The Cateran formed in Edinburgh in the mid-1980s, with a line-up comprising Inverness natives Sandy Macpherson (vocals), Cameron Fraser (guitar), Murdo MacLeod (guitar), Kai Davidson (bass guitar), and Andy Milne (drums). Davidson had played in several bands in the early 1980s, including Reasons For Emotion, which also featured Craig and Charlie Reid, who later found fame as The Proclaimers.
They were initially influenced by US acts such as Hüsker Dü and the Dead Kennedys, and signed to the DDT label. The band’s debut release was the 1986 mini-LP Little Circles and subsequent single Last Big Lie, which they promoted by touring with The Proclaimers, for whom Davidson also acted as manager. They moved on to Vinyl Solution for the second album, Bite Deeper in 1988, before moving on again to Imaginary Records later that year for The Black Album EP. The band’s third and final album, Ache, was issued in 1989 on the What Goes On label, and the band supported Nirvana on their UK tour that year.
A further EP followed in 1990 before the band split in 1991, with MacLeod and Davidson forming a new band, Joyriders, who released two singles, both of which were named “Single of the Week” by the NME, before splitting up in the mid-1990s. A compilation album of the Joyriders recordings was issued in Japan in 2009.
Davidson later had a career as a social worker, and died on 13 June 2007, aged 44, after falling from a tower block. A fund was set up in his memory to support young musicians. The Proclaimers donated £20,000 to the fund in December 2007.
Murdo McLeod, the guitarist with The Cateran, was the first bona-fide rock musician I ever met and had a drink with thanks to him being a friend and flatmate of a work colleague who also hailed from Inverness. I went along to see the band a couple of times in 1986 and actually picked up a copy of their debut material at the time. However, the work colleague was soon on his way to a new job in London and I lost any real interest in The Cateran.
Incidentally, the replacement for The Cateran fan in the office turned out to be Jacques the Kipper and through him I would meet and have drinks with my second bona-fide rock star, namely Hugh Duggie of Foil (as featured recently in a wonderful ICA).
Strange world sometimes.