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Good Rats

While countless rockers started their careers in the New York suburb of Long Island before going on to worldwide success (Billy Joel, Twisted Sister, Steve Vai, Brian Setzer, Blue Öyster Cult, etc.), there have been countless acts that appeared poised for a breakthrough, but for whatever reason, fell short. Many longtime followers of Long Island-based rock would probably agree that tops on the "woulda/coulda/shoulda" list were the Good Rats, a group who played at some of the East Coast's best-known/biggest venues (Madison Square Garden, Nassau Coliseum, the Philadelphia Spectrum) during the '70s, while opening for such big names as Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, the Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, Kiss, Journey, Heart, Styx, Meat Loaf, and Rush, among others. Specializing in a tough form of bar band/hard rock (comparable to Led Zeppelin early on, before getting more commercial), quite a few bandmembers waltzed through the Good Rats' ranks after their formation during the late '60s, but through it all, lead vocalist Peppi Marchello was present.

Originally consisting of Marchello, drummer Joe Franco (later briefly a member of Twisted Sister), bassist/vocalist Lenny Kotke, plus a pair of guitarists/singers, John "The Cat" Gatto and Mickey Marchello, the band debuted in 1969 with The Good Rats. A frustrating trend would soon follow for the group -- their albums would be well received by their large, local fan base and regional radio, but would fail to connect to other parts of the continent. It was the group's sophomore effort, 1974's Tasty, that would spawn one of the Good Rats' best-known songs: the jazzy title track, which remains a staple on Long Island-based classic rock radio. It was also around this time that the Good Rats caught the attention of guitarist Tommy Bolin (through a mutual friend), who was earning raves at the time due to his flashy guitar work for the likes of Billy Cobham and Deep Purple. Bolin was so impressed with the group that he had the management of one of his favorite clubs, Denver's Ebbets Field, hire the group, which resulted in a jam session with Bolin and drummer Carmine Appice on a rousing cover of Cobham's "Stratus," which would appear years later on the Bolin compilation Bottom Shelf (Bolin sadly died from a heroin overdose two years later).

