The Great Kat: Beethoven’s Guitar Shred


by Kevin Stewart-Panko

The claims about being “one of the fastest shredders of all time” and “a musical genius” The Great Kat (nee Katherine Thomas) lays down are always up for subjective debate, no matter how much she yells and screams and claims them as fact. While she’s undoubtedly a super-speedy guitar (and violin) wailer, I’m of the personal opinion that her body of recorded work is an unlistenable, intolerable mess and, still, to this day wonder what the fuck Roadrunner were thinking when they signed her and her PVC boyshorts back in the late 80s.

But this isn’t about her playing; it’s about Ms. Thomas’ DVD release, Beethoven’s Guitar Shred which after the eyebrow-raising, did-I-just-see-what-I-thought-I-fucking-saw? initial run through, ultimately proved much more intolerable than her whirling dervish playing style.

Included within are seven videos – and I use the term “videos” loosely and in the same way I’d refer to the show 24 as an accurate barometer of real-life counter terrorism – all featuring Kat’s stock facial expression, which approximates someone using a weed whacker on her labia, and lasting a total of maybe 15 minutes. Mercifully, it’s only 15 minutes because when it doesn’t seem like Her Majesty threw a handful of change into the video karaoke booth at a Seacaucus, NJ shopping mall – think Sonic Youth’s “Addicted to Love” video, but cheesier – vids like “Torture Techniques,” “Blood” and “Islamofascists” come across like the home movies filmed, costumed and edited by 8th graders drunk on the Evil Dead series and warm bottles of Cold Duck. The bonus features, which are pretty much The Great Kat extolling her greatness over an unrelenting backing track of thrashed-up classical compositions, are equally ridiculous, except they don’t take nearly as much of your precious time. Sure, watching this entire DVD may take less than half-an-hour, but there are better things you could be doing with your time. Like bee-keeping in the buff with honey slathered over your testicular region. Or walking into a police station and wrongly confessing to unsolved crimes. Or voluntarily hanging out with Kate Gosselin. Or…


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Sean is the founder/publisher of; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.