Mike Lenert - guitar, vocals
Dennis Davis - guitar, backing vocals
Brenda DeFeo - bass
John McInerney - drums
I never saw Caterpillar play because my own post-college travels took me to the West Coast for eleven years, so I missed the 90s Philly music scene pretty much entirely. I found my way to them around 2010 via singer Mike Lenert's brilliant and long-running solo project Lettuce Prey. The first thing I noticed were Mike's multisyllabic rhymes and complex lyrics, and figured he was an English major. I was wrong -- it was archeology, and his degree served him well lyrically, but maybe less so on the practical side of playing shows.
...those were some good old days. Good because Caterpillar played well and often. That
McInerney: Mike had this Twin Reverb he'd practice with, but then he'd show up at the gig with some piece of garbage. Remember that one amp you had that was literally 2 inches think and all plastic? It was like a Close 'n' Play record player!
Lenert: It was light and I could carry it across town.
DeFeo: We'd be mumbling to each other, "Oh Christ, did you see what he brought this time?" (MacDowell, 1996)Caterpillar matches lyrics with clever music, and good ol' tongue-in-cheek humor winding all over different styles, so the description is actually pretty accurate. They released three full length CDs in the 90's, and two during a brief reunion in 2010-11. Here's my best of the goofers!
A Thousand Million Micronauts (Compulsive 1994 CD)
My Buddy Ballantine
Maedorium Chlorium Chloe (Compulsiv 1996 CD)
Peace, Love and Popularity (Tappersize 1999 CD)
Nimble Tongs Walt
Johnstown (self-released 2011 LP)
Johnstown / The Flood
Check out Caterpillar's Bandcamp for more music.
Thanks to Mike for sending me the primary sources!
McDowell, J. (1996, June). Musical Metamorphosis: Local band Caterpillar flies the pop/rock chrysalis. Philadelphia Weekly. Vol. XXV No. 24.
Robinson, J. (1994, July). Caterpillar: A Thousand Million Micronauts. New Musical Express. p. 39.