Before I start to tell you the many reasons you should become obsessed with Bad Dream Fancy Dress, I want to say a massive thank you to Cat and Jeff from the band. It's been such a pleasure chatting to them all week, we have shared many laughs, and I feel I have had an exclusive look into what makes them tick. I have fallen a little bit in love with Cat, my wife wants to dress up as her for halloween. This article was such a pleasure to put together. They have reminded me why I joined this blog, and why I do what I do. Thank you.
Ok, enough about me.
Bad Dream Fancy Dress was the crazy creation of 2 party animals, Cally and Katz back in the 80s. They achieved fame with their explosive first album Choir Boys Gas, and the single Curry Crazy, available on Spotify for all you young’uns to go check out.
Now, 30 something years later, Cat Rees has decided to join forces with her partner, Jeff, and mate, Joe, and do it all again. We will find out why from the lady herself in our snazzy little interview.
What we have is the 10 track album, Space Goddess, a riot of genres all mixed together. Catchy pop along side infectious punk rock. Cute vocals sung with a stern Welsh middle finger. More sexual innuendo than a carry-on film, with a whole heap of female empowerment. All wrapped inside what could be the soundtrack for a 60s interstellar B-Movie that you want to watch over and over again. It's sexy, it's unapologetic, its political at times, but most of all it's so much fucking fun.
It carries on from where the band left off 3 decades ago. I urge you to go listen to it, it will improve your mood and make you wanna dance. It appeals to fans of Lady Gaga just as much as fans of The Misfits. The only people this won't appeal to is people who take themselves a little too seriously. Emo kids, stay away. Everyone else, strap in!
Let's hear it from the mouthpiece of the band though. Cat was kind enough to take the time for an exclusive interview. If you want to find out about her alien friends and what happened to her tickets to the Royal Wedding, keep reading.
ALOMR - First of all, welcome back. Many of our readers weren't even born when you started this insane creation. What made you think “Yes, the time for a new Bad Dream Fancy Dress record is now”?
Cat - To some extent it decided itself to re-birth through a bizarre set of events:
While I was making the first Album ‘Choir Boys Gas’ I had a part-time bar job at the Grand Hotel in Leigh-on-sea, where all the local musicians hung out (Dr. Feelgood, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Ian Dury) and I met a guitar player, organizing an anti-poll tax festival in Basildon, who wanted me to play live. Instead we ended up recording a single on an old eight track called ‘Moaning Mini’ which we sent to John Peel.
To cut a long story short he phoned us back and said he was NOT going to play it, as it wasn’t ‘ready’ material, but he liked us and asked us to send him the next recordings and he would play them. He kept true to his word playing Bad Dream Fancy Dress and Jeff’s band, Foreheads in a Fishtank. But Jeff and I split and never recorded any tracks together again until the Space Goddess Album.
We met up by chance twenty-two years later while I was being strangled, stabbed and disemboweled for a Channel 5 Jack the Ripper documentary and I told Jeff about the Bad Dream Fancy Dress facebook group which I’d recently joined and he agreed to film the Lemon Tart Video.
We then recorded a series of covers for the fans, Last Christmas, Happy Mondays ‘Step on You’ and 'The Party from El'. Then, Christmas day 2013 the River Medway decided to change course in the middle of the night passing through our front room and leaving us both destitute. In that darkest hour, a strange man knocked at our door offering us a shower and some strange Jewish, Italian, Irish stew he’d made, and following copious amounts of alcohol, we were invited to jam in his recording studio, and the first song BREATHE was started (first to start last to finish).
Then my inner ‘Diva within’ journey began. The Space Goddess song, was followed by Film Noir and The Longing. Some songs were planned; Tokyo Toy was written deliberately to create Bubble Gum Punk, in the vain of the original Bad Dream Fancy Dress single ‘Curry Crazy’ which had done well in Japan.
Now for the boring bit, my health deteriorated. My feet were rebuilt, I had a spine fusion operation that left me in a wheelchair, and lots of drugs to curb the pain. The recording process for the album slowed for a while, when, again by chance, Christmas 2016 a doctor in Cardiff sent me to have my hips x-rayed. They had completely disintegrated and they wanted to operate straight away, so a decision was made to finish the vocals on the ten most completed songs. Andromeda (Fifth Element extravaganza), Typing Pool of Love (Retro Fun), Samhain (Something Darker), Route 69 (Suzi Quatro road trip) and Morpheus, which captured my sporadic presence on planet earth at that time.
ALOMR - If I had to describe your music to an alien, and I suspect you have run into a couple of them, I'd say your music is bubblegum pop with plenty of sex wrapped up in a punk rock catsuit. How would you describe your sound, and what inspires you, musically?
Cat - Well I love your description. Especially the Punk Rock Cat suit!
We tell stories. We love exciting visuals, old films and retro images. Counter moods the juxtaposition of rhythms with light and dark pattern. We enjoy satire, pain, joy, innuendo, and layers on many levels of sound. We don't just do a single genre. The songs have to have something to say, an energy. It’s about empowerment, regardless of sex, gender, appearance or age. Music should talk to everyone, self-expression, self exploration and always entertaining, there’s nothing worse than being dull.
