Nick Cato came into the world on January 15th, 1968. The first son of two Roman Catholic parents, he was traditonally baptized a few weeks later (although recent DNA evidence supports a local theory that the sacramental water used also contained Gin and Dot-3 break fluid).
Nick was educated in the New York City public school system, but spent most of his study time reading horror comics and books, attempting to draw his own Godzilla comics, and listening to KISS.
There was all kinds of stuff that went down between 1978 and l986, which was the year Nick graduated from New Dorp High School in Staten Island, NY. Most notably:
– Nick’s 1979 screening of George A. Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD, which enhanced his horror film addiction worse than his 1975 late-night viewing of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.
-1979: Nick borrows Jay Anson’s novel THE AMITYVILLE HORROR from his local library and reads it in one 8-hour session in his backyard on an ancient hamock. Despite reading it in broad daylight, Nick is scared senseless and still considers this one of the scariest novels he’s ever read, and was immediately sucked into the world of adult horror novel reading (despite the fact he was eleven years old at the time).
-1979: Nick’s mother takes him to Waldenbooks and buys him the first issue of FANGORIA magazine. The next day he had little use for his massive FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND collection.
-Nick’s 1981 viewing on WHT of another 1979 classic, Walter Hill’s surrealistic gang-film epic THE WARRIORS, was a major factor in conditioning his brain for cult films.
-1981: Nick and his buddies attend a screening of the re-released 1974 TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. Nick’s stomach drops when Leatherface does the now infamous “door slamming” scene. One of his friends is forever mentally damaged. It becomes Nick’s all time favorite horror film.
-1981: Nick creates his first independent publication, a fanzine devoted to covering horror films and hardcore music, titled HARDGORE. The same year, he switches the title to STINK, turns the focus to low budget horror and cults films, and by 1991 produces 68 issues before ending its ten-year run.
-1982, when at the young (and wrong) age of 14, Nick manages to belt his first “home run,” forever damaging his mind toward the opposite sex (as well as Hungarian field mice. Don’t ask).
-1982: Nick dumps his first girlfriend for talking during a screening of CREEPSHOW, which he had waited patiently for 2 years to come out after reading about it in issues of FANGORIA magazine. This was not the same girl who aided in the home run.
-1983: Nick goes to Madison Square Garden to see his first concert: IRON MAIDEN on their PIECE OF MIND tour (opening act was QUIET RIOT). He thought he was cool for weeks on end walking around in the tour-shirt.
-1984: On a hot August night, Nick and buddy Chris travel to Manhattan to see METALLICA, which was about 3 years before they became popular and even longer before they became the biggest band in the world. To this day Nick tells all those who told him the band stunk back then that they can now polish his booty. ANTHRAX (with their original singer Neil Turban) and RAVEN were also on the bill. (NOTE: Nick lost interest in Metallica after the …AND JUSTICE FOR ALL album in 1989ish).
-1985: Although a guitar player since 1978, Nick switched to bass during his sophmore year of high school and attempted to join a heavy metal band. When he realized the metal heads in his area (for the most part) were a bunch of snobs, more interested in their looks than their licks, Nick came out of the closet with his secret love: hardcore and punk rock.
-1985: Nick attends his first horror film convention in NY, meets Tom Savini, Caroline Munro, and Michael Berryman . . . and nearly faints.
-1985: Nick attends the the first NY showing of DAY OF THE DEAD and is taken away in an ambulence just as it ends due to extreme excitement.
-1986: Nick attends an insane thrash metal concert at the now defunct NY disco club, Studio 54. VENOM, SLAYER, and EXODUS took the stage and the world of satanic metal was never the same again. A video was made of this (called “The Ultimate Revenge”), and Nick’s friends can be seen making idiots of themselves during the opening outdoor footage. Nick was one of the few people in attendance who did not wear an inverted cross, had never sacrificed a virgin, and was even called a poser for wearing a Metallica jacket! Only in NY, folks.
