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Ratcat, 1991
(L-R): Amr Zaid, Andrew Polin, Simon Day
Background information
OriginSydney, New South Wales, Australia
GenresIndie rock
Years active1985 (1985)–1998 (1998), 2006 (2006)–present
Associated actsDanger Mouse
Past members
  • Victor Levi
  • Trevor Wintle
  • Andrew Polin
  • John McAteer
  • Cathy Webb
  • Amr Zaid
  • Marc Scully

Ratcat are an Australian indie rock band from Sydney who formed in 1985. The band is fronted by mainstay vocalist and guitarist, Simon Day. Their combination of indie pop song writing and energetic punk-style guitar rock won them fans from both the indie and skate-punk communities. They found mainstream success with their extended play, Tingles (October 1990), album Blind Love (June 1991) and the single, "Don't Go Now" (April), which all reached No. 1 on the ARIA Charts during 1991. The band released two subsequent albums that did not match their earlier chart success. Ratcat ceased performing live regularly in the late 1990s; however, they continue to perform sporadically. During their career, much of Ratcat's albums and singles artwork was created by Simon Day.[1]


1985-1990: Career beginnings and Waterfront Records[edit]

Ratcat were formed in 1985 in Sydney by Simon Day on lead guitar and lead vocals, Victor Levi on bass guitar and Trevor Wintle on drums.[1][2] Both Day and Levi had been members of garage band, Danger Mouse.[1][2] Ratcat "built-up a strong live following by playing the local haunts of the Sydney skate-punk scene alongside the likes of Massappeal, The Hellmenn, The Hard-ons and Happy Hate Me Nots."

The group signed to Waterfront Records, and released a self-titled extended play in December 1987, which "contained four of the band's self-penned stage favourites plus a cover of "I Think We're Alone Now"."[1] It was followed by two singles, "I Think I Love You" (August 1988) and "Baby's Got a Gun" (December).

In July 1989, The band released its debut album, This Nightmare[1][2] By that time the line-up was Day, John McAteer on bass guitar and Andrew Polin on drums.[1] According to Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, the album "contained a treasure-trove of witty, effervescent Day-penned tracks like "Go Go", "True Lust", "Baby's Got a Gun" and "The Killing Joke", plus a cover of UK band The Darling Buds' "If I Said"."[1] Another single, "Saying Goodbye"was released late in 1989 which was their final release on Waterfront.[1][2] Amr Zaid replaced McAteer on bass guitar and backing vocals.[1][2] Alister of Tharunka felt "Saying Goodbye" was "quite refreshing, both in the areas of its mixing and melody, despite decidedly average vocals."[3]

1990-1998 Blind Love and rooArt records[edit]

In February 1990, Ratcat supported English group Buzzcocks and fellow Australian band Falling Joys,[4] before signing with the rooArt label, distributed by PolyGram.[1]

On 14 October 1990, the group released a six-track EP entitled, Tingles, which was produced by Nick Mainsbridge (Tall Tales and True, Martha's Vineyard).[1][2] McFarlane noticed that "almost immediately the frisky "That Ain't Bad" scored mainstream radio support."[1] That track, combined with their cartoon, tattoo-ish artwork (which featured heavily on their releases and in their videos), saw Tingles reach No. 1 on ARIA Alternative Singles Chart and, in May 1991, the EP was a number-one hit on the ARIA Singles Chart for two weeks.[1][5] "That Ain't Bad", the lead track, was Day's "simple attempt to mix noisy guitars and the words 'I love you' together in a song without one contradicting the other."[6] The Canberra Times reviewer opined that it "has had the airplay, but it is not the best track. "Don't Go in the Water", a dire little track, and "Getting Away (From This World)", with its hackneyed but fairly successful insertion of sound from the Challenger shuttle disaster, are both excellent tracks."[7]

According to an Australian Musician Magazine staff writer, Ratcat were the first alternative band to go mainstream – they provided one of the Top 50 Most Significant Moments in Australian Pop/Rock History.[6] The band's second album, Blind Love was released in May 1991, and its lead single "Don't Go Now" (April) both reached No. 1 on their respective ARIA charts.[8] The song was co-written by Day and Robyn St. Clare (of the Hummingbirds). For recording, at Paradise Studios, Day, Polin and Zaid were joined by St. Clare and Margaret Urlich on backing vocals;[9] they were produced by Mainsbridge, again.[1][2] Zaid told Charles Miranda of The Canberra Times that their chart success was "really weird it happened so quickly it's sort of difficult for us to understand what has happened. And it does put pressure on us to come up with the goods. We have to look at what we've done [... but not] perform to any sort of dictated standard by what we've achieved."[10]

