The new World/Inferno Friendship Society album is an accomplishment. It's the band's most multi-faceted, most genre hopping, most psychedelic release, and that's saying something for this band of circus-punk-anarchists who have already released albums about astral projection, Peter Lorre's tortured life, and summoning gourd-dieities from hell. All Borders are Porous to Cats tells the tale of a cat, that jsut happens to be in a hat, as he scurries away from the crushing manacles of a corrupt government that wants lock people in cages for simply being different… sound familiar? You can read all about it below.
“There are a few things that I’m good at,” Jack Terricloth says. “Fighting, singing, and romance.” The singer of World/Inferno Friendship Society is sitting on a flipped amp on the stage of Philadelphia’s Boot and Saddle club. His drink of choice (Johnnie Walker Black) is in a glass in one hand while his other hand fidgets with one of his cufflinks. It’s the end of the band’s East Coast tour but Jack Terricloth is jazzed up, in good spirits, and looking rather hale and hearty- at least as healthy as a skinny, pale vampire can get.
The band is just kicking off their next phase supporting All Borders are Porous to Cats. For the past twenty some years, World/Inferno has been a chaotic vaudeville-circus-punk band, bending soul crooning over top of Crass style politics while wearing sharp suits and revolving a lineup of six to eleven people with pretty much every instrument in the band at some points. And notably, a lot of their songs are about fighting, singing, and romance.
As to those three aptitudes that Terricloth mentions, you can account for two right there and then. Romance wise, the singer’s bandmate (and girlfriend) Gina Marie is packing up a few last things off the stage. She’s one hell of a bass player and her style is fifty percent Pris Nexus-6 and fifty percent Rubella Ballet. The woman has got style.
Singing wise, he just completed his last set for the next few weeks and boy, let me tell you, he was on POINT. As you may know, World/Inferno basically broke down again last year (more on that later) and the band from the last twelve months or so has a lot of new faces. That’s not a bad thing for a band like this and it’s certainly not an uncommon one. Still, whenever the band resets itself, it evolves into a new form and, at least from the fan perspective, there’s always a concern that the new flavor might not be as good as the old one. Taste is subjective no doubt, but the latest incarnation of Inferno retains the low end, blues power from the past five years or so while also harkening back to their earliest celtic-hop days. A diehard fan of Dexys and the Pogues (though he wiggles away from those comparisons in some interviews) Terricloth seems pleased with the band’s current Sam Cooke meets Neo-Paganism style.
Fighting wise, however, Terricloth wasn’t born a brawler- he was made one. “In my high school, we had to stick together because there were fights every God damn day,” he says. “My high school years were terrifying and very violent. There were stabbings. There were shootings. There was never a single time that the school’s circle of punk rockers were all in school together because someone, or a lot of people, were either suspended for fighting or in the hospital.”
In the early ‘80s, Bridgewater-Raritan High School was full of, as Terricloth states it, (the kids of) “straight up Italian gangsters.” And boy, they did not like the kids dressed in black with the pink haircuts. As the singer tells it, they wouldn’t walk up to you and say “I hate your hair” and start punching- they’d just walk up behind you and start punching.
Frankly, it’s hard to imagine Terricloth or his punker friends as either street rumblers or four-eyed nerds. If you see Terricloth today, you’ll see a suave dude, always clad in a sharp suit (before, during, and after shows), always with a Maltese Falcon style hat, and nearly always with some type of spirit within reach. As the singer of World/Inferno, he’s the band ringleader, a guy that commands the audience with a dulcet voice and anarchist flair that seems one hundred percent in his element and completely unflappable on stage. Most punk bands will screw up on stage once in a while with false starts and squabbles… but it always seems like World/Inferno is as tight as the JBs- they might not actually be that practiced and honed, so it’s a testament to Terricloth’s calm suave that they seem that way.
And that’s not to mention the dude’s frame. Terricloth has long spindly arms (that seem just a little too long for his body) and a narrow torso. The Mike Tyson build is not something he has. So, how did this be-suited specter transform to what he is now from what he was?
