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Chainsaw Kittens reuniting

By Gene Triplett Published: April 30, 2008
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Just for the occasion, flamboyant “feline” frontman Tyson Meade has been flown in all the way from Shanghai, where he’s been living and working as an English writing teacher for the last couple of years.

“It is a bit crazy that I live in Shanghai right?” he e-mailed from Shanghai last week. “For a year and a half I was an English professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and LaGuardia Community College in NYC. The bulk of my classes were writing classes for international students who were preparing for freshman English. I loved this time. I really loved it. And it occurred to me that I could do basically the same thing in the exotic city of my choice.”

A guidebook writer/editor friend suggested China.

“Well, I took his advice and here I am,” he wrote. “I love it. I teach eight (40 minute) classes a week and it is considered full time. I actually make ‘rock star’ pay! And, I find that I get up at 6:30 a.m., excited to go to class.”

The Norman-based Kittens scratched their way to the college-radio big time back in the ’90s with such alternative/glam gems as “Pop Heiress” on Mammoth/Atlantic Records and their self-titled cult classic on the Mercury-distributed Scratchie imprint. There were tours with such heavy-hitting headliners as the Smashing Pumpkins, Iggy Pop and John (Johnny Rotten) Lydon’s Public Image Ltd., but never enough label support to sustain them. Since the Kitten’s last album, “The All American,” was released on the independent 4 Alarm Records in 2000, the band has been inactive, and in the interim Meade has worked as a deejay (at Oklahoma City’s late, lamented alternative station, KSYY-FM, “The Spy”), an ad man, and now, an educator.

During that time, he’s managed to complete his second solo album, “Kitchens and Bathrooms,” which he’s just released.

“I recorded it from 2001-2003 using friends’ studios all over the country — Oklahoma City, New York, Seattle, Chicago,” Meade said. “Anyone who’s interested in purchasing it can e-mail me at ttmeade@gmail.com or check your favorite indie Oklahoma City record store.”

Other acts on the bill include Grupo Fantasma, the John Arnold Band, the Starkweather Boys, Neighborhood, Umbrellas, Dorian Small, Ghosts of Monkshood, Tall Cotton String Band, Ryan Lindsay, Cheyenne, Taddy Porter, students from the McMichael School of Music, the Wickers, Refuje, Terry “Buffalo” Ware and the Shambles, Debris, Gravity Propulsion, Klipspringer, Citizen 5 and Born a Number.

It’s a party the Chainsaw Kittens just couldn’t pass up.

“Well, we have talked about, you know, if the right thing came up we’d be always open to doing something because we never really broke up, per se,” said Kittens guitarist Trent Bell, who operates Bell Labs Recording Studio in Norman.

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