Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why I Love The Good Rats and You Don't. Yet.

You've heard me mention the Good Rats more than once--here, in my books, and when I'm hammered and dripping nostalgic. Here's some bits you might not know:

Hailing from Long Island, the Good Rats were a late-70s East Coast legend, driving fans wild at The Bottom Line in NY City, The Philadelphia Spectrum, The Nassau Coliseum, New Haven Coliseum, Hartford Civic Center, Rhode Island Coliseum, and occassionally at The Whiskey in LA and the Hammersmith Odeon in England. They shared stages with Rush, Aerosmith, Meatloaf, Ozzy Osbourne, the Grateful Dead, Kiss, Heart, and Bruce Springsteen. One member of Journey, after sharing the bill with the Rats, called them "The greatest rock band in the world." At worst, he wasn't far off.

But for some unfathomable reason, the Good Rats failed to break beyond their loyal East Coast following. Their song "Dear Sir," with the refrain “I’d rather clean the cages at the zoo than change my songs for you” (written for music impresario Clive Davis) is perhaps the best explanation. The band was relentlessly uncompromising.

To this day, Rat fans remain legion, following writer/frontman Peppi Marchello through various incarnations of the band, despite an almost conspiratorial effort, decades later, to keep their music (on Warner Bros. and other labels) off the airwaves. Peppi describes Rat fans as “everyone from bikers to dentists, captains of industries to the guys in jail for rape and murder.”

Listen to one of their classic concerts here courtesy of the brilliant Wolfgang's Vault. Or see one of The Good Rats' more recent music videos here.

There's a rumor that Peppi and I are working on a rock-and-roll screenplay together. Am I honored? Hell, I'm ossified!


Anonymous said...

I just saw the Good Rats on July 4, 2009 in Queens (the first time I have seen them in twenty years) & despite the fact time marches on the Rats still rock. I felt like I was twenty all over again.


I know how you feel...but next time don't post anonymously or I'll ignore you. No guts, no glory.