|THE GREAT KAT: Kicking ass and taking names with Beethoven's Guitar Shred DVD
A Heavy Metal Hog Exclusive Feature
By Thom Copher
Let's face it. This world in which we live... it's EXTREME! There's
extreme sports, extreme energy drinks, extreme diets, and extremely
bad television. There are extreme makeovers, extreme takeovers,
extreme over-achieving, and extreme under-achieving. Hopefully, with
the newly implanted Obama Administration, we won't suffer from a case
of extreme over-believing... only time will tell.
There is, however, one case of extremity which has been building for
over twenty years... one that's faster than a speeding bullet, louder
than a thousand screams, and more in-your-face than yo' mama ever
was when you were in late past curfew. This juggernaut of jammin',
ferocity of the fretboard, steamrolla of rock-and-rolla is, of course,
THE GREAT KAT!!!, and she's back with BEETHOVEN’S GUITAR SHRED,
the new DVD multi-media extravaganza which is nothing short of an aural
and visual blitzkrieg. Plus, and I think it warrants my mentioning here,
KAT is sooo damn cute!!!
Now, if you're thinking about settling back in the easy chair with a pastrami on rye and a cold sixer... dude (or dudette, as the case may
be), put your dusty The Song Remains the Same DVD or a bootleg copy of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" (live, extended version, of course) into
the ol' player and gel. If you do, however, choose to accept the viewing assignment, be warned: BEETHOVEN'S GUITAR SHRED
(referred here at strategic points as BGS) is best viewed out in the open and clear from any free-standing furniture or breakable decor.
BGS is neatly divided into viewable categories
(KAT-egories... ?) for your convenience. The "Shred
Video" section contains seven blistering clips which
expertly define THE GREAT KAT's philosophical union of
classical and metal music. Standouts here include her
interpretations of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of
the Bumble-Bee," "Paganini's Caprice #24," "Bach's
Brandenburg Concerto #3," and the immortal
"Beethoven's 5th Symphony." Up next is the "Shred
Bonus Features." "Hot Shred Bits 2" is a nice little
collection which captures a flurry of THE GREAT KAT in
all of her string-grinding glory. "Shred Geniuses" is
KAT's homage to historically influential shredders from
various walks of life including Edgar Allan Poe, Joan of
Arc, Madame Curie, Teddy Roosevelt, Mozart, Bach,
and (of course) Ludwig Van Beethoven and his
modern-day reincarnation, THE GREAT KAT, herself.
The one vid "Shred Kartoon" is a true gem in and of
itself which finds an acid-melt animation of KAT flailing
to the aforementioned "Flight of the Bumble-Bee."
All said and done, BGS is a fifteen-minute exercise that
is not intended for the squeamish. Expect to get your
ass kicked, cuz it's inevitable.
Juilliard-trained, THE GREAT KAT presents
a unique blend of classical and metal which
she dubs "Shred/Classical."
A young Katherine Thomas: Metal
Messiah in the making.
So, now that I've laid the groundwork which is the awesome awesemity known as THE GREAT KAT and
the awesomeness which is BEETHOVEN'S GUITAR SHRED, you may ask “How, exactly, did KAT become
so GREAT… how did she get here?” It’s a logical question, one which is better illustrated than answered
Katherine Thomas, born at a U.S. Air Force Military Base hospital in Swindon, England, got the itch for
music as a child. Legend has it that her mother steered her in the direction of classical music,
Beethoven in particular. The Thomas family relocated to Long Island, NY when Katherine was three.
She began her training on piano at age seven, switching to violin two years later. At 15 she won a full
scholarship to the esteemed Juilliard School in New York City from which she graduated, with honors.
Katherine began her performing career on violin as the winner of the exclusive Artists International Competition and debuted as a soloist at
the Carnegie Recital Hall. She then toured extensively in the United States, Mexico, and Europe. At some point during the early 80s,
Katherine experienced an epiphany in the form of a video by Judas Priest. She describes her revelation: "Classical music (was) dead. I
decided to take Classical into the 21st Century with modern popular music."