Well, one fun fact is that if you check out a demo tape by a long forgotten New Jersey punk band called Neurotic Impulse, you’ll spot a teenage Jack Terricloth in the band lineup- though he’s still credited under his birth name “Pete Ventantonio.” That Jack, or Pete as it may be, isn’t wearing a fancy schmancy Louis Vutton get up. He’s wearing a Ramones jacket and “oi! oi!” pants. Still, you can tell he’s just a kid and you can also tell that he weighs, oh, maybe 135 pounds.
Then, if you check out an early Sticks and Stones single, you’ll see a picture of (still) Pete- this time rocking a faux-devilock and approximating Doyle’s muscleman vest style, minus the massive ‘roid muscles. But even more tellingly, next to Ventantonio/Terricloth’s face is a credit that reads: “Bass on Contempt by Scott Hollingsworth. Don’t Waste what you got boy blue.” For years, rumors have circulated that boy blue is, in fact, Scott Hollingsworth.
And that’s kind sorta maybe where World/Inferno Friendship Society begins and where the transformation from Ventantonio to Terricloth starts. And maybe more importantly, that’s kinda sorta maybe where one of the most friendships in punk starts as well.
In the Briar Patch Born and Raised
So, let’s go back to this guy Ventantanio that’s always fighting in school. True story, one of his friends was thrown out of a second story window. There were “stabbings all the time.” And as Terricloth says, “I was a quiet kid.”
To a degree, it’s not a surprise that he had a tough time in public high school. Neither of his parents were “Joe six pack” as it were. His mom, quite ironically, was a principal. His father was a prominent attorney. Both parents knew multiple languages. His father once ran for office.
“My father had a spectacular failed career as a politician because he was just too damn funny,” Terricloith says. “He was a hoot, a big ol’ Italian tough guy. He was doing a debate on television. I forget what the other guy’s point was, but my father said, on public television, ‘I think the problem with my opponent is that he’s a raving sphincter!’ The other guy didn’t know what sphincter meant. He was like, ‘what does that mean?’ and my father was like, ‘you really don’t know what that means?’ and the moderator was like, ‘ummm… a sphincter is an… anus…’ He lost the election by a landslide.
With parents like that, is it any wonder the guy had a bad time in a central Jersey public high school? Which is why it’s so ironic that his best friend is his best friend.
Scott Hollingsworth also went to Bridgewater-Raritan public high school. But, his parents were not academics, attorneys, or politicians. As Hollingsworth tells me, “My Dad was a slumlord and a gambler. When I was a teenager my Mom was an art teacher in a jail. She started working there when my brother was locked up for dealing drugs. She wanted to make friends in there to help him have an easier time I guess. But, I didn't really give a damn about school.”
If you don’t know who Scott Hollingsworth is, that’s OK. To a degree, he’s always been the unseen force behind World/Inferno whereas Terricloth was the front and center totem. Along with Terricloth, Hollingsworth founded the group and was a central part of the band’s first few singles. By the time of their second, breakthrough album, Just the Best Party, Hollingsworth had quit the group. Though, even when he wasn’t there, he was there. Check out “Me v. the Angry Mob” off the band’s landmark double LP, Red-Eyed Soul. The crux of the track is Terricloth having an entire conversation with Hollingsworth… even though Hollingsworth isn’t in attendance. “Oh like you’ve never been in a fight, you’ve never caused a scene,” Terricloth admonishes before stating, “Anyway, shut up Scott, you’re not even really here.”
So, it’s somewhat surprising that Hollingsworth and Terricloth seem to understand each other like no other, especially considering the fact that one was the product of, as he puts it, “hustlers” and the other of political academics.
“I will say, there was always music playing in my house when I was a kid,” Hollingsworth tells me over the phone. Hollingsworth lives in North North North New York out in the middle of the woods, which, as we’ll see later, was a mater of come consternation. “My brothers were into rock, my dad was into Jazz and my Mom was into classical. My brother Gary was in a band and he always had chicks hanging around watching him play and I thought it was so cool. I asked my parents for lessons. When I was around seven they bought me a piano.”
