It’s no secret that this website has been a bit on the quiet side recently and I’d like to take a moment to explain why this has happened. On the 26th of September 2017, the world lost Stephen “Catbird” Robinson; a long time Total Rock DJ, one of my biggest influences and one of my best friends.
I met Catbird through his son, who joined my class at secondary school in 2000. We became friends the day he arrived and as our friendship continued, he invited me to the inaugural Visible Noise all- ages show, Subverse at a venue near Portobello Market in central London. Catbird was taking him, his sisters and a few others and this would become the first concert I’d ever been to. This moment is essentially Day One for me regarding rock music and anything remotely loud and angry.
One of my earliest memories of Catbird is going round his house and seeing two, big bookcases he had rammed full of CDs in his living room. I remember Catbird pulling out random records he liked and putting them on the stereo and basically thinking to myself, “I want this.” Low and behold, 16 years later and there is now a wall of over a thousand CDs in my flat that can basically be tracked back to that very moment.
Catbird was a huge influence on me, my taste in music and my life. He took me to all the earliest concert experiences I had, including some really memorable ones like a festival in Exeter that we travelled to with his son. We stayed the night in Exeter and the following day when we were travelling home we stopped in Dawlish Warren. We sat on Red Rock that afternoon and listened to Mahumodo on a portable stereo, probably to the chagrin of locals and tourists.
For the last 5 years I’ve been running UK Scumscene which is a name that Catbird himself coined for a website that he started work on in the early 2000s. This place exists because he existed, and through his work with Total Rock I’ve had many opportunities to share the music I’ve discovered with him, like he used to do with me. He’s allowed me to meet my heroes through interviews in the old Total Rock studio and he’s never asked for anything in return.
I have so much to thank Catbird for. I have nothing but positive memories of my time with him and the places we went. That man’s passion for music is infectious and I’ll be carrying that with me for the rest of my life, and like myself, he was a massive nerd that would often gush about his love for video games like Elite, and as a friend recently reminded me, he wrote down everything Paul Stanley was saying at a Kiss concert in the eighties.
So as you can imagine, it’s been a little difficult finding the energy to continue running a website that is so intrinsically connected to Catbird. UK Scumscene isn’t going anywhere and we will be publishing some year end lists soon, but I couldn’t return to it without letting you all know that I recently lost my biggest musical influence and I wanted you all to know how much he meant to me.
Rest in peace, Catbird. I’m going to miss you.