The MojoLore
All the Lore and a Smattering More

(note: The "Bio" section is to flatter the band into submission and score points with prospective marks...err customers. This is the definitive material, but don't confuse anyone with actual Facts.)

click on the photo to send Doug an email

The Beginning

On a warm night in the summer of 1996 in a club in Downtown Billings a Winger cover band burst into flames in their dressing room due to a bizarre accident involving a hookah pipe, alcohol-based hair gel, spandex leggings and some tomatoes.

Normally this might be a cause for celebration, but that night was a particularly dead night for live entertainment and the fine citizens of Billings fought bravely to contain the flames before they enveloped the entire club.  In that crowd were the future members of the MojoCatz, who knew each other only by reputation and from reading historical local literature (rap sheets). What they did not know was that fate had stepped in and arranged this accident in order to bring them together and usher them into the pages of history (or at least a web page or two and some advertisements). The musicians emerged from different parts of the crowd and ran into the burning building, some say to rescue the flaming band, others say to get dibs on the instruments still intact and on stage.

The Fire Department finally extinguished the band with minimal damage to the dressing room, leaving a restless and disappointed crowd murmuring and shuffling outside of the club.

click on the photo to send Cat an email

The future members of MojoCatz could tell by the looks of the entertainment-starved crowd that things could only get uglier from this point; they took one look at each other and began tune up.  Playing from the gut, they began to whip the crowd into a lather worthy of the finest Wilkenson-Sword blade.  The dancing was rambunctious...the shouts and cheers of biblical proportion...dogs and cats living together...ok whatever.

The rest is history. No, really, it is. See the Gazette, July 18th 1996, page 7, third paragraph from top, left column, under the part where it mentions “…stolen instruments…” and you’ll see the quote “They played a pretty durn-good gig, but we arrested them anyway. They’re history.”  False IDs helped preserve their true identities as well as their day jobs.  Bail was only possible because of a typo on the Court Record caused (so they say) by stray string-cleaner accidentally flipped onto the Court Order written on particularly porous paper and allowed to sit until the numbers all blurred into large "zero" shaped characters.  The bailiff was a bit of an old hippie anyway and noted "Bail looks like a big zero, man." The band members were summarily released by the confused Constable.

The Name

While waiting for their lawyer (the estimable “Suds” O’Snevets), they whiled away their time getting acquainted.

click on the photo to send Ron an email

Cat, mother of three and father of none, being an Egyptologist and part-time astrologer had determined to her over-acted amazement that they were all distantly related to Sekhmet, the Egyptian Goddess of Cats. Neglecting to tell anyone that 90% of the people on this planet can make the same claim, she convinced them all that this was a coincidence of unprecedented scale and meant that they were fated to be together. Some rumors say that she just was looking for a new night time job because Egyptology doesn’t pay squat.

Doug, known for blocks around as a famous mathematician, also found out that using a complicated algorithm their names equaled the numerical equivalent to the word ‘cadillacus‘, the ancient Roman word for Mayan phrase ‘Mojus Ridus’. His claim has never been verified, but he is also known to be able to coax a cat into spitting out a mouse.  He’s that convincing.  But actually, Doug had been saying he was sleepy and needed a hotel.  HoJo may have been what he meant, but his lips were apparently a bit swollen from biting his tongue.  HoJo, MoJo, even JoJo if you're hungry for potatoes...they all get the job done; but MoJo probably avoided copyright infringement issues as far as Suds was concerned.

In spite of the fact that Cat and Doug had ‘a thing going’ and that previous to these startling announcements, they had been seen in a corner giggling and whispering while casting sinister glances at the others, the rest were eventually convinced that divine providence had indeed stepped into their lives and determined they at least have a few practice sessions or a couple of pitchers after the hearing.

Eventually Suds was able to wheedle the judge to the point of despair and the case against the Pre-Fab Five was  tossed.  Now there's a word describing the early sound.

click on the photo to send Jim an email

The Early Years

Combining the elements of their mutual heritage with the Cat Goddess and the suspicious algorithm that led to the word ‘Mojo’, the choice of the band name ‘Mojocatz’ only required a four years of discussion, bribery, blackmail and more than one dry-gulching to be agreed upon by all the original members. During this time other names were tossed around like so much confetti and grasped like, well, so much confetti. Names like “Cat’s Litter”, “Doug’s Idea”, “Tom’s Little Project” (which later would become "Ron's Even Tinier Project"),  "The Beetles" (already taken), “The Tasty Trio Plus Several Others” and “Jim and the Jimbos” were dropped like names at a fund raiser.  Actually, names of automobiles, elements of the earth, metaphysics, and yet-to-be-discovered plant life were all considered, but too difficult to spell accurately without assistance.  Words have meaning and meaning well has always been of the utmost importance to someone in proximity to whatever is going on.  (That last sentence made little sense but this chronicler is paid by the letter.)  After posturing as a really mixed up AOR (All-Over-The-Road) Country-Rock-Variety Band Going Absolutely NoWhere Rapidly group the band settled on a few basic rules imposed by Cat at gunpoint following a ride down a river in a really rickety raft and a lot of Gin.  The MojoCatz were born...err coughed up.