Although some groups would have quickly given up because of all the turbulence the Good Rats experienced, Marchello and company admirably continued to soldier ahead -- continuing to issue strong yet overlooked albums (1978's Rats to Riches and Birth Comes to Us All, 1979's Rat City in Blue, and 1981's Great American Music, the latter of which featured future Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick). After laying low for a few years, Peppi put together a whole new version of the Good Rats in the early '90s, featuring his son, guitarist Gene Marchello, who was a member of the short-lived-'80s pop-metal outfit Marchello. After their rebirth, the Good Rats began issuing all-new studio albums, including 1996's Tasty Seconds and 2002's Play Dum. The original lineup of the Good Rats was also known to sporadically reunite for gigs, such as a pair of shows in Rochester, New York, in October of 1998, which saw the "new" Good Rats open for the original Good Rats. However, after experiencing heart problems, Peppi Marchello underwent open-heart surgery in June 2013, and although the singer appeared to be recovering, he died from cardiac arrest the following month at the age of 68. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Rats r the best. City liners and taking it to Detroit rock. Rip peppi
Franco was one of the best double base drummers of that decade.
First saw them play the mini cinema, uniondale, 8th anniversary, addmission. Was8cents,ri p peppi
The most underated band in the world...RIP my friend Peppi Marchello
RIP PEPPI ! First time I saw the RATS was in a bar called the 1890s club in Baldwin LI, just past the train station. I was a buzzed up and 17.
Hooked from that day on. Couldn't play tasty--oh no -- Tasty -- like this -- maaan hear. Priceless!!
They hurt my ears with their juvenile howling. Thumbs down
RIP Peppi , Mikey told me a lot about you, you seem like a wonderful man.
Saw the good rats at Zaffies in edison NJ I still listen 40 years later!!! RIP PEPPIE
The Good Rats were Long Island's best-kept secret, which is too bad because they really could rock, on album and live. I agree, there should be much more Good Rats music available on Pandora, at least 'Tasty', 'Birth Comes To Us All', 'Ratcity In Blue' and 'Live At Last'. Thanks for giving us your all, Peppi and company!
Rest in peace peppi. The rats rock!
rip peppi.a big part of my twisted youth!
tasty should be around it got the most radio play..i too was sneaking to the long island clubs...spee k s ,hammerheads , , c h e e r s deer pk ave...the rat are a n.y. strong island..part of my history..and a long island proud to be part of band...rip peppi luv ya miss ya..rats 4ever
Why is this the only album available?
bob6356
I first saw the Good Rats at Ubies OTJ in Bay Shore in 1975 when I was 17(fake ID). Was a hard core fan, seeing them at as oftern as I could at Ubies, the Mad Hatter, and Tueys through my early 20s. Caught my share of little rubber rats Peppi threw out to the crowd while banging a wooden bat on a little garbage can before singing Local Zero. Living in Southern California and long gone from Long Island, I still listen to the Rats. Rest in Peace Peppi, your music and lyrics live on, RAT ON!
db30200
I saw these guys up in new york city at CBGBs and followed them around the tri state area along with Blackfoot..t h o s e were some great times {I think}.I even have one of there rubber rats somewhere... R I P Peppi
apirrelli
'My Fathers Place'. Standing in the back. I remember getting hit square in the chest with one of the rubber rats Peppi used to throw into the audience. Ahh..... great memories. RIP Peppi, you were a big part of my youth.
mobile400
RIP Peppi, we had a blast together. Great friend.
RIP Peppi Marchello
RIP Pepe, Remember goin to My Father's Place in Roslyn, Long Island hanging with Pepe at the bar and enjoying what was to me the best band I had ever seen live. Followed them through the years and wish the local radio stations would play more than just Tasty once every blue moon now. Artimus
RAT ON PEPPI ,YOU WERE THE BEST, MY BEST WISHES AND PRAYERS GO OUT TO YOUR FAMILY AND FANS
rxvikings
Peppi was an outstanding frontman, soaring,stro n g vocals well into his 60's.he still played 100+ shows/yr.He will be missed but his music lives on!!
p.e.barrett
My God, this must be connected to fate, I just felt compelled to find the Good Rats (couldn't remember the name - senior moment) through Google and now I find Peppi is dead. What a shame, many great nights few of which I can remember at bars in northern NJ in the mid-late 70's. Formative years for me - RIP Peppi, thank you, thank you, thank you!
teenyfoot7
Thank you for the memories Peppi, I have forgotten a lot of things but never the time I spent w you (even if you did forget me ! Too much Peppermint Schnapps?)
sgries00
RIP Peppi
dickandkat5
Thank God I met some great people who knew music. Being a die hard dumb -ss party animal..The Rats were introduced to me via the Air Force Rejects...be s t thing from that long ago life!!!
mr_shooter
now this was a great band I was a follower
No matter where they started, the Long Island weekends of the late 70's/early 80's went as follows: Swift Kick @ Cheers on Thurs- Zebra @ The Mad Hatter on Fri-Good Rats @ Hammerheads on Sat. & if you survive: Twisted Sister @ the Mad Hatter Sun. Glory Days!!!!!!!! ! ! !
egere9
Growing up in New Jersey we would go to the Elks Club to see the Rats. Great music and $1.00 pitchers!!!!
the good rats or at least the main guy is from ROCHESTER NY
i lived in caldwell n j in the 70s and the good rats cbgbs and the green onion in new york was just somthin to do on a wensday night.long live th e goodrats, white castle,grunn i n g s ice cream and the red devils.
The best most fun musically talented song writing virtuoso's the world missed out on! The famous KISS Alive album recorded at COBO Hall in Detroit was opening for the Good Rats.
kick a** band

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