-1986: Nick forms his first hardcore band after seeing a CBGB matinee of AGNOSTIC FRONT, THE CRUMBSUCKERS, WARZONE, and TOKEN ENTRY. The group was called ORGANIZED CONFUSION, and soon did their first gig in a local high school gym as the opening act for a metal cover band. The plug was pulled during their 6th or 7th song as the place went berserk. More than half the crowd left before the headlining act went on. Nick grinned, but is still irritated that they did not get to do their cover of THE MISFITS classic “Attitude.” Local old-school punks ask why three guys in the band had long hair.
-1986: After creative differences, ORGANIZED CONFUSION splits and becomes NATALIE WOOD’S POOL PARTY. They do a few local gigs, gain a following, get a great demo review in MAXIMUMROCKNROLL magazine, then break up. The name is still remembered by Staten Islanders to this day (thanks to excessive telephone-flier posting). Nick also takes on drumming duties after 2 lessons from his talent-wizard brother Joe (who, himself, had later switched to guitar, and has calmed down a bit after a stint with NY metal act BOILER ROOM. Check out joebaracata.com).
-1988: Nick moves in with the alternative rock band SAW SAW, they gain a nice local following, and then the band splits right before embarking on an independent US tour. Nick’s favorite gig of all time: SAW SAW plays to over 1,000 people at a local Street Festival, and at the side of the stage, bopping to the music, is one of Nick’s all-time favorite guitarists: Richie Stotts of THE PLASMATICS. Nick drops one of his sticks but miraculously manages to finish the song without ruining it.
-1988: SAW SAW’s bassist lends Nick a cassette of Gary Numan’s 1979 record, THE PLEASURE PRINCIPAL. Within two years Nick owns every record, 7″, and tour book, and video put out by the English electronic-music pioneer. He becomes a psychotic Numanoid.
-1989/90: Nick joins local punk/hardcore outfit XXY, they land a few classic gigs, including opening for the legendary Johnny Thunders, and create one of the wildest stage shows since the Plasmatics. A DVD of their 4-show career is in the works by XXY’s former bassist / artist / photographer Mr. Eye (crnyc.com). XXY also gets a song on the TOE TAG RECORDS compilation “Brain Food.”
-1989: In the middle of this the sea of concerts, constant film-going, pre-marital sex, Guiness stout, midnight film screenings in Manhattan, fanzine publishing, and video bootlegging, Nick lands a job in the New York City Public School system, where he is still making sure the boilers don’t explode.
-1990: The Gulf War is on the horizon, Nick gets bored of wasting time in local bars, of doing gigs, and a supernatural event looms on his horizon (email Nick for more information on this subject: NickYak@aol.com ).
-1990: Nick meets Maria Lynn Taber in a local favorite hangout (the now defunct club, REDSPOT!). Although they used to work together at a supermarket, this is the first time they hook-up. They leave together, and just 11 months later…
MrsCato (401K) -1991: Nick and Maria wed on 11-9-91, just 10 months after their first date. The couple are still hitched (and if your girl was armed like this, you wouldn’t be leaving either).
-1992: Nick and Maria welcome their first child, Mark, on 6-5-92.
-1995: Nick and Maria welcome their second child, Rachel, on 6-9-95.
-1995: After his wife refuses to sleep with him during the month of September, Nick ties a knot in it.
-1995: Nick’s son Mark dumps a half-bottle of baby powder on and into the Cato family Emerson VCR. Maria cleans it frantically, and the sucker still works. Nick writes letter of commendation to the Emerson company and receives no reply.
-1996: Desperate to supplement his income, Nick lies his way into a side-job as a special F/X artist, creating an alien corpse for an underground conspiracy video out of PlayDoh. The picture of Nick in action was taken by an opposing video company, who blackmailed Nick’s employer, JOHNSON LABORATORIES, into admitting that their footage was indeed fake. Several copies of the footage are still in circulation, although the FX are not as impressive as the infamous FOXTV “Alien Autopsy” special released the same year.
