Frightfully Good Coffee!: The loss of income due to the COVID lockdowns clearly had a devastating effect on many, many people and industries. Musicians were left scrambling as touring shut down for a couple of years, and the public having already decided that it wasn’t going to be paying for recorded music anymore. Some did streaming concerts, GoFundMe’s were set up, merch drives were held. People did what they could. Acey Slade started a coffee company called Catfight.

Slade has been a beloved figure in rock ‘n’ roll circles for many years. He first burst into the public spotlight as a member of horror-glam band the Murderdolls, alongside vocalist Wednesday 13 and late Slipknot man Joey Jordison. He later had a punky band called Trashlight Vision, and he played with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. He’s currently a touring guitarist with the reformed Misfits, and he’s about to go on tour with industrial-tinged metal band Dope. So he’s been around, but what made him want to start Catfight?

Frightfully Good Coffee!

(Catfight Coffee)

“I had a couple of different coffee ventures previous to COVID breaking out three years ago,” Slade says. “When COVID broke out, some people thought that it would just be a bump in the road for three months, but it’s like, you can’t have a bump in the road for three months without it affecting the remainder of the time. I was pretty clear, I thought it would last longer. Musicians always have to have an additional form of income — you just can’t rely on music money these days. So my wife Mei-Ling and I started Catfight Coffee out of the necessity of tours being canceled and the inconsistency of music normally.”

It all goes back, Slade says, to when he was a kid in Pennsylvania, and an Italian restaurant opened near his house. When the owners gave him a taste of espresso and he loved it, even in his tender years, his lifelong affection for coffee was up and running.

“As long as I can remember, I’ve loved coffee,” he says. “Where this started to become an idea was when I was playing with Joan Jett. We were afforded the luxury in a band like that of not having to set up our own gear, and really not having anything to do until soundcheck at about 6 p.m. So that left the whole day with nothing to do. It’s like, I know where the cool places are in New York, L.A. and Chicago, but I sure don’t know where the cool place is in North Dakota. I would look on Yelp for where the cool coffee places were because, 1) I wanted a great cup of coffee, and 2) usually where the independent coffee places are is where the used record stores and instrument stores are. Independent coffee shops are kind of the hub of artistic culture, I think.”

Acey Slade (Anthony Frisketti)

There’s no cool story behind the company name – Slade and his wife simply came up with a moniker that suited their brand. And the guitarist’s history working in music, marketing and promotion proved invaluable when he started branding this new venture. Catfight has three music-themed coffees available for purchase – Murderdolls and Misfits brews, plus an Alice Cooper coffee, too. So the big question is, how did Slade decide what the sounds of those bands tastes like?

“For the Misfits one, the mascot is the Crimson Ghost,” he says. “I’m not a big fan of flavored coffees normally, but we had done a red velvet one for Valentine’s Day and it was a banger. It was so good. So when thinking about the Misfits – Crimson Ghost, crimson roast – red velvet was a no-brainer. With the Murderdolls one, our big single was a cover of [Billy Idol’s] ‘White Wedding,’ so white chocolate. All the flavors that we pick are in the natural wheelhouse of what coffee tastes like. The band certainly drank a lot, so maybe it should have some rum in there. Raspberries – red was a big color in the band. So a lot of thought does go into the taste of the coffee versus the brand that it’s paired with.”

Away from music but “on brand” with the horror theme, Catfight also scored a licensing deal with the Evil Dead movie and TV franchise. Need a demonic brew? Groovy!

“Evil Dead was a little bit of a challenge just because they’re extremely protective of the assets, the branding and everything,” Slade says. “Getting the contract wasn’t too hard, but as far as nailing down how the bag should look and all that stuff, that was harder – and I respect that. The Evil Dead people were very picky about Bruce (Campbell)’s image. Bruce was very picky about it, and I like that because it makes me feel better about the fact that they let me use that license. ‘We don’t just give it out to anybody.’ Evil Dead was certainly very picky.”

Acey Slide with Mei-Ling (Courtesy of Acey Slade)

Slade says that he has plans for future coffee collabs, but that he doesn’t want Catfight to be solely known as a company that makes music/movie brews.

“We’re probably going to move away from that a little bit in the coming years,” he says. “We have some fun ideas that we want to do. But any time you put your personal branding in front of the branding of the company that you’re trying to start, I think you’re asking for trouble. We’re using the branding of Misfits, Alice Cooper and Murderdolls to get people through the front door of Catfight, (but) we want Catfight to be its own thing. If all you’re doing is band and movie coffees, nobody cares about your identity. It’s like being a cover band.”

Slade is about to embark on the Rise of the Machines tour with Dope and alongside Static-X and Fear Factory. He’s open to playing with the Murderdolls again, but there’s no news at present. And he’s on call with the Misfits. The one thing he can rely on, and control with his wife, is Catfight.

The man does make a bloody good cup of coffee.

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