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30 years and somehow still kicking!
The Black Cats


March 23, 2007

This NoRouz during the traditional 13-bedar outing, I was able to see the latest incarnation of the Black Cats, Iran's oldest Boy Band in what we hope each year will be their last year.

Founded by the enigma of the band, Shahbal, a rather prophetic name, because frankly, one has to have a pair of the largest bass ones around, to have the audacity to continue putting out such a high level of consistent drivel, for this many years.

Formulaic? Absolutely! Predictable? Only slightly. Putting a well balanced singer or 2 as in the case of recent parolees Kamran & Hooman, in front of the mike and then shoving the techno infused dambali-dimbo down their throats like corn into a goose. Except the resulting explosion is far from Pate. Although my liver often aches.

This time around the lead singer is poor Kamyar. Tall and lean and oh so eager to please, he'll sing every kind of song in every language,almost as eagerly as if you were going to throw him a treat.

Kamyar is the epitome of the directionless Iranian, able to copy anything you want exactly, english french arabic, spanish, you name it. But largely devoid of any kind of unique creative expression. Certainly unable to come up with anything original. But if you look deep into Kamyar's eyes, you can see the fear of a trapped animal, as he goes through the pre-required motions, waiting, waiting, waiting for the day when he too will be paroled from this hell on stage, and allowed to spread his wings. If they haven't been clipped beyond repair.

All too often the result of "paying your dues" through the Black Cats' initiation ritual, is the reality that selling your soul to the devil in fact almost always costs you -your soul. Having spent their prime years wasting way in the Black Cats, many of these abductees often find themselves past their peak. Unable to find anything respectable to make music out of. They often go crawling right back to the Black Cats formula from whence they came, and as Mufasa said to Simba, "The Circle of life is complete!"

Except it's not a circle of life, but rather a circle of crap, a cycle of crap, actually a vicious cycle of crap. There, that's it!

To say that Black Cats is fond of the 6/8 beat would be a disservice. 6/8 should bow to the Black Cats. It is amazing how they can take a song and start with a perfectly normal premise, and then within 10-15 seconds, be right back into the incessantly looss variation upon a variation upon the nauseatingly trite and through 6/8 theme.

It's not that I personally hate the Black Cats that much, who can blame them for giving the people what they want. I mean that's what they do after all. I guess I hate the people who actually like the Black Cats. But then again, it's not entirely their fault either because that's all they have available to them to hear, which brings us right back to my cycle of crap metaphor again.

The Black Cats are certainly guilty of dishing out leftover slop from 1978 era Tehran. But there is also a genuine lack of taste by the eager to please, listening audience. They are clearly too afraid to be seen in public cheering something new, deviating from the norm, afraid to betray that constant pre-revolution loyalty barely left in their blood. With that ever present awareness and deep seated fear of the simple risk of being weird. Weird to be sure, but they're also missing out on being a true and unique standout.

Whatever the real reason. Honestly people, this has to stop.

If this woke you up from your 6/8 coma, I'll see you on May 4th at the Kiosk and Abjeez rock concert in San Francisco. I'll be the weird looking one, with about 800 of my weird looking friends. Spike your hair, put on a loud jacket over some torn jeans and wear 2 different socks in 2 different shoes. Get weird and join us won't you? Comment

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