Charlie Chesterman

Photo via Friends of Charlie Chestserman on Facebook

Charlie Chesterman, the frontman of Boston college-radio favorites Scruffy the Cat, part of the late-’80s cowpunk scene that helped spawn the alt-country movement, lost his ongoing battle with cancer on Monday, according to posts on Facebook this morning by the late musician’s friends, including former bandmate Stephen Fredette,

Fredette broke the news with a simple post to the Scruffy the Cat Fans group on Facebook:

“RIP Charlie Chesterman.”

Another friend, photographer Michael J. Charles, posted a heartfelt message on the Friends of Charlie Chesterman page about two hours later:

I lost a best friend yesterday. Charlie Chesterman, you will be missed dearly by your family, friends and fans. We had a lot of great times over the years and you lived a life that many could only dream of. Cancer took away many things, but it will never take away the love and music you shared with all of us. Thank you for leaving us all with that! I know you’re rockin’ away in a much better place now! Love you “brother!”

Scruffy the Cat reunited in the summer of 2011 for the first time in two decades to play a benefit concert to raise money for the cancer-stricken Chesterman; those shows saw the singer/guitarist reunite with Scruffy bandmates Fredette (guitar), Burns Stanfield (piano) and Randall Lee Gibson (drums).

Speaking to the Boston Globe prior to that benefit, Chesterman said health issues — including Fredette’s now-in-remission lymphoma — had kept the band from reuniting.

“Out of all of us, I think I’m the one that has been the biggest foot-dragger about getting back together. But between the health situation that Stephen has and I have, it’s kind of changed my perspective a little bit. If everybody really wants to do this and I’m the only holdout, then I just need to shut up and get with the program.

It’s time for me to just say yes.’’

The band was set to play two more shows in October of that year, this time with banjo player Stona Fitch, but they were canceled. No explanation was given at the time.

Between 1987 and 1989, Scruffy the Cat released two albums and two EPs  and received college-radio and even some MTV airplay with its single “My Baby, She’s Alright.”

Below, check out footage from the 2011 reunion, and some classic tracks.


Scruffy the Cat, “My Baby, She’s Alright,” 6/12/11


Scruffy the Cat, “Moons of Juptier,” 6/12/11


Scruffy the Cat, “You Dirty Rat”


Scruffy the Cat, “40 Days and 40 Nights”






Tags: , ,