Though while Hollingsworth was surrounded by jazz and classic rock, a chance encounter with the show CHiPs changed everything. “On the show, there was this punk band called Pain,” Hollingsworth explains. “They played this club and everyone was slam dancing and they wrecked the place and smashed guitars and fought the cops, and my eyes popped out of my head. I couldn't believe it was a real thing and I started looking for punk in the record stores. Sex Pistols, Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Kennedys, and the Clash were the first ones I bought. I bought them without ever hearing them, just from the pictures on the cover.”
It wasn’t long after that Hollingsworth ran into Terricloth, who, of course, was still “Pete” at the time. Hollingsworth says, “I met Pete at Bridgewater Raritan High School East. He had a Cadillac, and we used to blow off Gym class and go drive around or hang out at a diner. He knew a lot more than I did about the Punk scene. He turned me on to a ton of music like Misfits, Nick Cave, Velvet Underground, the Damned.”
There’s two funny things in the Hollingsworth recollection. First, the memory of Pete’s vehicle doesn’t jive with Pete/Terricloth’s recollection. As Terrricloth describes it, “Pete” had a VW wan with a bed in the back. He would wake up, drive to school, and then, instead of going inside sleep in the van until lunch time. Around then, Hollingsworth would come out of the school and the two would have lunch, after which, Hollingsworth would go back inside. By contrast, on days that Pete felt like it, he would go inside and waive to the principal. “My high School was very happy for me to not be there because I was such a problem,” Terricloth says.
The second funny thing about Hollingsworth recollection is that, during that time period, Terricloth describes himself as “a quiet kid.” Hollingsworth description of that time period is a little different. He says, “Pete was a very angry boy. Straight edge, well read, political. He was bullied a lot, originally for being a nerd, later for being a punk. In retrospect, it was like the origin story of the villain, of Jack Terricloth. Awkward young man pushed over the edge by the bros, the cheerleaders, by society, vowing revenge against all those that ever wronged him. It was really very charming. “
Bad Penny Blue
Perhaps as an early strike against those that had wronged them, Pete and Scott formed the now revered, but the then-ignored, Sticks and Stones. A combination of hardcore, post-punk, (and maybe the tiniest bit of Embrace-style emo), the band played with force and melody, all with lyrics that could stand as poetry on their own. So, it’s no surprise that with that much substance, the band never really caught on.
“We formed Sticks and Stones in around 1986 I think,” Hollingsworth recalls. “Jack had just been kicked out of his first band, Neurotic Impulse… Actually the three other members of the band quit and started a new band without him, which was called Vision. That’s kind of a passive aggressive way to kick someone out, but whatever, we were like15.”
“I’m still mad about that,” Terricloth told me in a prior interview, some thirty years after getting the boot from a band that released a grand total of one demo tape and nothing else.
Hollingsworth continues, “Anyway, I was in a skate-punk band at the time that had a whack singer, and worse songs, so I bailed on that and we started Sticks and Stones. Pete knew Brian Johns, who had a truck he would take from his work when we had gigs so he got to be the singer. I never really liked the music of Sticks and Stones. I was annoyed that Brain couldn't sing in tune or in time. I was listening to Agent Orange, TSOL, Bad Brains, Dag Nasty and I always felt we were light-years away from being near that good.”
Terricloth’s recollection of Sticks and Stones varies from that of Hollingworth. “I loved that band,” Terricloth says. “They are the most wonderful people and the most cranky and charismatic people you could ever meet. Three Italians and a Japanese guy!”
That conflict, as slight as it might be, would perhaps be one of the defining traits of the Terricloth-Hollingsworth friendship- a cycle of break-ups and reconciliations. World/Inferno often references Tarot decks in the art and visual imagery, and just as the planets repeat a never-ending dance, well…
“I can't remember why I quit Sticks and Stones first time but it was probably artistic differences with Pete,” Hollingsworth says. “They got a new bass player, and about a year later Pete convinced me to rejoin playing keys. We went into the studio and recorded some songs with that lineup. I absolutely hated how it sounded, the keys in that music, I mean. I quit again a few months later.”