The musical landscape had, of course, seen its share of classically-influenced guitarists like Ritchie Blackmore, Eddie Van Halen and Randy
Rhoads to name a few – but the world had never to that point witnessed anything like the vision that Katherine was about to unleash. She
continues, "After hearing all forms of popular music, I realized that Classical Music mixed with Metal is the music for the future! THE
GREAT KAT WAS BORN!!!!!!!!!!!! I then picked up the electric guitar and began systematically transcribing all of my violin solos to the guitar
and change the face of classical and metal music with cyberspeed!"
KAT unveiled her new "shred/classical" metallic genre in the form of the
independent/demo Satan Says in 1986. A year later brought the major label
debut Worship Me or Die!, an all-original opus which contains the KAT classics
"Metal Messiah," "Kat Possessed," "Satan Goes to Church" and the unrelenting
title track. Subsequent offerings displayed THE GREAT KAT delving more
liberally into her classical roots, first with Beethoven on Speed (1990),
followed by Digital Beethoven on Cyberspeed (interactive CD-ROM, 1996),
Guitar Goddess (1997), Bloody Vivaldi (1998), Rossini's Rape (2000) and
Wagner's War (2002). THE GREAT KAT's first DVD release, Extreme Guitar
Shred (2005), finally brought the visual showcase (did I mention... KAT is sooo
damn cute?) to household screens worldwide and includes a blistering live clip
recorded in Chicago.
And that, KAT WORSHIPERS, brings us to present-day and Beethoven's
Guitar Shred where the GODDESS OF THE GUITAR/FELINE OF THE
FRETBOARD continues to evolve her shred/classical metal with all of the
meticulous ferocity - 21st-Century style - of the Gods from which she was
THE GREAT KAT (circa 1987): The beauty that is the beast behind the
fastest guitar work in this or any other universe!!
If I had to compress my impressions of THE GREAT KAT's music and
persona and put them into one word, it would have to be "maniacal".
However, to understand the true meaning one must dissect that word to
understand the parts which make it whole. Dig this: Take some of the
finer qualities of Alice Cooper, KISS, The Sex Pistols, and Slayer and put
them into a big bowl; next, add the frontal lobe of Hugh Hefner's brain and
lightly toss the mixture; sprinkle liberally with finely-aged shreddings of
the U.S. Marine Corps; microwave until bubbly and feed it to the spirit of
Ludwig Van Beethoven and, voila!, you've got the complete GREAT KAT
Like any great music, it ain't for everybody. Close-minded, trend-following
prudes need not even attempt THE GREAT KAT experience for fear of
deafness, blindness, brain damage and/or other vital organ failure, or the
simple and painful exposure of their own lack of knowledge (commonly
referred to as stupidity). For individuals who embrace open-mindedness and
can take a serious look at society with a tongue-in-cheek assuredness...
hey, welcome to the party! SHRED ON, BABY!!!
1) Heavy Metal Hog: Were your parents involved with
music and/or art; did they encourage you to get involved
THE GREAT KAT: The Great Kat was BORN LISTENING
to BEETHOVEN!!! NOW WAKE UP AND SPREAD THE
WORD THAT THE GREAT KAT (http://www.greatkat.com)
“Top 10 Fastest Shredders Of All Time” (Guitar One
Magazine)/“50 Fastest Guitarists Of All Time” (Guitar
World Magazine)/Juilliard Graduate Violin Virtuoso-turned
Guitar Shred Virtuoso JUST UNLEASHED the
REVOLUTIONARY and GROUNDBREAKING
SHRED/CLASSICAL MASTERPIECE “BEETHOVEN’S
GUITAR SHRED” DVD!
“BEETHOVEN’S GUITAR SHRED” DVD Features:
7 Outrageous Shred/Classical Guitar Music Videos, including:
-“The Flight Of The Bumble-Bee” – The Great Kat shreds
this famous work at the finger-blistering speed of 300
BPM on guitar and violin!
And now, for your reading pleasure, the EXCLUSIVE Heavy Metal Hog "Baker's Dozen" Q&A with THE GODDESS HERSELF, THE GREAT
KAT!!! Herein, the Master of Metallic Mayhem sets the record straight as only SHE can! Trust me!!!