ALOMR - That's exactly what this blog is all about. Why we started this.
Cat - We don't like the current homogenized X factor warbling, musical happy meals, where most of the contestants end up in rehab singing someone else’s words to someone else’s tune. We want passion! It’s about bands trying to be different not all the same. A band should seek its own unique voice. There are no personalities in the industry anymore. At least back in the nineties we had the likes of Jarvis Cocker. We might not like Liam Gallagher, who is increasingly becoming a parody of himself, but at least he hasn't sold his soul, at least he’s still vaguely interesting. What ever happened to Music scene Manchester back in the 90’s needs to be re-discovered, X factor was a crime against humanity. Simon Cowell should be sent to the Hague.
ALOMR - Can’t argue with that!
There was a massive, like proper massive 25+ year gap between the last album and Space Goddess. How easy was it to pick up where you left off? How did you manage to keep the distinctive sound of the band after such a long time away?
Cat - I’m the only original band member. But we tried to capture the original energy, lots of loose takes and spontaneity, especially on the vocal. Followed by the hard work, I lay the keyboards and virtual instruments and Jeff and Joe did the guitars. I choose a more grown up direction, no good denying twenty-five years of life. We were ‘labeled’ as school girls on Choir Boys Gas. I’ll label myself this time, this little girl has grown up to be a ‘space bag’.
ALOMR - Space Bag? Love it. It seems you speak fluent innuendo, do you also speak any alien languages?
Cat - Oh you are awful.. how very dare you! But yes I do have a close friend who is a Klingon who insisted on translating the lyrics. He’s also teaching me Klingon sign language, which apparently you can get arrested for on most galactic planets if used in Public.
English is actually my second language, I know some people consider Welsh an alien language but I only use my native tongue a little on Samhain. We like to explore languages we also love nonsense rhythm Roald Dahl-isms, if we can't figure out the words we just make the words up, it's all about context and having fun with language.
ALOMR - Space Goddess is a tailor made soundtrack to the best sci-fi b-movie of all time. It's full of whirrs and beeps, sultry vocals and a ton of sexual innuendo. Can you give us a little insight into the creation of the album?
Cat - We sort of answered that earlier and all the songs are so different. But Space Goddess was inspired by the ‘Barbarella’ opening title sequence. It's a housewife breaking free from the domestic chains in her head. Breaking free from conformity, negative relationships. Re-discovering sexual freedom and breaking the transgender chains. Holding her vibrator high and proud instead of hiding it away in the closet. It's a ‘yes you can’ song, we can all break free, to infinity and beyond!
I’m not sure what you mean by ‘Creation’, but we have a spare room which we call the Fishtank Studio it has Pro Tools. It’s full of instruments, Keyboards and guitars and it has a toilet tent as an improvised vocal booth, but it seems to work. I write Keyboards and melodies, occasionally synth bass. Jeff plays guitar, samples drums and twiddles his knobs (Oh yer) and Joe occasionally turns up from Ireland and adds some musical genius to the plot. Lyrics are written on scraps of paper all over the house and random Jams are recorded on the phone. But we always see the songs and have ideas for songs first, recording tracks happens down the process.
ALOMR - My favourite track on the album is Route 69. What's yours?
Cat - It's difficult you don't have favourite children and it always depends what mood I’m in. By and large my favourite song is the one I’m currently working on, so at present it's a song called ‘OMG We Thought We Were So Retro’ which gives a nod and wink to Prefab Sprout. The idea for a song is the most important bit.
ALOMR - What's your favourite dinosaur?
Cat - A Orgasmasaur or Uranusrexsus
ALOMR - Are you the hero or the villain?
Cat - Neither, I’m a witch. However about eight years ago I did play a villain in a Welsh soap opera called Pobol Y Cwm. I’m the welsh equivalent of Phil Mitchel, but in leopard skin outfits, called Judith, a very naughty drug dealer and gangster. So young children used to flee from me in terror when I was seen on the streets of Cardiff. My character finally got sent to prison in a big Crown Court trial and as far as I’m aware I’m still in prison now.
ALOMR - Did you ever find your plasma gun from behind the sofa?
Cat - Yes, along with the bloody amazon Stick! A time travel belt, a big red button (Bigger than Trumps!) and my invite to the Royal wedding, which I promptly stuck back behind the sofa.
ALOMR - What's next for you and the boys?
Cat - First some videos. We like filming videos. The next Album was started when I finished ‘Space Goddess’ there was incomplete material and some new songs being penned. It’s called ‘Bionic’ for obvious reasons, as I’m now more metal plate than human. But there’s still lots of work to do to get that out next year. We have also been asked to do some live dates, so we are thinking about that possibility depending on my recovery. We would love to play LA and Japan.
ALOMR - Come to Manchester, too.
Lastly, what is your Good Dream Fancy Dress costume?
Cat - Last night's bedtime outfit was a wetsuit but that was rather Bad Dream. Possibly a onesie with a boned corset and fluffy slippers…One should always look one's best in the boudoir.
See? So much fun. A great story!
I honestly would never have guessed that Prefab Sprout would ever be mentioned in this blog.
Still not sold? Go check out the album on Spotify.