By Tracy Dietlin

Every now and again a band comes along that has so much passion, energy and drive that you know they are destined for greatness. That is the case with Bridger. Only together for about one year, they have taken the desert by storm by packing the house at every show they have played. Their raw energy is infectious and they are a band you must see live. It’s always fun to watch someone watch them for the first time…with their jaws dropped, especially when they see Katie Cathcart tearing up the skins. Nobody would dare say she’s “a good drummer for a girl”, well maybe when she was 10, but she recently won Best Drummer at the CV Music Awards. She was in a tight category as the other four nominees are all amazing in their own right. But for those that had never witnessed her high energy, balls to the wall performance, let’s just say they walked away convinced of her amazing talent.

Katie’s brother, Jim Cathcart, was nominated for Best Frontman, and while the trophy went to Nick Flores, the audience could see why he was nominated during his performance, with his vocal prowess and guitar playing he held the crowd’s attention.

Also on guitar is Jacob Miller who interacts perfectly with bass player Dan Wheat like they are the dynamic duo of punk rock. Wheat won a trophy that night for Best Bass Player and claims it’s for all three of the bands he performs in (see below).

Then they won the trophy for Best New Band and that sealed the deal. From their performance that night at the CVMAs and their awards won, they have a whole new legion of fans following them and even a management company interested in them. This Saturday they will be performing at The Hood doing a GoPro show, which means the band and several audience members will be wearing cameras that will record the evenings shenanigans for the band to use as promotional video material.

For Bridger it’s all about performing for their fans and having a great time, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t seasoned musicians and music biz savvy. Katie and Jim have performed together since junior high in their previous band Jekkel, which lasted about 15 years, while Miller at only 24, has been performing for 10 years in different bands and 7 of it in bars where he would have to leave right after he performed. Then there’s Wheat who was born with a bass in his hand.

Jim worked in music at Lionsgate for a while and now works for the music company Elias. Katie interned at both Vagrant Records and Interscope for a stint and recently received her Master’s Degree and is a teacher. Miller works in the meat department at Costco and Wheat is currently washing windows and playing in 3 bands.

The fearless four took time out of their schedules to answer a few questions for CVW.

CVW: How long has Bridger been together now?

KT: We started talking about jamming together at last year’s CVMAs. To me, this year’s award show marks the anniversary of this brainchild. 

CVW: How many songs do you have and when will you have a CD available?

KT: We have over ten originals I believe and we are working on recording the second half as we speak. We put out the first half as an EP and are producing the others as a second. We’ve talked about wanting to combine the two into a final full-length album.

Jim: I love what we’ve written so far & know we have more in the works and would love to record it all with even better hands on it. One thing I’d like to do for fun is to also make a scrappy version of it all, live, steel airplane hangar/garage style. Rollins always plays a hundred rare versions of band’s records that he finds on discogs during his Sunday night KCRW show (89.3 in the d) & that kind of stuff always appeals to me.

CVW: Who will be producing it?

KT: Right now we are doing everything independently. Our hopes are to spark interest in someone who can help get us to the next level of production. We would love for our recorded sound to be able to reflect the energy of our live show.

CVW: Who writes the lyrics?

KT: Jim’s the poet, Dan’s the angst, and we all get to add our little touches. However, what’s really cool though is that whenever someone says, “hey, I want this one” we let them go for it. I’m really lucky to be in such a creative group. The boys are also very welcoming to ideas and contributions.

Jim: We share duties collectively as a band. When I put lyrics together it comes from the mood of what we’re playing at the time, with its punk/rock nature it tends to gravitate a lot toward a “FTW, we’re on fire, you did me wrong so go to hell” kind of attitude. There are also stories of losing your mind, revenge, and overcoming the mundane.

CVW: How would you best describe your brand of music?

KT: I’m not good with labels… I like being from the desert. I like drawing from my punk and classic rock roots. I think that we end up somewhere in rock.

Jim: Heat driven rock/punk from the California desert.

CVW: Jim how did it feel to be nominated for frontman with the band being so new?

Jim: It felt great. I have tremendous respect for all of the frontmen in the valley. We all know what it’s like being in that position in a band and are connected by a mutual respect for each other.

CVW: Katie…how did it feel to win for Best Drummer up against so many amazing drummers that you’ve known for years?

KT: An honor, hands down, an honor. I was so overwhelmed I don’t even remember what I said. Everyone who was nominated is a beast and I know several others worthy of having been nominated. Also, I feel extremely appreciative. It’s been a journey and the recognition of this award, this year, inspires me and pushes me. I want to earn this award in every next show. Thank you everyone!

CVW: Tell us what it meant to win for Best New Band?

Jim: To me winning Best New Band means we’re doing something right by playing what we want, having a fun and energetic live experience, & pushing towards being better. It’s a beginning to be proud of & an honor to be recognized.

