The Big Cats
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|The Big Cats|
The Big Cats performing in Little Rock (December 2010)
|Genres||Indie, rock and roll|
|Years active||1993 – Present|
|Associated acts||Chino Horde, Pinhead Gunpowder, Green Day, Dan Zanes and Friends, The Stills|
|Past members||Shannon Yarbrough|
The Big Cats are an American indie rock band, with members based in San Francisco, New York City and Little Rock. The band formed in 1993 with members from various Little Rock punk bands - Chino Horde, Substance, and Five-0. The band's sound marked a shift from punk rock towards early rock and roll.
Each of the members of The Big Cats grew up in and around Little Rock, Arkansas and even played in many of the same bands from early in their careers. The band was formed in 1993 following the breakup of two separate bands, Chino Horde, whose members included Taggart and Substance, whose members included Brooks and Bentley. The three piece made their live debut at a New Year's Eve party on 31 December 1993. In 1994, after spending three months living in a motel in Montana, Taggart asked high school friend [and former bandmate in the group 5-0] Shannon Yarbrough to join the band. The band kept an initial busy pace mixed between local concerts and rehearsing & recording new material. In 1996, Bentley relocated to Nashville and Jason White moved from California back to Arkansas to play bass in the band. This incarnation of the band won local accolades, continued to write & record and eventually toured the midwest and northeast with the thought of relocating. Unable to reach a consensus of where to move, the group disbanded. Over the next two years Taggart, Brooks, and Yarbrough took up residence in various neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York while White returned to Berkeley, California to begin playing with Pinhead Gunpowder and eventually, Green Day.
On Sunday, May 7, 2000, Shannon Max Yarbrough was killed in an automobile accident. The loss would end up bringing the band back together the following Christmas to play a tribute show in his behalf. A year after his death, The Big Cats regrouped in a Fayetteville, Arkansas studio to record a two-song 45 single on the newly minted, band-operated label, Max Recordings (both its name and iconic logo were in tribute to their lost bandmate). The two songs from the 45 single were later grouped with unreleased recordings throughout the 1990s and released as the album, Worrisome Blues, in 2002.
On break from Green Day, Jason White was living with his wife in the small delta town of Leland, Mississippi meanwhile Colin Brooks [still in New York] had begun playing with the Canadian based band The Stills. Starting in the spring of 2006, each began to make extended trips to Little Rock to begin the songwriting process for what would become On Tomorrow. Working with Barry Poynter at his studio in Little Rock, it marked the first time the band had converged to concentrate on and record an album's length of material.
Pop Matters gave the record a rating of 6/10. Stewart Mason of All Music said about the album, "In some ways, the Big Cats are so retro they're positively cutting edge: this Little Rock quartet is a jangly guitar pop band from the South, a style of music that was absolutely everywhere in the post-R.E.M. '80s but has been decidedly absent from the cultural Zeitgeist for quite some time. On Tomorrow isn't some kind of archeological enterprise, however: this kind of low-key, earnest jangle pop is more timeless than that."
The Ancient Art Of Leaving
In January 2010 the band began the follow up to On Tomorrow. Again working with Barry Poynter, the band set out to develop and arrange the 25 demos that Burt had written. By late October the band announced that recording had finally come to an end and that they would be releasing 25 songs as a two part album in late 2011 and early 2012. On Tuesday, December 13 the first half of that effort was released, titled: The Ancient Art Of Leaving: High & Low.
Arriving nearly a year after The Ancient Art Of Leaving: High & Low, part two of The Big Cats 25 song project The Ancient Art Of Leaving: Two Parts is slated for release on November 6th, 2012. The band also announced via their website that there will be a limited 3xLP vinyl release of the entire project titled simply The Ancient Art Of Leaving available on the same date.
- Worrisome Blues (2002)
- On Tomorrow (2007)
- The Ancient Art Of Leaving: High & Low (2011)
- The Ancient Art Of Leaving: Two Parts (2012)
- "Fayetteville Blues" / "The Sun's Always Finding My Way Around" (2001)
- "Rock And Roll Nightmare" on Listen To What I'm Made Of: Songs By And For Shannon Yarbrough
- "Runaway" on Towncraft (film)