Catman Cohen

The Cover Songs of Catman Cohen

Wishing on a Star (Rose Royce)

From "How I Want to Die"

Catman Cohen comments:

"I always loved the original song... so dreamy and ethereal.

There is something very soothing about it and, during times of stress, it would mellow me out.

Something about the song reminded me of those warm summer nights, lying upon a hill, staring at the stars, contemplating the Universe.

Yet, I had an epiphany...

Although the original song is delivered as a female solo, I believe it has even more impact as a duet between a man and woman.

Of course, the song had far too much range for my limited bullfrog vocals.

However, I had a strong male singer in the form of my late producer/arranger, Henry Iglesias... and so I went searching for the ideal female counterpart.

Luck would have me visit a showcase one night in Beverly Hills where I discovered, Ronee Martin.

In so many ways, she is a more mature version of Whitney Houston, both having such powerful emotionally impacting vocals.

I do believe our version of the song is the first that involved a spoken intro, along with a spoken ending...

And the first recorded duet between a male and female... thereafter inspiring several other similar versions.”

Can’t Get You Out of my Head (Kylie Minogue)

From "How I Want to Die"

Catman Cohen comments:

"This song was very popular in its day, constantly played at the various parties I would attend.

It had a catchy bouncy hook that is very infectious and most listeners, both young and old, could not resist breaking into dance.

One night, I was inspired to pay closer attention to the lyrics and suddenly realized that, despite its upbeat tone, the song actually depicts an obsessed person suffering from unrequited love.

I have no doubt that the composers originally wrote the song in a much more depressive fashion.

Then, the talented Kylie Minogue came along and, in catering to her young audience, sharply decided to transpose it into a playful upbeat experience.

After pointing this out to my late producer/arranger, Henry Iglesias, we decided to return the song into the “heroin den” from which it appeared to arise.

Again, we decided it would be most effective as a duet, this time two tortured males pouring out their hearts in a most soulful manner.

Henry Iglesias would take the lead while Jimmy Swan (former lead vocalist for the original Guns n’ Roses) would serve as the tormented passionate vocal providing the song’s powerful explosive ending.”

Superman (It’s Not Easy) (Five for Fighting)

From "How I Want to Live"

Catman Cohen comments:

“Superman (It’s Not Easy)” became a featured song following the 9/11 tragedy, adopted as an anthem in honor of the many firemen and police who lost their lives rescuing so many from harm.

Frankly, I always feel like crying whenever I hear Jon Ondrasik deliver the song in his sweet, fragile, and angelic falsetto.

Yet, one day, listening to the song, I realized that, in terms of lyrics, it is actually a very bold, fierce, and high testosterone song.

In fact, it is a proud male confession of vulnerability that only the strongest men…the genuine supermen of the world... can ever acknowledge.

So I discussed the matter with producer/arranger, the late Henry Iglesias, and we decided that, with my deep bullfrog vocals, we would convert the song into an ultra male expression of strengths and insecurities.

I think what really adds extra testosterone to the piece is James Lum’s powerful, wailing, guitar solo at the conclusion…it just rips your heart out!"

Fade Into You (Mazzy Star)

From "How I Want to Dream"

Catman Cohen comments:

“First, I must state that I approached my 3rd CD, “How I Want to Dream,” in an extremely depressed state.

My producer/arranger, Henry Iglesias, had died of a malignant brain tumor and talented lead guitarist, James Lum, stepped in to replace him.

However, without Henry...his playfulness, brilliant smile, and giddy laughter...the studio now felt like an empty tomb.

James Lum and I decided to make my 3rd CD a dedication to “dreaming” and I think, subconsciously, we both felt as though we just exited a bad dream in which our good friend and collaborator had died unexpectedly.

Anyway, I began a search to cover a song related to dreams.

I must have examined at least 20-30 songs but, I’ve always believed that, if you cover a song, you should not merely replicate the song; rather, you should provide another interpretation that allows it to find a new audience.

So one night, a girlfriend played “Fade Into You” for me, declaring it to be her favorite song of all time.

As I listened to it, I could understand what appealed to her.

It is an example of psychedelic dream pop, whose lead singer, Hope Sandoval, dreams of becoming one body with her lover although that lover seems oblivious to the fever of her desire.

Of course, in the best lovemaking, both lovers feel as though they have “faded” into each other, literally sharing each other’s heart, mind, skin, and breath.

I discussed the song with James Lum and we felt that converting it from a psychedelic dream sung by a sultry female into a hard rock version featuring my own deep bullfrog vocals would give the song an edgier and riveting dimension.

A key change involved replacing the slide guitar in the original with a blazing lead guitar, courtesy of James Lum, plus the addition of epic background chorals.

But what really differentiates my cover from the original is the addition of an entirely new ending…one minute of my own original music and lyrics.

It allows the song to escalate into an emotional outpouring that never manifests in the original — and that new explosive ending is assisted by the soaring guitar of James Lum, who literally touches God when he is so inspired."
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