The Cat Empire announce final tour with original line-up

The group are set to reboot as “a re-imagined, vibrant, cross-cultural, and joyful collective of musicians and artists”

Melbourne ska legends The Cat Empire have announced their dissolution as a full touring band, saying that “a new incarnation” of the group will be debuted shortly.

The Cat Empire originally formed in 1999 with Ollie McGill on keyboards, Felix Riebl on percussion and lead vocals, and Ryan Monro on double bass. They expanded to a six-piece two years later, with Harry James Angus (trumpet and guitar), Will Hull-Brown (drums) and Jamshid “DJ Jumps” Khadiwhala (turntables) performing with the group since 2001.

The band announced this morning (September 16) that they’ve “made the decision to disband, and to make way for a new incarnation of The Cat Empire to come to life”.


In an extended statement posted to The Cat Empire’s website, they explained that Riebl and McGill will continue to lead the project as “a re-imagined, vibrant, cross-cultural, and joyful collective of musicians and artists”, with new music under the band’s name set for release in 2022.

After 20 incredible years of touring and making music together, we have made the decision to disband, and to make way…

Posted by The Cat Empire on Wednesday, September 15, 2021

“We cherish our global audience who took us into their hearts, homes, venues and festivals, returning over and over to sing and dance with us,” the band’s statement continued.

“As we toured the world, our fanbase grew and so did we. The enthusiasm of our audience has sustained us through tough times and has kept us making and delivering music for all these years. We’ve met babies named after us, heard heart-warming and heart-wrenching stories about what our music has meant to people, and we’ve seen hundreds of tattoos of our logo on various body parts!”

The band made sure to note that their breakup wasn’t spurred on by any animosity or frayed relationships within the group, stating that they “leave each other with full hearts, healthy relationships, and a deep respect for each other and the musical journey we have shared together and with the world”.


The Cat Empire will perform one final run of shows in its current form this December, hitting stages in South-East Queensland, Perth and Melbourne. The latter performance will also be live-streamed on December 18. Tickets and details for all shows are available from the band’s website.

In addition, the band have announced an archival compilation titled ‘The Adelphia Sessions’, described as “a hybrid of select tracks” from their live albums ‘The Sun’ and ‘Live @ Adelphia’. The record is set for release in October, however a concrete date was not offered in the band’s announcement.

‘The Adelphia Sessions’ will also be released alongside two brand new songs, before their 2006 album ‘Cities’ makes its debut on streaming services in November.

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