-1997: After years of reading countless novels, Nick is inspired to finally write his own after reading Mary Ann Mitchell’s DRAWN TO THE GRAVE. He had been out of the horror scene since 1991, and read very little fiction during these 6 years. By 1999, his first novel, DON OF THE DEAD is completed and is still in the revision-zone.
-1997: After reading a review of Bentley Little’s novel THE STORE, Nick buys a copy, and within 3 years reads most of Little’s works. He scratches his head wondering how this guy slipped by him throughout the mid 80s and up to this point. He becomes a Little-a-holic.
-1998: For the first time since 1982, Gary Numan returns to America for his first concert in over 16 years. Nick, convinced he’d never see his favorite artist live, attends and is mesmerized beyond description. His wife takes him for therapy the next day.
-2000: Nick begins work on several short stories, and begins to consume books on the craft of writing.
-2001: Nick has DON OF THE DEAD pro-critiqued, and while he is waiting for it to return, 9/11 goes down and changes the course of history.
-2002: Nick continues crafting short stories, and begins work on THE DISCOUNT EXORCIST, his second novel.
-2003: While recovering from a hernia opertaion, Nick returns to his old love and begins to publish another fanzine, titled THE HORROR FICTION REVIEW. It is still going strong today, although several follicly-challenged authors have put a price on Nick’s head for mocking them in a couple of issues.
-2004: Nick decides to start his own small press, and manages to con horror funnyman Jeff Strand to write a story for a chapbook titled TWO TWISTED NUTS. NOVELLO PUBLISHERS is born and becomes dedicated to publishing humorous horror stories.
-2005: On April 9th, NOVELLO PUBLISHERS officially releases TWO TWISTED NUTS in NY at the WORLD HORROR CONVENTION to rave reviews from other publishers and authors alike. Author Brian Keene is gracious and does not kill Nick for mocking his balding head, but takes mental revenge by freaking him out with a reading from his novel TERMINAL.
-2005: Nick gets ready to ship his first order out (as publisher/co-writer) of TWO TWISTED NUTS. In the shot to the left, he gives a classic thumbs-up sign for good luck, imitating a classic ritual created by Angaua Senmenzen in 1443, an underground drug dealer in Afghanistan who did this each time he sold PURPPURP to neighboring villages: the drug later became known as CRACK, and Senmenzen’s decendents are still successfully active in the business today.
-2005: Nick Cato sells his first story to Hellbound Books. “Toes,” a tale of insanity brought on by hatred of the human foot, will be featured in the humorous horror anthology titled DEATHGRIP: EXIT LAUGHING, slated for a March, 2006 release. Click here: DeathGrip: Exit Laughing | HellBound Coming Soon | HellBound Books – Horror Publications
-2005: Feeling out-of-genre for the first time in his life, Nick’s decides to try his hand at a fantasy story. “The Love Shift” is sold and published online at ScienceFictionFantasyHorror.com. Scroll down their site and it should still be archived.
-2005: Thanks to a new diet and the drug VYTORIN, Nick gets his cholesterol from 296 down to 178. He still hasn’t started a work out routine.
-2005: Nick Cato is featured in WICKED KARNIVAL magazine # 5 ( a “fairy-tales” issue) with an interview and short story titled ARE YOU SQUIDDING ME?: A MODERN ITALIAN FABLE.
-2005: NOVELLO PUBLISHERS releases their second chapbook, RIGHT HOUSE ON THE LEFT, written by Steve Vernon, Mark McLaughlin, L.L. Soares, and featuring an introduction by hot shot James A. Moore. This is Nick’s first full-credit as an editor.
Nick’s novel THE DISCOUNT EXORCIST is currently being considered by a small press, and he is currently doing the umpteenth re-write of DON OF THE DEAD. He is also busy on two other novels, a non-fiction comedy book, countless short stories, and a young adult series tentatively titled DEAD BOYS.
Keep it posted here as the saga continues . . .
NOTE: This list is not exhaustive. There are many other things Nick Cato has done in the fields of music, movies, overeating, and fiction writing that could not be mentioned here due to label restrictions, law suits, and his church (that is already debating whether or not to boot him from the deaconhood . . . )