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Burlington, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 1992

Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Established on Jan, 1992
Band Rock Jam


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The spirit of the Dead lives on"

In many ways, the Fat Cats were born in the ashes of the Grateful Dead.

It was 1992, the year the Grateful Dead returned to Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum for two sold out shows which many Deadheads still count among their favourites. Unfortunately, those shows were the last ones the Dead performed in Canada. Jerry Garcia would die three years later, a victim of his addictions, just as the band was reaching new heights of popularity.

The Grateful Dead’s 30-year-run ended, but the band’s hippie ethos carried on in the hundreds of garage jam bands that seemed to spring to life in the early ’90s.

In southern Ontario, the Fat Cats gained a reputation as being the best of the bunch.

The Fat Cats wrote their own music, but the inspiration was obvious. You couldn’t help but notice how much the lead guitarists — Chris Gatchene and Todd Gillies — sounded like Garcia.

There were also those long, meandering jams, enveloped in a big fat groove. The Fat Cats always got the listener from Point A to B, it’s just that they’d often stop at Points X, Y and Z along the way.

For the Fat Cats, the scene started in a Dundas eatery called Rockwall’s (now the Thirsty Cactus). It spread into downtown Hamilton to the original Casbah and then found a home for several years at the Pepperjack Cafe on King William (now Club Absinthe).

The Fat Cats toured hard and established a national reputation with pockets of fan support as far west as British Columbia and east into the Maritimes. They stretched south into the U.S., playing San Francisco, home of their improvisational patrons, the Grateful Dead.

The Fat Cats have gone through some personnel changes over the past 20 years, but founders Gatchene and Gillies, as well as longtime bassist Dave Hill, remain.

“We all have day jobs, a lot of us have families, but we’re all musicians at heart,” says Gillies. “It’s a lifeline. That’s why we all continue to play. One of my favourite things in the world is getting together with the guys, opening a beer and seeing what we can come up with.”

To celebrate their 20th anniversary, the Fat Cats are releasing their third CD, a studio album of original songs called Shine Box. You can buy a copy at the Fat Cats CD release party Saturday, Jan. 28, at This Ain’t Hollywood. - Hamilton Spectator


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Not to be pigeon-holed by any particular style, The Fat Cats have made significant in-roads within the “Jamband” genre, not only for themselves, but for a collection of other bands as well by creating an accessibility to the scene that reaches a larger group of music fans. Often being revered as the pioneers of the craft in Canada, the free flowing and uninhibited style of playing has been a specialty of the band since their inception over 20 years ago. The everlasting chemistry between the players has kept this ideal blooming throughout their history, and forges the future of their unmistakable sound and groove.

Always maintaining an organic nature that pays homage to many great singers and songwriters, the sound takes on an electrifying groove that draws on all popular genres in the last 60 years. The song writing, while timely and lyrically relevant, possesses an ageless quality that speaks to all generations of listeners; basically, if you like music, you will like the Fat Cats. The band has shown their infectious groove makes them a sure bet to both draw a crowd, and entertain.

Band Members