Pioneering Boston punk band Nervous Eaters, contemporaries of bands like the Ramones, The Police, Iggy Pop, The Pretenders, and a host of others, has released a new single, "Wild Eyes," ahead of a new album due out this fall on Little Steven Van Zandt's Wicked Cool Records.
The single features a B-side of perhaps the band's most well-known song, 1976's "Loretta."
Of the new single, original frontman Steve Cataldo says, "Stevie Van Zandt chose “Wild Eyes” as the first single from our new album Monsters & Angels. A textured, melodic rocker that paints a
portrait of a beautiful, complex woman who views life through the lens of her sophisticated imagination."
The single is accompanied by a new music video, of which Cataldo explains, "Filmmaker Vincent Straggas created a compelling video for “Wild Eyes”. His idea to give the actress a camera through which she can capture passing moments conveys the intent of the song extremely well. She has a distinct, idiosyncratic point of view and experiences the world through inquisitive, open, wild eyes."
Formed in the mid-70's, the Nervous Eaters would eventually become the house band for the legendary Boston punk rock club The Rat, where they established themselves as a leading punk rock band in
the Northeast, playing with a who's who of punk and new wave luminaries, including The Police, The Ramones, The Cars, Patti Smith, Dead Boys, Iggy Pop, The Stranglers, Go-Go's and many
The Cars’ Ric Ocasek produced the band's original demos, which got the band signed to Elektra Records, and they went on to tour around the world. However, after a series of poor decisions on the part of the label, their major label debut album failed to deliver on the promise of their legendary live shows.
After dissolving the band, Nervous Eaters returned in the mid-80's and has been revived over the years with various lineups.
The current version of the Nervous Eaters formed in 2018 and includes three other Boston rock vets, bassist Brad Hallen (of Ministry, Ric Ocasek and The Joneses), drummer David McLean (of Willie Alexander’s Boom Boom Band) and guitarist/vocalist Adam Sherman (of Private Lightning), and between them, they have recorded and/or toured with such artists as Ministry, Iggy Pop, Aimee Mann, Jane Wiedlin, Susan Tedeschi, Jimmie Vaughan, Lenny Kaye and many others.
About Nervous Eaters
“What can a poor boy do? Except to sing for a rock ‘n’ roll band?”
Mick Jagger posed that question back in 1968 and he’s certainly answered it over the years by steadily touring with the Rolling Stones: Keep singing for a rock ‘n’ roll band. It’s still a pretty fun job. Maybe an essential job. Retirement is not an option.
The same goes for Steve Cataldo, whose band, the Nervous Eaters, has delivered this new 10-track album - MONSTERS & ANGELS and it’s released on Stevie Van Zandt’s label, Wicked Cool Records.
“Where would many bands be today without Mick Jagger and his guitar-slinging partner Keith Richards?” says Cataldo, singer, guitarist, songwriter, producer. Jagger has a few years on Cataldo, but both grew up with the same Rock, Blues and R&B roots, Cataldo continues to ply the rock ‘n’ roll trade. He must ply the trade.
“It’s what I know,” Cataldo says, simply. “I’ve been doing it since I was 12. I started out on the drums, but didn’t have enough control so I moved to guitar and started singing and writing. You get out there and do it. It doesn’t matter what vein of rock ‘n’ roll you’re in. If you’re creating art, it’s just in your system and that’s what you do.”
“I’m not a physicist or doctor - you know, the things your parents would like you to grow up to be,’ Cataldo adds. “I’m like a little grasshopper that fiddled his summer away in the Nervous Eaters”.
BEGINNING: Cataldo’s lifetime of summer fiddling began on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where he was born and once again lives. Cataldo was in lots of bands, on the Cape and on Boston’s North Shore and the one that stuck around – in various incarnations over the years – that raves on - is the Nervous Eaters.
BAND NAME: The band’s original drummer, the late Jeff Wilkinson, and the band rehearsed in his family’s basement. “His mother, Florence, was a great lady and she fed the band a lot,” Cataldo explains. “We’d come up from the basement at different times to grab something to eat and she said, ‘Why don’t you all come up and sit down and have a meal? You’re such a bunch of nervous eaters.’ So, it stuck. It wasn’t the coolest name to hit the town, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. We had a good laugh over it and we loved Florence. We are the Nervous Eaters.”
STARTING OUT: The early Eaters were just a bunch of insane kids. "In our youth, the Nervous Easters spent a lot of time driving old cars held together by duct tape and speaker wire,” says Cataldo. “Gear in the back and on the roof. We played everywhere. We were just too young and stupid to know fear and too jazzed up on the life of rock ‘n’ roll to worry about anything. We just had to play. You didn't have bills, just balls. The next song, next gig, next record, next guitar, next girlfriend, THE NEXT LIFE.”
THE EARLY DAYS: The band launched in the mid 1970’s and were a leading punk rock band in the Northeast. Home base: The black-walled, sticky-floored, basement club in Boston’s Kenmore Square - The Rat. The Eaters played snarling, self-deprecating lust-for-life blasts like Shit for Brains, Get Stuffed, Last Chance, Just Head, and I’m a Degenerate. Their first release a 45, on Rat Records, 1976, which gained local and national college airplay for their classic single - Loretta.
“Loretta was irresistible,” says Oedipus, former program director and legendary DJ at Boston rock powerhouse, WBCN. “You jumped around the dance floor when they played it live or when you heard it on the radio. Live, they were great and Steve was such an energizing front man.”
The buzz built and their popularity grew. The Cars’ Ric Ocasek produced a demo tape which got the band signed to Elektra Records. They toured around the world - but the album stalled, going astray from the start with the wrong assigned label producer and a lack of follow-through. As Cataldo says, “Mistakes were made. To quote Shakespeare ‘It is not in the Stars to hold our Destiny but in ourselves. (That’s Julius Caesar in Julius Caesar.)”
The original Eaters dissolved but came back in the mid- ‘80s with a new lineup. The reborn Eaters launched a salvo called HOT STEEL AND ACID in 1986, a far better disc (that sounded like the band), on the indie label Ace of Hearts. Producer Rick Harte captured the Eaters vicious, vintage punk sound and it went as far as a Boston indie could take it.
Cataldo's passion and drive never waned. He needed to keep seeking, playing, writing, couldn't stop, didn't know how or why to stop.
THE NEXT LIFE: The current version of the Nervous Eaters formed in 2018 and includes three other Boston rock vets, bassist Brad Hallen (of Ministry, Ric Ocasek and The Joneses), drummer David McLean (of Willie Alexander’s Boom Boom Band) and guitarist/vocalist Adam Sherman (of Private Lightning).
The Nervous Eaters are
Steve Cataldo Lead vocals, lead guitars, keyboards and percussion
Brad Hallen bass, vocals and percussion
Adam Sherman guitars and vocals
David McLean drums and percussion
Brooks Milgate Piano and Organ
Jack Gauthier Vocals
Lou Cataldo Vocals
Murray Keyboards and vocals