|From 60s mod to 80s VJ,
English Cathy IS Rock'n'Roll
BY TINA ALVAREZ
She is perceptive, pretty and petite. She has more irons in the fire than any blacksmith could dream of handling with the ease and dexterity that she masters. She is a person who is generous with time she doesn't always have and always is as attentive to the needs of her musicians as every musician would hope every manager would be.
She is Catherine Harris of the Pink Cadillac Cafe, Transatlantic Management, Misdirected, and vj of the newly-aired "Desert Rocks," a music video program broadcast Sunday evenings on channel 18. If that isn't having irons in the fire, I don't know what is.
More commonly around town she is known as E.C. "I moved to America in 1967 and met a girl named Cathy," E.C. explained. "She became my best friend. We had been room-mates and when you have two Cathys in the same house, I automatically became English Cathy and she's Tucson Cathy."E.C. is one of the few women in the entertainment scene in Tucson. She is concerned about riveting attention to local groups, bands on tour and making Tucson a feasible watering hole for a variety of musicians.
E.C. first came to the United States twenty years ago. She was born in Nottingham, England during a World War II blitz. "My mum had to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance and there were bombs going off, it was foggy and we barely made it. So that's how I came into the world," she revealed, laughing.
She became involved in the music business when she was 15 years old, working at a company where she was a social director putting on dances. She recalls seeing the Rolling Stones perform at local pubs for free and tossing pennies into Brian Jones' hat, which he set down in front of the stage. "I heard of them because I was a big Chuck Berry fan and someone said to me this band was playing Chuck Berry covers, rhythm and blues. So I went to see them and it was the Rolling Stones," she explained. "I was working for Decca Records at the time and Decca signed the Rolling Stones."
While living in England, E.C. had a varied background, to put it mildly. She campaigned for nuclear disarmament and went through a series of musical fads. "London is very much more into sub-cultures than here," she noted. "I was a beatnik, then a teddy girl, then I became a rocker, then I became a mod--and anyone that's seen Quadrophenia, that's very, very, right on. Then I left London in 1967. London was really swinging. The 60s in London were incredible."
E.C. admits that even as a little girl she had always wanted to come to America to work in the music business. The place where she chose to relocate was Los Angeles. "When I came to the West Coast there was a lot happening. It was a time of complete turmoil in America with Vietnam and everything like that," she recalled. "I started managing bands. I didn't see myself as any different from anyone else in the music business. The fact that I was female never really meant anything. "Really and truly," she continued, "in the early days in CA it was an acute advantage for me to be not only female, but English too. I've been gone from CA for ten years now, but when I go back they know the nickname, the accent. I think it's an asset, I have to admit."
E.C. said she seems to have been at the right place at the right time--the early 60s in London, the late 60s/early 70s in LA. She even booked Van Halen on an informal basis. She sums up her LA days as having lived through an earthquake, Van Halen and a lot of rock'n'roll. During this period, Los Angeles was spawning performers like Janis Joplin and the Doors. E.C. experienced the psychedelic era of the early 70s and by 1972 things started to die down.
Having been to Tucson visiting friends, she decided to make the move here in the late70s. "When I first came to Tucson in 1979, it was hopping. We had the Hurricane -- we must never forget Pearl's, the mother of punk - there was the Night Train, it was quite an active club scene happening."
Despite all the fanfare of previous years, E.C. appears to be content running the Tucson Entertainment Complex, which consists of the Pink Cadillac Cafe, Transatlantic Management, and Misdirected. Pink Cadillac Cafe is an all-ages non-alcoholic teenage nightclub that will be expanded into a 1950s soda fountain-style restaurant. Transatlantic is a management company and Misdirected is a basic rock'n'roll store. "The goal of the Tucson Entertainment Center is to make Tucson a viable force in the music business," she explained. "We want to provide a fully comprehensive entertainment facility where people can came in and find management. We can provide them with what they need in terms of grooming and management." The Pink Cadillac books a number of bands and musical styles. E.C. cites her personal favorites as Noiz Toyz, Faded Images and Extremities. "I would like to have a club that caters to everybody, to all musical tastes," she stressed. "I would like to have everyone in here from Brian Bromberg to UPS. I would like people to make this a stopping point When they're out on tour." With E.C. at the helm, It's only a matter of time.
Due to zoning restrictions the Tucson Entertainment Center had to close their doors just before 1990. The Pink Cadillac was a teenage nightclub and is now fondly remembered by the slightly over thirty crowd in Tucson as a cutting edge environment where one could catch at least four rock'n'roll bands on Friday night and then come back on Saturday night and blast out your ears in a Gothic discotheque.
Since closing T.E.C., English Cathy has concentrated solely on Transatlantic Management. Formed in Los Angeles in the late sixties E.C. moved the company in 1980 to the serenity of the Sonoran Desert in Tucson, Arizona and has no intention of leaving.
With over thirty years experience in the music business E.C. is always in demand receiving requests for representation from musicians far and wide. Representing artists from America and Europe she has produced six management sampler CDs in the past several years traveling thousands of miles to music conferences in America, England and Germany.
English Cathy is the co-organizer of "Regional Roundup", a music showcase held yearly for the past twelve years in Austin, Texas at the South By Southwest Music and Media Conference. Sponsored for the last two years by Subway Restaurants "Regional Roundup" is a much looked forward to event by conference goers and will expand to three nights in the new millennium.
Above and beyond everything though the goals of the Tucson Entertainment Center still apply...to afford unsigned artists, (no matter where they are from), an opportunity to bring their music to the attention of media and record company personnel worldwide and to advise, counsel and protect those artists throughout their career.