildcats have just released their second full time CD on Hell's Kitchen Records titled "Take And Give". And it looks great! Cool wild cat graphics on the 8-page booklet with lotsa pictures and info. But of course, it's the music that counts. The CD contains 12 tracks, half of which are originals, written by Kees van Bemmel.
The show hits off with a Britisch classic by Frederic Heath, who of course was better known as Johnny Kid. A great start for a great album full of Teddy Boy stuff. They even covered a modern classic from Down Under's Wes Pudsey & The Sonic Aces "Baby Won't You Ride With Me". The title song "Take And Give" was a 50's crooner by Slim Rhodes, and The Wildcats do a fantastic rendition. Another great song is Eddie Rabbit's "Drivin' My Life Away", which I've always liked better on Sonny Fisher's "Texas Rockabilly Tear Up" LP. Then there's also a bit of Johnny Cash and Everly Brothers, and not forgetting the original Wildcat tracks, all played in Teddy Boy style with a great rhythm section, which includes Mikel's fast rolling electric bass. You just gotta love this album, and there's only one way to play it right: LOUD!
The Wildcats are (L2R):
Bookings & Information:
Kees van Bemmel also plays lead for The Jacuzzi Sharks:
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2008