Dan: For me, it was a complete surprise. It was just last year at the CV Award Show that I walked up to KT and said ‘We need to play music together’. An accomplishment like this in less than a full 12 months is amazing.

Jacob: It was a huge honor especially for being such a new band and having such little public exposure up to that point.

CVW: What was it like performing at the CVMA’s?

Jim: I kept turning to fellow desert musicians saying, “I love this, it’s a concert with all of us”. Music = family. Performing was a bit of a mad scramble & I had to play chase the mic a couple of times (always a joy) but playing in front of people as BRIDGER sets us on fire.

KT: Jim nailed it: Exciting, thrilling, and an honor.

Jacob: Epic!! It was the best stage set up with the lighting and sound being so phenomenal. It was like when The Who or the Eagles performed at the Tennis Gardens.

CVW: Dan…how do you balance playing in 3 bands? (Bridger, Remnants of Man, Boycott Radio)

Dan: It can be rough at times. Scheduling can get a bit hectic, but I can normally keep balance. There’s been a couple overlaps and jumbles, but when you love what you do, you make it work. My musical tastes come in a VERY WIDE variety. Taking part in groups of different genres helps feed that need. And having so many amazing friends that are just as amazing musicians is like sticking Paula Dean in a cake factory…. I gotta have a piece.

CVW: Jacob you play in another band as well correct?

Jacob: It’s Klonus with Dave Fleming. I’ve been playing with him for about 7 years.

CVW: Tell us about how doing the Go Pro show came about?

KT: I can’t quite recall how it happened but I know that we keep talking about how we want to be able to capture our live show to share. Instead of putting all of our resources into one or two cameras we want to do something different. We can get good quality footage all over the stage and in the audience with a bunch of GoPros. More importantly we want to have the crowd be a part of us. If we aren’t giving out presents, we want to buy a few drinks. This show allows us to have everyone we love be a part of our history and hopefully in this video. Let’s party!

CVW: Is there a certain song you want to capture for a video or just the whole live show experience?

KT: Shows tend to have a life of their own. I’m excited to see what we get from the cameras and audience!

Dan: ‘You asshole’ or ‘Real Deal’. I mean, all of our songs excite me. But those were the beginning. Those were the fire under what we are now. And I love them.

Jacob: The concept is the entire night’s experience. We are looking to have about 10 GoPros running at once all over the bar.

CVW: What has been the most pivotal moment or experience in your career so far?

KT: This show. I hope everyone can make it.

Jim: I think we’ve yet to reach it.

Jacob: I would say winning the CVMAs Best New band of the year. It was a great way to celebrate being together as a band for about a year now.

CVW: I know there is talk about Bridger signing a deal with VM Management. Can you share a little about that and what that means for you as a band?

Jim: We’re starting to work with Val a bit (she’s rad) and looking to book some shows. I appreciate her & Tarver’s energy, looking forward to the upcoming year.

KT: It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds…

CVW: Where do you see yourselves in 2 years?

KT: Playing drums for y’all.

Jim: Runnin’ down a dream.

Jacob: Hopefully out on tour and on top of the Billboard charts.

CVW: What local band do you have the most respect for?

KT: Each and every one of them. WE make the desert music scene.

Jim: There are a lot I have huge respect for; Rebel Noise has always been nothing but awesome to us & I’d rather work and play with genuine people then some asshole with a chip on his shoulder. I respect Josh Heinz & Giorg Tierez for their endless drive & passion, Nick Flores’ energy is boundless, Thre3 Strykes are killer dudes. Just met the Yip Yops & they seem like a class act. I’m also a personal fan of Waxy & Parosella.

Dan: That’s too hard of a question. But one of my favorite bands to pair Bridger with is Rebel Noise. Those cats can rock!

CVW: What current bands are you listening to?

KT: Led Zeppelin, they’re always current right?

Jim: FEAR, all the time. In a completely different vein; The Sight Below, Tycho, and Mac Demarco because I like his deranged clown attitude.

Dan: Golliwog, The Other, Belvedere, Billy Talent, and Mute have been cycling through my stereo for the last month or so. Those, among plenty more, I can’t get enough of.

Jacob: A lot of Modern Country. Anything by Brad Paisley. I’m a huge fan of his guitar playing and songwriting. I mean I grew up on Black Sabbath, ACDC and Aerosmith but I will always be a metal head at heart.

CVW: What else would you like readers to know about Bridger?

KT: We want you to come to our show.

Jim: It’s best live. Will travel.

Dan: Look out. We have no plans of leaving

Jacob: Come to the show and have a drink with me.

Bridger performs this Saturday, June 21 at the Hood Bar 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert, CA, Show starts at 9:00pm. 21 & over. FREE show. Also on the bill: Kill the Radio and Barbarians