A Stray Cat Struts: My Life as a Rockabilly Rebel


In June 1980, 19-year-old James McDonnell (known as Slim Jim Phantom) boarded a plane to the U.K. with his childhood friends and bandmates Brian Setzer and Lee Rocker. In less than a year, they went from being homeless, hungry, and living in punk rock squats to the toast of the London music scene.

The Stray Cats developed a signature sound and style that swept across the world, released double-platinum albums, and were embraced by classic rock acts like the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, as well as original punk heroes such as the Sex Pistols, the Damned, and the Clash, and rock and roll originators Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. After ten years of marriage to actress Britt Ekland, Slim Jim moved down the hill to Sunset Strip, where he raised his son and owned world famous nightclub the Cat Club, while continuing to play with a host of well-known musicians.

A veteran of the London and LA music scenes, Slim Jim's memoir recounts not just the Stray Cats' rise but a life spent in the upper echelon of rock 'n roll stardom.


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