Citizen of Jazz
By Sticks and Stones’ second album, the band was breaking down. Terricloth was trying to expand the group and the horizons while the rest of them wanted to do straight up punk or to just do nothing at all. A returning point of conflict was a strange, ghostly song that Terricloth had written called “Tattoos Fade,” which had been kicking around since before the second album was written.
“I wrote ‘Tats for Sticks and Stones,” Terricloth says. “They didn’t want to do it. I was like, ‘this is the best song I ever wrote, we have to do this song!’ But, after we recorded the second record, they still said no. They were like, ‘we’re not the Pogues.’ I was like, ‘We could be!’ So, I left.”
And then, the cycle repeated. Again, Terricloth (who still was not Terricloth yet) linked up with Hollingsworth at Quad Studios. Hollingworth recalls the creation of “Tattoos Fade”. He says, “We had written a few songs that came out real light, like dreamy and poppy. Jack was really into them, and I was too, but when we went back into the studio, we wanted to do something that was way more aggressive and unusual. Jack had this loop he found on a record so we sampled that. Then, I started playing that piano, and we were both imagining that an old steam train was out of control rolling down a mountain, and Jack just wrote those lyrics in like a half hour and it was all written and recorded probably within 5 or 6 hours. We probably spent another day on the mix. We had our 10 fingers on the faders doing the mutes and levels and stuff on the fly. I actually like that mix. It sounds a little 2 dimensional to me but it has a good energy.”
“I played the drums which was odd because I don’t play the drums,” Terricloth tells me later. “It was just me and Scott. That song rocks.” Now, if you know anything about World/Inferno, you know how important “Tattoos Fade” is. It’s the song that opens every single concert that they do. It’s their battle cry and their manifesto. It’s one of those songs where the hardcore fans, and most of the other ones, too, sing every single word, especially the refrain “your tattoos, they’re gonna faaaaaAAAAAaaaaAAAAAadddde.” They also do that heavy metal thing where you hold your palm upward and curl up your fingers, like you’re holding a crystal ball or an orb. That is, it’s the keystone to the band’s show, it’s the keystone to the band’s identity, and it’s the keystone to the band.
“That song reminds me why I’m here,” Terricloth says. “I was talking about this with Felippe, our drummer. He was like ‘Can we leave out ‘tats?’ I was like, “no, we can’t, because if we don’t play it first I won’t know why I’m here or what I’m doing.’ It is my call to arms and reminds me why I’m here and why the audience is here. I do understand why the band may get tired of playing it, but, we can do any other song any time, but ‘tats has to be the first song. “
Jumping back to the 1994, Terricloth and Hollingsworth had recorded “Tattoos Fade,” a song which would come to define them both, but there was no band associated with it. What there was, however, was their collective called the World/Inferno Friendship Society. A loose knit group of anarchist friends, the World/Inferno Friendship Society would do some minor, and some major, pranks. Minor prank wise, the anarchist collective would commit vandalism, which even to this day, Terricloth expresses frustration that police blotter would always miss the political aspect of their damage, focusing simply on the amount of monetary damage done.
As to the “major” “pranks”- I’ll refer you to the band’s first proper album, which of course, was driven by Terricloth and Hollingsworth. The concept of 1997’s The True Story of the Bridgewater Astral League is that a group of punk kids would steal cars and sell them to Russian gangsters, who would then box the cars up and ship them to Russia for sale. Well, more or less, that’s actually a true story (as the title says outright). If you do some research, you’ll find a direct connection between gansgters to the anarchist collective World/Inferno Friendship Society but I’m not naming names for my safety and yours.