Mojo was simple and available because (primarily) no one knew what it meant for sure.  But it sounded so West Coast.

click on the photo to send Tony an email

The Cast 

Cat ‘Scratch’ McShane – Vocalist, rhythm guitar, former Egyptologist/astrologer, Patchouli oil connoisseur, "Complete Hitchhiker’s Guide" passenger, and zombie movie aficionado.

Cat was born in Arizona and was raised in captivity. She sassed her way through school between pilgrimages to the Antarctic to commune with penguins (required for avid Fleetwood Mac worshippers). Cat eventually earned a doctorate in Egyptology from a correspondence course she read about on a box of Cracker Jacks. In her younger years, she stayed in shape by beating up her younger brother, and eventually went on to train professional wrestlers at night. She signed a deal with the devil or at least with a really significantly large Brat with an unreasonable lack of Soul (I suppose) to learn how to sing and play the guitar and shake her…ummm...tambourine.  She loves to eat Mexican, Italian, Shellfish and bass guitarists.  Since the MojoCatz was her idea originally after she choked on previously mentioned tomato, no one questions her about the whereabouts or disposition of any bass-players whatsoever...but at least one is rumored to be alive and living in Texas under a Protection Program that has him fixing airplane computers.

click on the photo to send Tony an email

Doug ‘the Doctor’ McShane – Keyboardist, vocalist, keyboard bass (due to the shortage of uneaten bass guitarists), writer, arranger, equipment repair non-specialist, part-time teamster.

Doug was born in Tibet or someplace with mountains and people wearing robes and pointy hats and such while his parents were vacationing away from their respective farms and then was promptly abandoned at the doorstep of a presumed Buddhist monastery due to the high import taxes at the time. He was eventually boxed up and mailed back to his birth parents as a tax write-off (it was the prudent thing).  As a child he loved to impress his parents by slamming his toy musical instruments over the dog’s head while pretending to play along with the phonograph. He made his first real or imagined income at age thirteen by selling this idea to The Who, but dog fans protested and the boys from Britain, after a short and unsuccessful stint of banging cats against their roadies, had to settle for abusing expensive amplifiers instead.  Doug went to the University of Utah as his way of protesting the war on higher learning where he majored in Procrastination and minored in C (a small musical reference there).  After graduating, Doug went on to such careers as used insurance salesman, money launderer and Student Senator (R. Wy). He moved back to Montana as a migrant worker and was swiftly deported to California where he had been hiding behind a piano in a shopping mall.  Finally back in Montana, he’s been on the local music scene first as a lead singer/keyboardist/mob-enforcer for a Yes or No cover band, and then on to play blues, jazz, rock, country, polka, reggae and mariachi - or something like that. He tried to make an album with a fusion of all those styles, but was arrested for violating the Federal Ordinance: Mixing Musical Styles Without being Paul Simon. (In spite of his nickname, Doug is not a doctor of any self-respecting practice, we just like to throw him a bone to compensate for his double-duty.)

A Suspected and Less-Than-Discreet Dynamic Between Cat and Doug

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Although they share the same last name (finally), Doug and Cat are not related. Doug gave Cat a last name as a wedding gift (tightwad), since hers was unpronounceable after legally changing it to penguinese in the late 70’s. Cat and Doug have been together for a very long time. They originally met while on a pilgrimage to the Student Union Building, then met again on a pilgrimage to the Liberal Arts basement where Doug claimed that there might be an "art show" on display.  Doug, having fallen madly into a state of distemper, relentlessly pursued Cat and tried to woo her affections. After various displays of affection and devotion (bribery, threats, blackmail, extortion…) Doug finally won Cat over by convincing her that the names of their children were really anagrams of the names of the children in the Brady Bunch, (with the exception of Peter, which ended up as ‘gxqwlz’, thus giving them just enough encouragement to marry and enough doubt to not consign themselves to prayerful meditation in isolation for the rest of their lives).

Continuing with the Cast

 Ron ‘Strings’ Horton – Political Humorist, Cat-Gut Pluckist, Controlled Throat Vibrations Utterist (Primarily on Pitchist)

click on the photo to send Tony an email

Ron was born within 6500 miles of Japan and raised in the Kamchatka Peninsula by a nomadic clan.  As a child he excelled and this later was of interest to the military.  Ron comes from a long line of practical jokers.  It was a Horton who dressed as an Indian scout and convinced Custer that the Little Big Horn was a great place to split up his force. Hey! I didn’t say they were good practical jokes, did I?  As a young top-gunner in his time of Service to his Country, Ron thought it might be fun to reverse the armaments on some of the ICBMs near Great Falls, but later was asked to reconsider by some men in a black SUV with skinny neckties and really cool shades; Ron was apparently miffed at their complete lack of any sense of humor causing an abrupt and summary change of careers.  Besides, running wires and pushing buttons didn't seem nearly as interesting as a career track in plucking.

