20th October 2022 0 By John Deaux

Satan’s Rats opened for The Sex Pistols in 1977, played the famed Roxy Club in London and released a trio of highly prized singles. They later went on to recruit Wendy Wu as singer in 1979, changing their name to The Photos whose debut album reached No. 4 in the UK charts.

I first came across Satan’s Rats in a seedy bedsit in Morecambe, Lancashire in 1980. Sandwiched between two bunk beds five young punk rockers jostled for space amidst overflowing ashtrays and last night’s cider bottles as one of Morecambe’s punks plucked a seven-inch single from his prized, and fiercely guarded black PVC vinyl singles box. ‘Ave ye ‘erd this?’ I admitted my ignorance and onto the already spinning turntable he placed a single, ‘You Make Me Sick’ (released in 1978 on DJM Records and produced by Vic Maile) The title track is a frantic and infectious slice of early punk, a staccato, bittersweet accusatory anti-love song with a particularly memorable repeating chorus that chants the title so often it embedded the track into my memory. That was then this is now…

Satan’s Cats EP is a collaboration between one of the UK’s original 1977 punk rock bands and Puss Johnson of garage punk’n’roll band Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons. The debut EP is released November 4 by Salamander Records. Available on CD and download, the EP features five songs, including four reworkings of vintage Satan’s Rats tracks and a cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Rocker’. Satan’s Cats comprises three original members: guitarist Steve Eagles (founding member of Satan’s Rats in 1977), drummer Olly Harrison and bassist Dave Sparrow.

When the Rats dissolved in 1978, the trio invited Wendy Wu to sing and rebranded themselves as The Photos. Following much media attention and a record company bidding war, they signed with Epic Records. Their debut album reached 4 in the UK charts.

For this new EP, the three Rats have collaborated with vocalist Puss Johnson, from the incendiary Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons. The EP features four classics from the Rats’ repertoire: ‘You Make Me Sick’, ‘Façade’, ‘Sex Object’ and ‘Year Of The Rats’ – chosen mainly by Johnson and Harrison. The band tried out seven or eight old Satan’s Rats songs and the four that sounded the most immediate made the cut for recording,” said Eagles. The cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Rocker, was included as they felt it would suit Puss’s voice and attitude.”

Satan’s Rats’ second and third singles, ‘You Make Me Sick’ and ‘Year Of The Rats’ were both released in 1978 by DJM Records, a company named after the music business veteran (Dick James Music) who had originally signed Elton John. During their brief existence, the Rats played many of the famous punk clubs of the day: The Roxy in London, Barbarella’s in Birmingham — and shared bills with XTC, The Killjoys Slaughter and the Dogs and many others from punk’s first wave. One of the highlights of their careers happened December 21, 1977, (when they opened for The Sex Pistols at Club Lafayette in Wolverhampton, (four days prior to The Sex Pistols’ last gig in the UK on Christmas Day 1977). 

After Satan’s Rats and The Photos, Eagles spent time as guitarist with the post punk/no wave jazz band: Blurt and, in the 1990s: Bang Bang Machine. Harrison went on to become a filmmaker having his work shown at Cannes and the British Film Institute. Dave, alongside his charity work, is now a luthier and member of band The Pleasuredome.

As for the future, Eagles says “Satan’s Cats is all about having some fun. If there’s enough interest in the EP, I could see it leading to an album.”

SATAN’S CATS EP (Salamander Records, 2022)
1. You Make Me Sick
2. Façade
3. Sex Object
4 Year Of the Rats
5. The Rocker.


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