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Slim Jim Phantom’s Book Signing At Book Soup

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Slim Jim Phantom


Slim Jim Phantom is still very slim and animated when he talks, at 55, he is still a flamboyant and youthful guy wearing a panther print jacket and a lavender scarf on a 90ºF day! He is funny and lively, and he has just written a book, ‘A Stray Cat Struts – My Life As A Rockabilly Rebel’. I went to his signing at Book Soup on Wednesday night, and a bunch of old friends showed up.

Born in New York, he is a truly a LA guy, although he is aware of how much the city has changed since the 80’s, he truly loves the place, ‘The first time I came to LA, I never left,’ His book is a memoir about the good old days, about his journey as a stray cat, when he was just a 19-year-old teenager and jumped in a plane to the UK with his friends and bandmates Brian Setzer and Lee Rocker. The year was 1980, they were kids, homeless, completely broke and hungry, living in punk rock squats in London but they were also in love with rockabilly music, and after knocking on a lot of doors, they met the greatest people of the London music scene, and the Sex Pistols, Chrissie Hyde, Lemmy, and the Clash came to see the young band.

Jim Slim didn’t have a bad thing to say about anyone or a negative thing to tell about his adventure, he truly lived the American dream via London, and became part of a very successful band, developing a signature sound and style that swept across the world, even releasing double-platinum albums. He still can’t believe how lucky he was and how fortunate his band was to be embraced by pop culture icons such as the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, or the Sex Pistols, the Damned, and the Clash.

But the book didn’t come that easily, ‘it’s really hard to do, you have to sit down, turn the TV off, sit for 2-3 hours no matter what’, he told us. He took him a year to write it, as he was first asked by an agent to write a story after having written a little blurb on the cover of a friend’s book. ‘Do you have any story?’, she said…‘No!’ he answered. ‘I am a bit illiterate’, he admitted. But he first wrote a story about his friend Lemmy, then another one about going on tour with the Rolling Stones, and finally the book features 25 stories with personal photos, and a lot taken by actress Britt Eland, his ex-wife.

‘The whole thing is a pretty cool story,’ he said, ‘There’s nothing we wanted to do beside playing this music’… ‘we were very urgent about the whole thing, so we went to England’.

Next, the three kids found themselves on the cover of the Daily Mirror, with still no money in their pocket, but the Stones came to see them, and then it was a mad rush to get them signed. Back to LA, where they had no idea their songs were played on KROQ, they finally ended up playing 5 nights at the Roxy, twice a day, ‘And this sealed my love for LA, this is my life,’ said Slim. And 40 years later, it is the same story with the same people, as Steve Jones, Clem Burke, Linda Ramone and a few others, all showed up for his book release.

More pictures here.


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