Hollingsworth says, “World/Inferno Friendship Society was originally a mischief gang, not a band. We were trying to make some kind of Dada/Political/Social Statement by committing peculiar, semi-random acts of vandalism and thievery. As it turned out the news articles were usually a disappointing 4th page paragraph that missed the entire point of the thing, and so we eventually decided to use a more direct delivery mechanism. “ Oh, also, that’s about the time Pete Ventantonio became Jack Terricloth. How did that happen? “One day, Pete called me,” Hollingsworth explains. “Pete said, ‘hey you know I'm thinking I need a punk name. What do you think of Jack Velvet- you know? Cause my voice is like velvet.’ and I was like, ‘Nah, your voice is more like Terricloth.’”
Having a double life is hard
And thus began the cycle of Scott joining the World/Inferno Friendship Society and Scott leaving the World/Inferno Friendship Society. Who knows how many times he’s been in or out and who knows whose to blame- assuming anyone is to blame, which, honestly, might not be applicable at all.
“The first time I quit World/Inferno, I had just gotten a job working at a studio that I really didn't want to get fired from, and Jack wanted to go do another tour of Midwest punk house basements,” Hollingsworth says. “We argued and fought about it and he gave me an ultimatum and I chose to stay and work.”
So, it’s telling that after Hollingsworth left the group, Terricloth kept him “in” the group- remember “Me v. the Angry Mob” above?
So then, it really was a surprise, but it kind of wasn’t, when Hollingsworth rejoined the group in 2012. The band had just collapsed (again, for the umpteeth time) and had released their most delicate, and perhaps most somber album, The Anarchy and the Ecstasy. It was a fitting time for Hollingsworth to rejoin because the band’s once formable ranks hand disintegrated to a handful of members (though Terricloth is always quick to point out that the band has no lineup and was designed that way and that whomever you see on tour is just whomever showed up at the van that day). Well, fine- so around that time, people whom fans were used to seeing show up mostly stopped showing up.
Yet, despite this flux, together, Terricloth and Hollingsworth (and a bunch of other contributors) crafted one of the band’s most concepty-concept albums. This Packed Funeral centered around the wake of punk singer Grace Talicious and included covers of the band The Paranoid Style- never mind the fact that the Paranoid Style didn’t actually exist. In true Inferno style, it was a playful as it was dramatic as it was morbid.
And to boot, it found the band building up from the reflective nature of The Anarchy and the Ecstasy to the band’s full, roaring, Northern Soul/Anarcho-punx/Goth floor shaking/big band power. The band’s annual Hallowmas from that time period featured a hearse parked outside, a coffin with a body in the venue, and culminated with the coffin being brought on stage while Inferno, as backed by a thirty piece choir, sang their once-a-year tribute to the dead, “Pumpkin Time” (which if you don’t know, is about a Pagan gourd deity that is equally likely to give you candy as he is to inflict cosmic horrors upon your eternal essence.)
From there, the band re-grew its powerhouse legs and often had seven, eight, or nine people on stage, and for, at least a number of years, had a more-or-less steady lineup. And throughout all of the tours from those years, the distinct sound of Terricloth’s smooth croon and Hollingsworth celtic-goth keyboard could be heard in the core of the music itself. Once again, the band seemed tight knit, locked in, and operating at full capacity.
And then they decided to record a new album… which took something like five years to finish.
The Roosters are Coming Home to Crow
“Every album is definitely different,” Terricloth says. I ask him if he likes the new one, All Borders are Porous to Cats. He replies, “The new album is very good. I definitely did not enjoy recording it because we did it in the woods in upstate New York in the middle of fucking nowhere. There were no bars, no restaurants and I just had to sit there. I did get a lot of work done. I pissed everyone off and I think that’s why Scott left.”
As of right now, Scott Hollingsworth is not in World/Inferno Friendship Society. “Jack and I haven’t spoken in a year,” Hollingsworth says.
Indeed, the recording process for the band’s brand new album, All Borders are Porous to Cats was a difficult one. In fact, the theme of the album as it is, wasn’t supposed to be the theme that it is, at all.
Hollingsworth explains, “Originally, the record was based on this guy who Jack hid from the cops in the early ‘90s. Jack had a job working night shift as a security guard, and this dude would hang out in the little office there all night and talk music with Jack, and sometimes Jack would take him somewhere or back to his crib after his shift. And one day the guy wasn't there and Jack asks his friend, ‘Hey, what happened to Sylvester,’ and the friend was like, ‘Jail.’ And it turns out it was Sly Stone, he was on the lam from the cops on some drug charges or some shit.”