Since then Ron has played a great variety of venues gaining fame along the way following his debut at a barn in Judith Gap warming up the HeeHaw gang that never made it onto TV. Gigs like Boris Yeltsin’s Inauguration,  the premier of  Boyz In Da Hood, and Lindsay Lohans 4th Rehab Extravaganza all increased his fame even though he wasn't there in spirit.   Despite a mostly virtuous life, Doug and Cat finally got the goods on him and he now plays for the Mojocatz in indentured servitude but is secretly planning to escape to fulfill a lifelong dream to become a trainer for the Pittsburgh Steelers or possibly a kicker.  Actually, strike that part about kicker.  And lineman is definitely out until all that HGH kicks in but that's a bad idea given the hearings and all.

Jim ‘Reeds’ Roush (cha-ching $20!)

click on the photo to send Tony an email
Looking at Jim’s last name, you would immediately assume he’s Kurdish. He’s not. He’s Turkish or possibly Prime Ribbian.  Jim was adopted by the Massachusetts Yiddish Symphony (Boston, near Wyoming) and quickly learned to play all instruments handed to him.  He traveled south and went under the tutelage of Sal ‘Winds’ Goldmeir (a name familiar to those who follow the New Orleans Tuba sound) which explains Jim's affection for soul, soul food, Soul-Train, and Roots, the Mini-Series.  When Jim was 12 he was kicked out by Sal for playing gansta-rap on a flute.  After proving himself to be a gifted ‘wind guy’, he signed up on the national waiting list for Brass and Wind Instrument Nicknames and waited and practiced for 20 years before Juan ‘Reeds’ Ortega died and Jim could legally adopt the coveted nickname. Now Jim plays in Montana with the Mojocatz as a tight-end.  Or Left fielder (never right).  Funny thing.  Jim was so lost after the Sal incident that he wandered the country in search of musical truth; he didn't find it right away and was just going into a pizza joint for a drink and a bathroom when he was magnetically beckoned to a stage;  he had his axe, the sax and his loot included his flute (ok, done with the cheap rhyming).  Cat immediately hit it off with Jim and he's been a MojoCat ever since.  Seems that he drank some of the Patchouli oil and that affected his reasoning and decision-making.  The Catz somewhat reluctantly do have to pay him a hefty royalty every time they refer to him as ‘Reeds’ (cha-ching! $20 bucks right there!).  This is why Jim is smiling when he's not blowing a lot of air.  Jim and Cat have quite the cerebral thing and cross-reference the "Hitch-Hiker's Guide" when they are having an intellectual discussion on stage during Ron's solos or ponderous Doug's intros.  Jim really did become a formative member of the band...just please don't tell him he actually joined anything (since his Lottery Number was so high in '74).

Tony ‘Sticks’ Horton

click on the photo to send Tony an emailTony is Ron’s very, very, very near relative. The fact that they share the same spelling of their last name means that they were in the same line at Ellis Island. Tony was born when Ron’s clan had stopped off in Jamaica for a break during their migration, hence the dreads. A Jamaican legend has it that Tony was stolen from his crib by a barren jackal and raised as a cub until the jackal went to a fertility clinic and was able to bear the Son of The Oh-So-Naughty One. Tony was set aside and neglected until Ron came to the rescue.  This legend can be directly attributed to the evils of ganja but persists to this day on the mainland.  Tony is so nice that he was once nominated for Sainthood, but unfortunately lost in the primaries.  Tony learned to play the drums genetically, being a distant relative of Little ‘Sticks’ Drummer Boy, who once played for Jesus even though it was outside in December and the band "Rider" didn't cover outdoor gigs.  This probably explains his parents insistence that Tony be in the school Nativity every year.  Tony lives in several Parallel Universes and exists in time here in the present (as most of us know it) as well as in the past around the time of the Garden of Eden.  He's never met Adam, but is pretty sure about that lady mentioned with the Fruit and the Tree and so on.  In one of his Alternate Realities, his only spoken word was "KRUNK" but everyone seems to understand what it means except for old people.  Tony is so good on the drums that Buddy Rich spent his entire fortune to travel forward in time for lessons. This chronicler is, however, unable to produce any documentation to support that story due to the complications in laws governing thermo-dynamics and quantum physics.  Mr. Rich didn't pay him either and now it's really hard to reach him on the phone.  That plus the fact that it's lunch time.

This might be exaggerating things a bit, but really, they’re all very very good and quite cute most of the time.