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Cat's quest continues PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Arts & Entertainment Editor   
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 12:09
The Mechanical Cat hails from the planet Trifenderor by way of the Great Black Swamp.
The latest adventures of The Mechanical Cat are recounted by creator John Zibbel on the CD "Nine Stars," out and about now from various online outlets.
The Cat is an interstellar explorer and researcher who takes a break from his library job to visit Earth to study the quirks of humans. "He focuses a lot on love," Zibbel said.
The Mechanical Cat has taken shape over 10 years. This is the third in what Zibbel considers an aural comic book.
The Mechanical Cat, like other comic book superheroes, has had his brushes with death. Being a cat he has risen to amuse listeners anew. "Now he's completely invincible."
While the Cat may have interstellar roots, the character is firmly rooted in Bowling Green.
Zibbel, 33, moved here with his family from Rossford in 1992.
He loved the "Star Wars" movies and Ghostbusters.
He and his younger brother, Eric, started experimenting early writing songs. They even wrote one "Jay the Janitor" for the custodian at St. Aloysius School where they went. They played the tribute at the school.
The honoree Jay Leyland gave the older Zibbel  the Moog synthesizer, he still uses.
Despite all the advances in digital technology in the last 20 years, Zibbel still prefers working with the Moog. "Analog synthesizers sound better," he said. "The Moog doesn't always sound perfect. ... It sounds more organic."
With its quirks and frailties, Zibbel thinks of it as "my Millennium Falcon," in reference to Hans Solo's trusty spaceship in the early "Star Wars" movies.
He and his brother  haunted the former Video Spectrum store, renting "the cheesier sci fi and monster movies."
"Mechanical Cat is a B movie in progress," Zibbel said.
They also had an interest in vintage audio equipment. John Zibbel said when the Pines Roller Rink closed down, they acquired the old sound system.
He records his superhero's adventures at home, using the Moog synthesizer, a drum machine and a tube amplifier that he runs his rap vocals through.
His cousin Jeremy Klink is a major contributor to the lyrics and recording, Zibbel said. He was involved through the six years that "Nine Stars" was in the works.
"We spent a lot of nights staying up until 3 a.m. re-recording vocal tracks, or re-doing a Moog part." Zibbel said. "Or thinking of lyrical content, a lot of the lyrics in spaceship medicine were written by him.  He was very patient with me."
He also credits Jason Zeh, a fellow student at Bowling Green, who got interested in performance art in high school, and created his own character. Zibbel admits to "hijacking" the idea.
The name comes from his wife, Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel. As a child she had a calico cat, which she called a "mechanical cat."
Another generation of Zibbels is taking interest in the project.
His two daughters Isobel, 4, and Alexandra, 8, "get into it a lot," he said. "They're my biggest fans." Alexandra even "wants to create a project of her own."
"I want them to know," he said, "that art and music is important to do for yourself. It's a very rewarding thing to do. If other people like it that's a bonus."
 

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