The group supported fellow Australian group, INXS, on the latter's Australian tour in April and May 1991 and followed by headlining their own Invasion of the Dinosaur Killers Tour in June.[1][6] Their next single, "Baby Baby", was released in July and reached No. 21.[8] In September they started a four-month tour across the United Kingdom, continental Europe and the United States.[1][11] Polin described how "We were playing to full houses a lot of the way around... Admittedly, in London about a third of the audiences were Australians but we had sold about 17,000 copies of our album over there."[11]

Upon their return to Australia in December, they released an eight-track live album, Alive.[1][2][11] Marc Scully replaced Zaid on bass guitar in mid-1992.[1][2] Their third studio album, Insideout (November 1992) also produced by Mainsbridge, spawned three singles, "Candyman" (May 1992), "Holiday" (October 1992) and "The World (in a Wrapper)" (May 1993).[1][2] It was recorded between March and May 1992 at Rhinoceros Studios, with Day providing vocals, guitar and bass guitar; and Polin on vocals, drums and percussion.[12] McFarlane opined that these releases "were unable to repeat the spectacular success of their predecessors but kept Ratcat in the public eye."[1]

In January 1995, the band released "Rain", which was produced by Tony Cohen, and EP The Smiler in August 1995, and started work on a new album, Easy Rider.[1][2] The band sporadically played live shows over the next few years and Easy Rider was eventually released in July 1997.[1]

Ratcat re-emerged in 1998 to play at the Homebake Festival with a new bass guitarist, Nic Dalton (ex-The Plunderers, Sneeze, The Lemonheads, among others). They also collaborated with John Paul Young – who supplied backing vocals – on a cover version of his earlier single, "I Hate the Music" (September 1998).[1] It was included on the soundtrack for the feature film, Occasional Coarse Language (November 1998).[1] The band officially disbanded in 1998.[1]

2002-present: periodic performances[edit]

The group played a few shows in 2002, including a spot at the Big Day Out, and, in 2006, were a support act on the Psychedelic Furs Australian tour. They did a further gig at The Jack Daniel's music awards and played, in early June 2006, at the Come Together festival at Luna Park. In 2011, they played a show at The Factory in Marrickville, to mark the 20th anniversary of Blind Love.

A 2010 TV ad for Bonds' brassieres featured a group of women dressed in the branded underwear performing a cover version of Ratcat's "That Ain't Bad" on a street float. An apparently shocked Day made a brief appearance as a passer by, wearing his once signature black and white striped T-shirt and black jeans, reminiscent of the look he sported in early Ratcat videos. He has also appeared with Sydney bands including the Art, and the Glimmer (formerly the Mansons). In 2011 Ratcat were confirmed for Sydney's Homebake festival, subtitled "The Classic Edition".

The band played as part of the 'A Day on the Green' concert series in March 2016, with Hoodoo Gurus, Sunnyboys, Violent Femmes and Died Pretty.[13]


  • Simon Day – vocals, guitar, bass guitar, main songwriter (1985–present)
  • Trevor Wintle – drums (1986–1987)
  • Andrew Polin – drums (1985–1986, 1987–2011)
  • Victor Levi – bass guitar (1985–1988)
  • Cathy Webb – bass guitar (1988)
  • John McAteer – bass guitar (1988–1989)
  • Amr Zaid – bass guitar, backing vocals (1989–1992)
  • Marc Scully – bass guitar (1992–1996)
  • Nic Dalton – bass guitar (1998–present)
  • Reuben Alexander - drums (?2014-present)


Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
This Nightmare 81
Blind Love
  • Released: May 1991
  • Label: rooArt (848523)
  • Formats: LP, CD
  • Released: November 1992
  • Label: rooArt (4509905532)
  • Formats: CD, Cassette
Easy Rider
  • Released: July 1997
  • Label: rooArt (74321492912)
  • Formats: CD

Live albums[edit]

List of live albums
Title Album details Peak chart positions
  • Released: December 1991
  • Label: rooArt (510686)
  • Formats: CD, Cassette

Compilation albums[edit]

List of compilation albums
Title Album details
Informer 80:629
  • Released: December 1993
  • Label: Shock Records (RAISON006)
  • Formats: CD
Twisted Tails - A Ratcat Best of...
  • Released: September 2001
  • Label: Sony BMG (74321867012)
  • Formats: CD

Extended plays[edit]