But, when asked about Sly Stone, Terricloth has a different recollection. He says, “I used to drive Sly around as a sort of chauffer – when I was a security guard and you had to have a private detective license to be a security guard and carry a gun. Our interactions were mostly limited to me telling him that I played music and he saying, ‘Yeah, music’s cooool.’”
Hollingsworth continues, “This album was by design to not give a single fuck about fitting into any particular genre. When we were writing we would just start to jam on whatever type of groove we were into that week. We wrote ‘Nightmares,’ ’Cat in the Hat,’ ‘Alibi’ and ‘Double Life’ about Sly Stone. But as we were making the record, Trump got elected, and we wanted to say something about all that bullshit. So, we wrote ‘Culture Wars’ and Jack invented a new plot line about a Cat who is actually a refugee and then there's a crime and an arrest, but then Jack Terricloth saves the day by confusing the Judge at the Cat's trial with some double talk about wine and an Alibi… and then Saxophonist Aarron Hammes wrote a book loosely interpreting whatever lyrics he could decipher, which I think most people now take to be the actual meaning of the record at this point.”
While the band has tussled with politics on many of their earlier releases, this might be the first time they’re taking contemporary politics head on – albeit from the perspective the “Cat in the Hat,” who, as the band assures us, has absolutely no connection to any other fictional creations, be they similar named or described, and definitely does not violate any copyrights, trademarks, licenses, or other forms of intellectual property, registered, common law, or otherwise.
As is obvious by the title, All Borders are Porous to Cats takes a square look at Trump’s policies with a special eye on the recently constructed “border” “wall”.
“I wouldn’t be here if my parents weren’t allowed to come into the country,” Terricloth says. “It’s appalling what’s happening on the Mexican border. It’s straight up racism. They’ll let Canadians in but not Mexicans! We should all be very, very embarrassed.”
“Donald Trump is cartoon character that lucked out and got the best job in the world and he is running with it and I am not looking forward going to Europe in the summer,” Terricloth laments. “I will get shit from so many European punk rockers and I will not get any sleep. [In combination French-Germanic-Eastern European accent] ‘ow could yu vote for zis person?’ ‘Do you really you think I’d vote for this person?!’ But, I have to be polite because I want breakfast in the morning.”
As to how we got to this strange land, the singer has an idea. He says, “Dumbass populists elected a television star that actually has no ideals- I don’t think he cares about shit. ‘Hey I’m a famous guy! I do whatever I want!’ He just has people saying ‘you’re great, you should do this!“ and he goes, ‘Yes, I should!’ We thought we had a problem with Reagan. He makes Reagan look absolutely intelligent.”
As with many of the best albums, rage was just the right kind of fuel for the band to make an album that is as distinct in their catalogue as it is excellent. Sure, there’s the usual Vic Damone crooning. And yes, there is that Dexys Celtic hop behind the rock. But, this time around, there’s as much whimsy as there is fist pounding. There’s some Bowie style glam. There’s David Gilmore astral texture. There’s Freddy Cannon bounce. There’s Fritz Wunderlich emotion. It’s the band’s most layered album and thankfully, they remembered to keep the thumbsnappers in. And that’s not even to mention the twisting, turning, loosely knit plot about a cat that features the lead singer stepping into his own album.
But, here’s the thing. Ambitious albums are famously known for wreaking hell with bands, especially when the recordings come out good. The Wall broke Pink Floyd. Diamond Dogs broke the Spiders from Mars. Billion Dollar Babies broke The Alice Cooper Group. Sandinista! broke the Clash.
Case in point, there are currently more people in World/Inferno that are not on their brand new album than there are those that are. In any group with this many people, fractions and factions are bound to arise. But, maybe the divisions and unifications were amplified by the recording strategy.