-Beethoven’s “5th Symphony” – Listen to The Great Kat’
s Metal version of the world’s most famous symphony!
-Paganini’s “Caprice #24” – Kat dazzles on this
technical virtuoso showpiece on guitar and violin!
-Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto #3”- The Great Kat
shreds on Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto #3” on 6
guitars & 3 violins!
-“Torture Techniques” – Watch Kat’s arsenal of
Torture devices and abused victims!
-Plus MORE Theatrical Speed Metal Madness!
4 Shred BONUS Features:
-Hot Kat Shred Photos! Shred Geniuses!
Kat Kartoon – A crazy cartoon of The High Priestess of
2) HMH: I once read (if memory serves me correctly) that your exposure to Judas
Priest led to the journey down the rock and roll path as a musician. Growing up, did
you listen to rock music; if so, whom/what styles were you into?
KAT: I grew up listening to BEETHOVEN, MOZART, HAYDN, BACH and others.
AFTER graduating from Juilliard School as a violin virtuoso and realizing that Classical
Music was DEAD, I decided to listen to all forms of popular music to find the style
that closest matched Classical, so I could update this genius music. I FOUND METAL
and SHRED/CLASSICAL MUSIC WAS BORN!!!!!!!!!
3) HMH: If you would, trace your musical training, beginning with the earliest.
KAT: My training went like this: Ear-Training at birth; Piano Studies at 7 years old;
Violin Studies at 9 years old; Full Scholarship to attend the prestigious Juilliard
School in New York City as a Violin Student at 15 years old; At Juilliard, I studied
Violin, Piano, Music History, Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Quartets, Ear-Training,
Composition and more.
My list of AWARDS include:
-Concertmaster of the Juilliard Pre-College
-Winner of the “Robert Hufstader
Scholarship” in Theory at Juilliard
-Honors Graduate on Violin from The
-Carnegie Recital Hall Debut on Solo
-Winner of the exclusive “Artists
-"Top 10 Fastest Shredders Of All
Time" - Guitar One Magazine
-"Fastest Guitarists Of All Time"-
Guitar World Magazine
-"The 100 Wildest Guitar Heroes"
- Classic Rock Magazine
-"8 Of The World's Fastest
Shredders" - Gibson Lifestyle
4) HMH: What is the extent of your orchestral performing career? Did you intend, at any point,
for the symphony to be your career?
KAT: The Great Kat has performed around the U.S., Mexico and England as a violin soloist with
orchestras and recitals. NO, I did NOT intend for the symphony to be my career. The Great Kat
was always on a mission to become the NEW PAGANINI/BEETHOVEN virtuoso genius revolutionary
of the 21st Century!!!!!
5) HMH: What was the reaction (from peers, instructors, parents, etc.) to your decision to go
rock and roll?
KAT: WHO CARES WHAT GROUP-MINDED PEOPLE THINK!!!!!!! The Great Kat is UPDATING
CLASSICAL MUSIC USING SHRED GUITAR!!!!!!!!!
6) HMH: Your overt merging of rock and classical is quite unique. What was your initial goal in
pursuing this route? Do you feel that you are on track with this goal and what do you envision for
KAT: YES! The Great Kat is RIGHT ON TRACK in WAKING THE WORLD UP to SHRED/CLASSICAL MUSIC—taking AUTHENTIC
Classical Music Scores from Beethoven, Wagner, Vivaldi, Rossini, Paganini, Rimsky-Korsakov and UPDATING it in a FAST, EXCITING,
BRUTAL, POWERFUL format for SHRED GUITAR!!! The future is MORE SPREADING OF SHRED/CLASSICAL TO THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!!!!!
7) HMH: To call your music "heavy metal" is rather limiting, even unfair given the image
that the genre has perpetuated over the years. Even the classifications speed, thrash,
death, et al, don't quite give a complete profile. How would YOU classify your music?
