all happened because not many people found
out about the press conference. Most of
them were probably at the concert hall
sadly reading the notices of the cancellation,
which was due to Cat's having cut his
finger on a pane of glass at the hotel
waved around his left hand, showing off
the huge white bandage, and everyone in
the small hotel room nodded.
were only two other reporters besides
myself, along with one reporter's wife;
Cat's guitarist, Alun Davies, Cat's road
manager, and a young doctor and some of
the road crew.
the champagne was passed around, Cat explained
the medical details briefly, but then
instead of dismissing the party, he opened
the floor to any questions. This was most
unusual, because offstage, the cat has
usually got Cat's tongue. He rarely talks
to the press, and some nasties claim that
he is so tight lipped that he doesn't
say more than two words a day to his closest
that's not true for sure, because that
night, he told the small group at the
hotel some very unusual and revealing
instance, I asked him about a smelly rumor
concerning him. "I've heard that
you once told someone that you never washed
because --, " I started.
takes away your body oils," he finished
for me. "Yeah, that's what my dad
told me. He said that when you have a
cold, the obvious thing is not to wash
your body. And when I do wash, I don't
never use soap. And that's a Swedish idea
(Cat is part Swedish and part Greek),
believe it or not. They hardly ever use
soap on their faces. That's why they've
got that kind of complexion.
wash, but just in cold water. Apart from
the hair, which actually does get so greasy
I have to do it. By the way, I hardly
catch any colds at all."
only does Cat thrive on cold showers,
but he just loves being on the road on
his own, with no direction known. "I've
even given up my residency in England,"
he said. "I have nowhere that I'm
intending to stay. And I personally like
that feeling. I know it makes me terribly
aware of things. Let's say, if you live
an existence only in America and you never
really get to Europe or to Japan - even
South America, which is a wild place -
then you've got to have a slightly restricted
viewpoint. Because you're being fed your
ideas of those places by the media. So
I really like moving around. And you know,
it helps musically to move, I think."
could have been talking about his stage
performance, too, because he does a lot
of moving while playing and singing his
songs, especially considering that he's
usually sitting down. And he's moved quite
a lot musically in his life, too, starting
as a teen-age pop star, dropping out due
to a long illness and then coming back
with a whole new style and becoming even
bigger than ever. Now he's ready to move
on from there.
see a lot of things as the number seven,"
Cat explained. "Six is like total
darkness, like the moment before the dawn.
Six is a very unsteady number, negative
if you like. And seven, well, in fact,
I looked back and I tried to associate
the same thing with how many records I
did. I first did like six singles, basically.
And the seventh was "Where Are You?,"
which was the transition.
the albums - "Buddha and the Chocolate
Box" was my sixth. See, then I was
dealing with singles; now I'm dealing
with albums." Cat definitely feel
his life has been predestined.
can only assist my life," he said.
"I take no possession over songs
and things that I've done, you understand.
That's why sometimes I find it difficult
to accept 'really' compliments. You know,
when someone comes back and says, I really,
really, liked that song, I say (and here
he whispered), 'Thank you.' You know.
can't say thank-you really, though. I
don't feel that I made it. Because it's
all given to us. And the moment you start
believing you're the creator rather than
the created, then you lose touch with
what is, in fact, the truth."
this feeling of being a humble tool, Cat
doesn't participate in any religion normally.
"In a way, I meditate. I meditate
quite a lot. But I don't sit down and
meditate like that. Because that defeats
itself to me, if you have to sit down
to do it. It's nice to be able to do it
anywhere, so I try that. And I don't eat
meat. I do eat fish sometimes. And that's
it. Apart from that, I take cold showers
-- which is hard, not easy."
is what Cat has figured out during his
meditations: "To me everything is
changing, so there's nothing really to
worry about, since we're all gonna be
dead - or what one calls dead anyway.
I'm not saying that the sun won't rise
no more - of course it will - but I'm
saying, wow, I'm here , I'm going to certainly
find out as much as I can about why or
for what reason."
not just gonna live, eat, breathe, sleep,
you know, because that's another kind
of existence. And that's good for some
people, necessary - for people to farm
and for people to have children and, you
know, the whole thing. This is the human
idea, but then humans are changing, too
it all comes back to moving and changing
for Cat. And while he shies away from
political involvement in his music, he
does plan to use it for change in another
way. It involves the large sums of money
he earns performing. All of his profits
of his last American tour are earmarked
for charity. "Which one?" I
don't know yet," he replied. "We're
not going to be caught in that. We're
gonna have something that we can actually
make sure the money goes to the right
place. Because we know what happened in
the case of Nicaragua, where only about
$50,000 or so of the money has yet gone
to the place, and it was about $300,000
his new album comes out, the all-important
seventh album of the current Cat Stevens
era, it may herald a new beginning, but
it's bound to be full of emotion and melody,
the two most important things in music,
as far as Cat's concerned.
I might be angry," said Cat. "I
might be seeing something terrible on
television, like some group or such singing
this terrible thing, or else I might be
sad, lonely, whatever - anything emotional.
And that's how it starts. Then I most
probably start playing piano or guitar
and humming along. And it induces a kind
of hypnotic thing, to keep on singing
a melody. Something inevitably comes out."Whatever
comes out, it's sure to be worth waiting