Boston Cats: Scruffy the Cat

scruffy the cat

Almost unknown outside of New England Scruffy the Cat was part of Boston’s  1980’s highly hyped music scene. 

One of the last survivors of the ‘80s roots-rock movement

the group consisted of Charlie Chesterman (vocals/guitar), Stephen Fredette (guitar), Mac Paul Stanfield (bass), Randall Lee Gibson IV (drums), Burns Stanfield (piano, organ), and multi-instrumentalist Stona Fitch.

While their

” raw, back-to-basics arrangements appealed to campus DJs who couldn’t get enough of the Replacements”

the group never achieved

the legendary cult status of neighbors, the Pixies and Throwing Muses.

On the strength of the toe-tapping “My Baby She’s Allright” the band’s debut LP, 1987’s Tiny Days, would land in the Gavin Report’s campus radio Top 10.

Produced by Bruce Dickinson, the band’s last album, 1989’s Moons of Jupiter

“was the band’s attempt at a crossover hit”

but even cheery-sounding songs like “Capital Moonlight,” “I Do” and “Betty Drops In” have a certain melancholy air about them.

Panned by the critics the group split-up shortly afterwards. Charlie Chesterman went onto to form several short lived groups, the Harmony Rockets and Chaz And The Motorbikes. Pursuing a solo career he’s toned down his punk roots for a more country approach and has released several independent albums, most notably 1994’s From the Book of Flames.

This past year the group reformed and played at several benefit concerts (May & October) to raise money in an effort to help defray some of the costs involved with Charlie Chesterman’ s cancer treatments (he was diagnosed with colon cancer).

DISCOGRAPHY

Scruffy the Cat

Albums:

Tiny Days (LP) Relativity 1987
Moons Of Jupiter (Cass, CD, LP) Relativity 1988

Singles & EPs:

High Octane Revival (12″ EP) Relativity 1986
Never Never / Time Never Forgets (12″ Single) Relativity 1987
Mybabyshe’sallright (12″ Promo) Relativity 1987
Boom Boom Boom Bingo (12″ EP) Relativity 1987
Scruffy The Cat Vs. Young Fresh Fellows – Love Song #9 / My Boyfriend’s In Killdozer (7″) Cruddy Record Dealership 1989

Compilations: 

“Oldest Fire in the World” Let’s Breed Part Two of the Throbbing Lobster Saga (LP) Throbbing Lobster 1984
“Big Fat Monkey’s Hat” Luxury Condos Coming To Your Neighborhood Soon (LP) Coyote Records, Rough Trade 1985
“My Fate” Mr. Beautiful Presents All Hard (LP) Modern Method Records 1985

Charlie Chesterman

Albums:

Dynamite Music Machine (CD, Digital) Slow River Records 1997
From the Book of Flames (CD, Digital) Slow River Records 1998
Studebakersfield (CD, Digital) Slow River Records 1998 

Appears On:

“You Dirty Rat” (w/Letters to Cleo) Safe And Sound: A Benefit In Response To The Brookline Clinic Violence (CD) Mercury, Big Rig 1996

Chaz And The Motorbikes

Albums:

Chaz And The Motorbikes S/T (CD EP) Hello Recording Club 1994

Appears On:

“New Lease On Life” Hello 1994 Sampler (CD) Hello Recording Club 1994
“Senioritis Vs. The Sophomre Slump” (as Chaz & The Motorbikes) Have A Piece Of American Pie (CD) Lazy Cat 2002

Moons Of Jupiter (1988)

Playing Time: 48:29

scruffy the cat - moons of jupiter

1. Capital Moonlight (2:54)
2. Bus Named Desire (4:01)
3. Betty Drops In (3:11)
4. I Do (2:15)
5. Beg, Borrow And Steal (3:58)
6. Nova SS 1968 (1:50)
7. Kissing Galaxy (2:50)
8. Bucknaked (1:51)
9. Moons Of Jupiter (2:36)
10. Love So Amazing (3:12)
11. Places (3:14)
12. One Bad Apple (2:52)
13. Just Like Cathy’s Clown (3:22)
14. Everything (2:56)
15. 2day 2morrow 4ever (4:23)
16. Keith’s Lament (3:04)

Nova SS 1968 / My Baby She’s Alright
Moons of Jupiter

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3 responses to “Boston Cats: Scruffy the Cat

  1. I wouldn’t say totally unknown outside of New England… I heard them on “college radio” (remember that term?) here in Atlanta and saw them with Big Dipper in 1990 here…

    • Boy am I late with this reply. My friend John was the lead singer for the punk group 8th Route Army and he always talks about playing a circuit that pretty encompassed most of the I-95 corridor, Portland Maine to the Washington, D.C. area. I’m sure that Scruffy the Cat pretty much traveled that same road. Probably only the names of some of the clubs they played changed. So I don’t doubt that you saw them in D.C.

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