For the recording sessions, the band decided to decamp to Hollingsworth’s studio in wooded New York, which is located on a dirt road. Basically, you can only locate the place if you have really, really, really good directions. Hollingsworth loves it.
He says, “There is no town around, really. I live in the middle of the woods. Five miles of unpaved roads in a house, with a recording studio in an adjacent building. Sometimes a week will go but without seeing another human. Bands come here and record their records in total immersion. No disruptions, no distractions. It really is the best way to work in my opinion.”
Hollingsworth doesn’t have a single clock in his house and awakes when the sunrises. In theory, it’s the perfect place to record an album- a utopia with no time stealing bugbears… in theory.
As just mentioned, the band decided to decamp to Hollingsworth’s studio in wooded New York, which is located on a dirt road. Basically, you can only locate the place if you have really, really, really good directions. Terricloth hates it.
He says, “For me, the recording process was extremely boring. It all sounded great, but we were living in the woods in the middle of nowhere. Which might have been a good idea. ‘Oh, we’ll get so much done, and do this in four weeks and get it all done!’ But, I sleep all day, so mostly the band recorded in the day time and I’d wake up at night and record then which annoyed Hollingsworth. As you know, with best friends, you get in just the best fights.” (I’ll point out here that Terricloth initially didn’t even want to talk about his relationship with Hollingsworth, as he felt like he was airing dirty laundry, and also didn’t want to get in a newspaper clip pissing match.)
In fact, for most of the recording, a lot of the band members weren’t talking to each other, requiring Hollingsworth to work with the individual members on individual basis and create the album thread by thread. While some of the previous Inferno albums were created with most of the band in the studio at once, or even via the live-in-the-studio treatment, Cats was mostly recorded with Hollingsworth taking a piece here, twisting that into the net there, and then wrapping the connective tissue from yonder back into the whole thing.
That’s usually a recipe for disaster for albums, except when it isn’t. The White album, Sandinista, and Tattoo You were all recorded in bits here and there and they are masterworks. Time will be the final arbiter of Cats, but I can tell you right now, it’s one of the band’s most cohesive albums, despite its twists and turns. It’s certainly one of their most imaginative and, being that the recording really was done in a “collective” manner instead of a “band manner,” Cats pulls from all eras of the band from their old world beginnings to their neo-soul reaches to their recent operatic machinations. It’s a testament to Hollingsworth that he was able to bolt the work together into somewhat that is not only cohesive, but has such a strong identity.
And, it’s a testament to Terricloth that he’s able to foresee and execute such a acid trip-meets-1984 vision. “The political aspect and the romance aspect of the World/Inferno Friendship Society goes hand in hand,” Terricloth explains. “Look at the Buzzcocks for Christsakes! ‘What do I get.’ ‘Every fallen in love’… it’s all passion and punk rock is passion.”
Hollingsworth adds, “Jack's voice naturally has a very rich, unique timbre, and of course he has been singing for years and years and put in his 10000 hours or whatever it takes. The reason he excels is that I think it is mainly a confidence thing, and the commitment in the delivery. That what really makes an him an exceptional performer, he makes people just believe in the whole thing.”
Considering the fact that the new album bears the unmistakable marks of both Terricloth and Hollingsworth, and considering the fact that it’s an ambitious tightrope act, it’s somewhat upsetting that the pair and not talking.
“There's no bad blood between us,” Hollingsworth says. “We were having a rough time trying to finish the record. There was a big blowout. I had to step back and set some boundaries. That is to say, I am not going to be performing with the band in the foreseeable future.”
But, that’s nothing to get uptight over. Jack and Scott have not spoken before and sure as day, there will be a time where they are speaking and pal-ing around again. It’s just that they happen to not be speaking right now, which, is how these things play out.
Hollingsworth continues, “it has been some long time since I have seen ‘Pete.’ I believe Jack has either killed him, or has him bound, gagged and drugged in a Brooklyn basement. But, we are like family. If I see him on the street we will hug. ”
Separately, Terricloth says, “Scott and I are still best friends and I’m sure he will be at my funeral or I will be at his… or maybe it will be both at once…”