List of extended plays, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
  • Released: October 1990
  • Label: rooArt (878 165)
  • Formats: LP, CD, Cassette
The Smiler
  • Released: July 1995
  • Label: rooArt (0630113442)
  • Formats: CD
Laughing Bag and Other Funny Stories
  • Released: July 1997
  • Label: rooArt (74321492932)
  • Formats: CD


List of singles, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
"I Think I Love You"/”Depression” 1988 non-album single
"Baby’s Got a Gun"/”Purple Room” This Nightmare
"Saying Goodbye" 1989 non-album single
"Don't Go Now" 1991 1 Blind Love
"Baby Baby" 21
"Candyman" 1992 38 Inside out
"Holiday" 41
"The World (In a Wrapper)" 1993
"Rain"[19] 1995 non-album single
"I Hate the Music" (Ratcat and John Paul Young) 1998 Occasional Course Language (soundtrack)

Other appearances[edit]

List of other non-single song appearances
Title Year Album
"Razor Blades" 1986 On the Waterfront, vol 3 (DAMP 43)
"The Purple Room" 1987 Fuck or Fuck Off (DAMP 67)
"Everything You Said" 1988 Hummingbirds/ Ratcat[20]
"Dead Dog Standing" 1989 I Could'a Been a Contender (DAMP 121)[21]
"A Christmas Lullaby" 1989 Rockin' Bethlehem (SAW025)[22]
"You Get Me By" 1990 Youngblood 2[23]
"Skin" 1991 Triple J Live At The Wireless[24]
"Tripping on a Blind Date" 1998 Homebake Vol 2[25]
"That Ain't Bad"/"Don’t Go Now"/"You Get Me By" 2001 Rockart - The History Of RooArt Records[26]
"Electric Lash" 2002 Electric Lash (songs of The Church and Steve Kilby)[27]
"Hell on Hot Bread" 2015 Manilow Tribute![28]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Ratcat'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 30 September 2004.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Holmgren, Magnus. "Ratcat". Australian Rock Database. Passagen.se (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 5 August 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  3. ^ Alister (9 April 1990). "Ratcat: 'Saying Goodbye'". Tharunka. 36 (4). p. 27. Retrieved 4 September 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ Wong, Kean (1 February 1990). "Showtime: Back for the First Time". The Canberra Times. 64 (20, 018). p. 21. Retrieved 4 September 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Ratcat – Tingles EP". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Australian Musician staff writers (19 June 2007). "The 50 Most Significant Moments in Australian Pop/Rock History". Australian Musician Magazine. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Hybrid Flowers are up with the best of them". The Canberra Times. 65 (20, 361). 10 January 1991. p. 12. Retrieved 4 September 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Discography Ratcat". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  9. ^ Ratcat (1991), Blind love, rooArt, retrieved 4 September 2016
  10. ^ Miranda, Charles (27 June 1991). "Ratcat from Alley to Rooftop". The Canberra Times. p. 13. Retrieved 4 September 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ a b c "Ratcat woo army of fans in Europe". The Canberra Times. 66 (20, 690). Australian Associated Press (AAP). 5 December 1991. p. 20. Retrieved 4 September 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ Insideout (liner notes). Ratcat. rooArt. 1992. 4509-93600-2.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  13. ^ "/". Themusic.com.au. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  14. ^ a b c Ratcat – ARIA peak positions. ARIA Chart archives. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 July 2018
  15. ^ a b Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (pdf ed.). Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  16. ^ "1991 Albums Chart". ARIA. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  17. ^ "Rarities". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  18. ^ a b "1991 Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  19. ^ "New Releases – Product Available from: 16/01/95 (from The ARIA Report Issue No. 257)". ARIA. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  20. ^ RatCat/Hummingbirds (1988). Ratcat/ Hummingbirds (303037) (vinyl). Birdcat.
  21. ^ Various Artists (1989). I Could'a Been a Conteder (Various Artists) (CD). Rude.
  22. ^ Various Artists (1989). Rockin' Bethlehem (Various Artists) (CD). Timberyard.
  23. ^ Various Artists (1990). Youngblood 2 (Various Artists) (CD). rooArt.
  24. ^ Various Artists (1991). Triple J Live At The Wireless (Various Artists) (CD). White Label.
  25. ^ Various Artists (1998). Homebake Vol 2 (Various Artists) (CD). Warner Music Australia.
  26. ^ Various Artists (2001). Rockart - The History Of RooArt Records (Various Artists) (CD). rooArt.
  27. ^ Various Artists (2002). Electric Lash (CD). Blackwelder.
  28. ^ Various Artists (2015). Manilow Tribute! (Various Artists) (CD). Smudge.

External links[edit]