Pussy riot: Photographer Alexandra Crockett's book Metal Cats celebrates the metalheads who have a soft spot for their moggies

On stage, they are the lords of darkness; back at home, they can’t wait to cuddle up to their kitties

'I think it was best said by my friends in Skeletonwitch," Alexandra Crockett tells me (Skeletonwitch being a blackened-thrash metal band, for those not in the know). "'Cats don't play by any rules, just like Metallica.' They also mentioned that any animal that shits in a box and leaves it for somebody else to take care of is pretty metal. I'd have to agree."

Crockett got into heavy metal at the age of 14. "I lived on an island in the Pacific Northwest [in the US], where lots of musicians have come from, and we'd have punk and metal shows and forest parties constantly. It was around then, I noticed, that it seemed as though all my friends who were mainly into punk had dogs, and all my friends into metal had cats."

Crockett started taking photographs of those involved in the metal scene and their feline friends in November 2010. Her first shoot was with her partner at the time, Jean-Paul Garnier, and his cat, Bowie, and the work continued for two years, resulting in a portfolio of hundreds of portraits; she drove to each appointment, all the way along the West Coast, from San Diego to LA, Oakland to San Francisco, Portland to Seattle.

Given her human subjects play in bands with names such as Napalm Death, Splatterhouse and Cattle Decapitation, one can only imagine the monikers they lavish on their kitties…

"My favourites would have to be Ham, Fruitbat, Gravy, Mini Chicken, Big Chicken, Sofa, Squirrel, Fat Neck, Prickly Pear and Velcro Kitty." Oh. No Beelzebubs, then? Or Deathflame? Not even a Dragon Malice? Somehow, it feels disappointing to learn that Evil Slime's main man is accompanied by a delicate flower called Abigail. Although Dino Sommese – of Ghoul, Dystopia, Carcinogen, Splatterthrash, Insidious and Noothgrush fame – did call his Short Bus, which is at the very least intriguing.

 

Crockett's first 30 subjects were people she knew from the scene. "The rest came through going to two to three metal shows a week for months on end, meeting new people."

And were there any "incidents", I ask knowingly, having just been slashed by my own cat for the temerity of feeding him medicine: "One of the dudes was attacked by his cat nearly the entire shoot… I used the single photo out of hundreds where he wasn't being actively bitten."

Perhaps the final words should go to Nate Garnette of Skeletonwitch, whose summary of the metal-cat combination so neatly encapsulated Crockett's feelings. His cat Tilly, he once said, "is extremely sweet, but will also just rear up and bite you, then lick you after. She's metal because she's angry.

"Cats are so independent," he added. "You can go on tour for months at a time, come back… dogs act all hurt, but cats don't give a shit that you've been gone."

'Metal Cats', by Alexandra Crockett, is published by PowerHouse Books, priced £9.99

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders