Author(s): James McDonnell
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 released double-platinum records and scored worldwide success, embraced by classic rock acts like the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and The Who, as well as original punk heroes such as the Sex Pistols, 'the Damned, and the Clash. After ten years of marriage to actress Britt Ekland, he moved to Los Angeles' 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.
As the legendary drummer for the Stray Cats, SLIM JIM PHANTOM spearheaded the neo-rockabilly movement of the early '80s. The Stray Cats' classic album "Built for Speed" went double platinum, the band had numerous hit singles, and their song "Rock This Town" is on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of "The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll." He lives in Los Angeles, California.