All Thatched Roof Glass House cover artwork by Sean Nixon
JULY 8, 2020
Spoke to Mike Watt, formerly of the Minutemen, and widely considered one of the greatest Bass players of all time, yesterday for an hour, and had a complete blast!! The interview is interspersed with ten Alpha Cat songs, both studio releases and also featuring two live unreleased recordings. He also adds some of his favorites in between... He got a lot of funny stories out of me, including one about the mysterious panties in the bed of a seedy motel room during the Alpha Cat tour of 2000 in support of Real Boy! As far as history, we barely made it through Real Boy, but definitely a lot of backstory! Enjoy!
JULY 22, 2020
Elizabeth McCullough records as Alpha Cat. But this show is about more than just her music. Elizabeth began her career in music as a photographer. She transitioned to recording artist in the late 90’s. But after a series of personal & professional setbacks, she suffered a breakdown while recording Alpha Cat’s second LP. The breakdown was so severe that she researched and contemplated suicide for twelve years while going to therapy. It was only after her therapist passed away that Elizabeth realized how much she had helped her. With that in mind, Alpha Cat is offering a recording of a live show for $2 from alphacat.band. The proceeds are being donated to Bring Change To Mind & Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation. Follow Alpha Cat and us on IG. Pick upi Alpha Cat’s latest album on Bandcamp for a reduced price. Now let’s get right into the show with Elizabeth McCullough of Alpha Cat. This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
JULY 29, 2020
#ARTISTPROMOTION | ALPHA CAT PRESENTS NEW SINGLE “THATCHED ROOF GLASS HOUSE”
How do you make the image of a black hole positive? According to Elizabeth McCullough, aka Alpha Cat, “When I wrote that song I’d just read how astronomers had determined that you could actually escape a black hole, but only by going all the way through and out the other side. And that leads to wormhole and time travel theory, where not only do you avoid annihilation, but arrive at a place you might never have reached otherwise. An amazing metaphor for transformation, and ultimately hopeful."
Recording began on the album Venus Smile in April 2006. Several tracks were completed, with the help of guitarist Doug Pettibone, bassist Reggie McBride, and drummer Jason Smith. But by July, McCullough fell into a real-life black hole, losing her voice and experiencing a profound emotional and psychological breakdown. She was unable to complete the record.
Later McCullough decided to revisit Venus Smile. She enlisted engineer Brett Thorngren to mix the songs, with encouraging results. As it turned out, she had found a new champion in Thorngren. But it wasn’t until early 2019, with newfound clarity and the retreat of long-held fears, that she listened to those mixes anew, and began to realize that maybe there was something in this music. In early June, McCullough decided to put those songs out, the result: Thatched Roof Glass House. At long last, her journey through the wormhole seems to be complete.
Alpha Cat’s Elizabeth Mccullough: “As a songwriter, I seem to have always been writing letters to my future self. Almost, as a rule, each song that I have written doesn’t reveal it’s entire (?) meaning to me until sometimes years later, or upon hearing a listener’s perspective that I hadn’t thought of before they shared it. And of the song itself, even though I wrote it years ago, I didn’t fully understand the full meaning of the title until my decision to put this album out. I thought that Thatched Roof Glass House, which just came to me from the ether, by the way, was a catchy phrase, but I didn’t understand that the roof was thatched because it was in fact, archaic!
So now I can’t help but feel that the extraordinary situation in which we are living is the direct result of a large portion of humanity failing to love, respect and honour each other and our planet. We are all guilty of projecting our own faults onto others, rather than looking at ourselves. And I shouldn’t have to say it, but people who live in glass houses should unequivocally not throw stones…”
JULY 18, 2020
Woody Radio DJ Mike Show #131 7/18/2020: Interview doubleheader: Elizabeth McCullough of Alpha Cat and Lisa Mychols!
Gotta say here, July’s been a really fun month to do radio. This weekend was another lucky one for me. I got to chat with a couple of amazing artists with strong new albums out–or just about out.
In the first hour, I met Elizabeth McCullough, of Alpha Cat. She’s got a couple of new releases out, although not necessarily brand new material. We had a wide-ranging chat about her lengthy career, including the origins of the name Alpha Cat (one of the coolest band names ever), and the genesis of the albums she’s released recently. The studio album, “Thatched Roof Glass House”, is simply one of the finest I’ve heard this year. It turns out that she wrote it, and started recording it, her third studio album, about a decade and a half ago. But a big roadblock–depression–stopped everything in its tracks. We do talk about that in some detail in the interview.
Fast forward to 2020–and Elizabeth revisited those songs, and released them. And what a stunner. This album is a rocker, but it’s very lyric-forward. And it’s rare for me to hear or notice lyrics in my first few listens to an album. Usually, the music–the melody and arrangement–will grab me first. Upon repeated listens, a word or phrase might catch my ear, and then, I’ll do the deep dive into all the lyrics. Not this time. The lyrics, and Elizabeth’s powerful delivery–got me right away. Really strong and deep, and my favorite songs are the title track, Mona Lisa in a Comic Book, and a tasty cover of the wonderful Warren Zevon cry for reconciliation, Reconsider Me.
The other recording available now is a live set, from almost exactly 15 years ago, entitled Alpha Cat Live At Vox Pop. It’s a full 45 minute recording, all in one track, which puts you right there in the room with the audience. An intimate evening with a powerful performer.
STEREO EMBERS MAGAZINE by Dave Cantrell
STEREO EMBERS EXCLUSIVE VIDEO PREMIER – Alpha Cat’s Moving Cover of Warren Zevon’s “Reconsider Me”
Warren Zevon. The name evokes a torrent of thoughts and reactions, nearly every one of them tinged with emotion and glowing with respect. While to some degree the depth of that fondness flows from the too-early age of his departure from this plane – his ride arriving at the still-tender age of 56 – its primary source is, of course, the work he left behind. Though emerging on the same LA wave that, in the wake of Joni and the rest of the Laurel Canyon commune, brought the likes of Jackson Browne and John David Souther to the attention of record executives from Asylum and Elektra, it didn’t take long for Zevon to distinguish himself as a songwriter of a somewhat different cloth. Both a bit more warped and more eloquent, dusting traces of, say, Hunter S Thompson into the singer-songwriter tropes of the time, Zevon at his zenith was untouchable, like some sort of possessed cross of Dylan Waits and the works of some wildly irreverent Zen masters, an existential juvenile delinquent that in truth transcended heights unthinkable to his peers. Perhaps what most enamored him of the fates, however, was how, despite his intrepidly singular poetic vision, Warren Zevon was never not grounded in the realities both emotional and transactional. It’s the crux of what set him apart, and it’s something that Alpha Cat’s Elizabeth McCullough absolutely gets.
A visceral and highly-regarded songwriter in her own right, McCullough comes to this cover of “Reconsider Me” carrying a weight of experiential bona fides that could fell a lesser talent. Having hit the ground running at the turn of the century with the Television bassist Fred Smith-produced demo Real Boy EP in 1999, the follow-up album Pearl Harbor, once clearing the untimely hurdle of a release date scheduled a month after September 11th, 2001, went on to garner multiple best-of-year awards once it was re-issued in 2002. Thus the table was set for a second full-length Alpha Cat album, the sessions for which commenced in LA in 2007, with seven vocal and fifteen instrumental tracks set down before McCullough was plunged into an emotional breakdown severe enough she suffered the loss of her voice.
Fast-forward a dozen years past many fruitless hospitalizations and countless bouts of essential silence, through 2013 when an experimental treatment brought significant relief then through further to 2019 when those basic tracks are restored and re-realized as the glisteningly vulnerable triumph of will that is Thatched Roof Glass House. Heard in this light, in this context, it’s no surprise that the Alpha Cat take on “Reconsider Me,” both visually and sonically, has such impact. Recorded originally for the Wampus Multimedia album Hurry Home Early: The Songs of Warren Zevon, this more recently-minted Glass House version that’s getting its video debut today was produced by McCullough and fleshed out by a band consisting of more-or-less band members Doug Pettibone (guitar) and Reggie McBride (bass) along with Jason Harrison Smith on drums with Derek Dragotis supplying backing vox. With the immediacy and steady urgency of Thalia Zedek and the deliberate, scraping intensity of Low, Alpha Cat’s version of Zevon’s track from 1987’s Sentimental Hygiene strips away the expected studio gloss of that era until we’re there at the song’s essence, alone but hopeful, determined, scarred, human down to the bone. A stunner of a re-imagining, one can only believe that Zevon, wherever Zevon is, is smiling that wry, knowing smile of his. We sure are.