KAT: THE GREAT KAT’S MUSIC IS CALLED “SHRED/CLASSICAL” MUSIC: Taking
Classical MUSIC SOARING into the 21st Century with SHREDDING Guitars, RAW,
VICIOUS metal arrangements, BLISTERING violin solos, INSANE TEMPOS, OUTRAGEOUS
Imagery, HIGH-SPEED Thrashing, and GENIUS VIRTUOSITY!!!! Go to the KAT WEB
SITE at http://www.greatkat.com and HEAR THE GREAT KAT’S MUSIC and WAKE
8) HMH: I hope that I'm not asking a stupid question here - Do you ever perform classical
music outside of your rock persona?
KAT: Not right now. I am totally concentrating on my mission of bringing Classical to the
masses through Shred Guitar!!
9) HMH: Have you had to compromise your personal life in pursuit of your musical endeavors
or has it been pretty much life as you expected it?
KAT: Being a musical revolutionary/messiah/reincarnation of Beethoven/GOD allows for very
little “personal life”!!!!!!!!
10) HMH: Have you ever considered a more straightforward rock-only project?
KAT: "Straightforward rock" = BORING!!! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
11a) HMH: O.K., here's the "female angle" inquisition: Do you feel that you are in a
unique position by playing music which is seen (generally speaking) as male-dominated?
KAT: Obviously, The Great Kat is the only FEMALE who has the TECHNIQUE and
GUTS to tackle this “male-dominated” field of Guitar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
11b) HMH: Do you look to any females as role models (there's THAT phrase again)?
KAT: Madame Curie, Joan Of Arc. THAT’S ALL THE FEMALE ROLE MODELS THERE
IS IN HISTORY!!!! That’s ANOTHER reason why THE GREAT KAT’S WORK is SO
11c) HMH: Who do you consider as important female contributors to rock music?
KAT: WENDY O!!! THE GREAT KAT!!!!
11d) HMH: One which sticks out in my mind, on the heavy-rock side, is The
Runaways; I always thought that they wrote good, tough rock and roll... yeah, there
were other points of magnetism for a teenage male to like 'em, too. However,
musician to musician, they were groundbreaking
KAT: Yes, good for Rock and Roll. But, what’s GROUNDBREAKING NOW is The Great
Kat TAKING on THE CLASSICAL MASTERS, like BEETHOVEN, MOZART, WAGNER
AND PAGANINI AND SPEED METAL and unifying these two art forms and bringing it
to the world!!!!
12) HMH: Over twenty years in the music biz, you look remarkably fit - I'd have
to say that you live a very disciplined life (ie: staying away from vices and other
things which derail less focused musicians). Would you say that's the case and
also what advise do you have for musicians who are serious and want to make
music a career?
KAT: YES, THE GREAT KAT CONCENTRATES 24 HOURS ON
SHRED/CLASSICAL MUSIC!!! Everything else is a waste of time!!!!!!!!!!
The Great Kat Advice to serious musicians:
2-DON’T GIVE UP!
3-LEARN TO READ MUSIC and be an EXPERT in YOUR FIELD!
4-PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE!
13) HMH: As a New Yorker, you have displayed through music the honest effect which the events of 9/11 had on you - Wagner's War is,
in my opinion, filled with an underlying beauty which describes the horror and disgust which you (and all of America) experienced in the
aftermath. In the time since, however, it seems that the U.S.-led "retaliation" may have been agenda-driven and certainly less than
patriotic. What is your hope for America, the world, and the future?
KAT: THE WAR ON TERROR IS STILL HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!! WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Hear The Great Kat’s “WAGNER’S WAR”
for yourselves at http://www.greatkat.com/04/wagcd.html.
GO TO THE GREAT KAT WEB SITE at http://www.greatkat.com
WATCH THE NEW “BEETHOVEN’S GUITAR SHRED” DVD at http://www.greatkat.com/dvd/dvd.html
The Great Kat at firstname.lastname@example.org
So there you have it, KAT WORSHIPERS!!! I would like to (catch my breath and) thank my rock and roll sister for assisting me with this
special exclusive feature and for taking the time to field my questions. Many thanks, also, to Karen Thomas at Thomas Public Relations
(www.thomas-pr.com) for her assistance and guidance. Dear readers, do yourselves a favor and visit the links which THE GREAT KAT
has provided for you. You'll love her for it... trust me! CHEERS, RIDE FREE and ROCK ON!!!! - TC
For the record, this is my favorite pic of all time!!!