Friday, May 4, 2012

Gene Colan, Dave & Paty Cockrum Continue to Enrich

Joe Kubert (center, top) and his students with Adam Kubert (bottom right)

This afternoon, I was honored to participate again in the Scholarship Ceremony at the Joe Kubert School. Joe and his son, artist Adam Kubert, were both on hand to present students with cash awards for outstanding work--monies that we hope will help them in their training before they head off to work in the very competitive field of comic art.

From Joe Kubert:
"THE GENE COLAN SCHOLARSHIP was established by writer Clifford Meth in memory of his friend Gene Colan, who passed away last June. Gene is regarded as one of the most influential and beloved artists of Marvel's Silver Age. He worked for Marvel for 64 years--longer than anyone else to date--touching nearly every major Marvel character and defining many including Daredevil, Iron Man, Tomb of Dracula and Howard the Duck. In the last decade of his career, Marvel and Dark Horse stopped assigning inkers to Gene's work--his pencils were regarded as too perfect to cover up. This is the first time the GENE COLAN SCHOLARSHIP has been awarded and the award is presented for outstanding craftsmanship with a pencil."
"THE DAVE and PATY COCKRUM SCHOLARSHIP was established by Dave's widow Paty and their friend and collaborator Clifford Meth. Paty was a production artist at Marvel during the last years of the famed Marvel Bullpen, where she also did occasional pencils on Marvel's British magazines and such U.S. books as Amazing Spider-Man and Claws of the Cat. Her husband Dave Cockrum, who passed away in 2006, was considered by many the the greatest character designer Marvel had after Jack Kirby and John Romita. Cockrum's designs and creations for Marvel included Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus, Mystique, Thunderbird, Ms. Marvel, the Black Cat, Starjammers and the Futurians among others. Having trained under Murphy Anderson at DC, Dave spent most of his career at Marvel. The annual DAVE and PATY COCKRUM SCHOLARSHIP is awarded for creativity and outstanding story-telling ability."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Still Underappreciated After All These Years: The Return of the Good Rats

It's 1978 and I'm in the front row at The Show Place in Dover, NJ, watching Peppi Marchello on stage as he removes the lid from the garbage can he's been slamming all night with the Louisville slugger he plays air guitar on. This is the moment we Rat fans have waited for all night. The bride's gonna toss the bouquet.

"Who wants a rat? Who wants a rat? Who wants a rat with a squeaky asshole?" Peppi chants while brother Mickey Marchello and John Gatto trade leads. Hands in the air, the audience climbs over itself in frenzied anticipation. 
Who by fire? Who by water? Who by a rat in their yellow teeth?

These were only the most important rock moments of my misspent youth, following, as I did, one of the least appreciated but most beloved bands of the '70s; a quintette of rare talent who were ignored by the little men careering in the industry but adored
by legions of fans. So if you'd told me then, at age 17, that Peppi would one day pen a forward to one of my books--or that he'd ask me to write liner notes for a Good Rats LP--you could've knocked me over with a feather.

Of course I was drunk as a skunk back then so you could've knocked me over without telling me bupkes.
Meth, Marchello and Manitoba protesting the removal of the letter M from the phone book.

Message from the Good Rats' Newsletter below:
Thank you, thank you, thank you fans for your continuous support.  Some of you discovered us after the first Good Rats album in 1969, some after the Tasty album in 1974, some after the Ratcity album in 1976, some after the Rats To Riches album in 1978, some after the Great American album in 1981 etc. The point being that many of you have expressed to me how much enjoyment you've received from my music over the last 43 years. It's now my intention to get out both old songs of mine that were recorded but never released, and new songs I've written over the last few months. We are selling the Blue Collar Rats CD right now, a collection of archives with 20 songs on it, including my new song "Boom Boom." The players include the original Good Rats, as well as my son Gene Marchello, Bruce Kulick, Schuyler Deale, and other great musicians I've been fortunate enough to work with from 1974 to 1984. The CD has a terrific fold-out color poster, which I will be happy to personally autograph for you. It is also dedicated to the memory of my dear friend Jimmy Rainey

There are thousands of you on our e-mail list and Facebook. I sincerely hope you will continue to support me in the future as you have in the past. I hope you will find some of my new songs worthy of your support and help spread the word to others who you think will enjoy becoming new Good Rats fans. I call this a "chain CD strategy."

The Blue Collar Rats Archives CD with 20 songs is available now. You can place your order for the CD now thru my Uncle Rat Music, PO Box 585, St. James, NY 11780. Make payments to Uncle Rat Music, $15 for the 20 song CD plus $5 shipping and handling (total $20). Don't forget, if you want me to autograph the color foldout and have a specific message you want me to write, then include that with your order.

By the way, the first 100 orders will receive a free copy of CRIB DEATH and OTHER BEDTIME STORIES by my pal, author Clifford Meth. CRIB DEATH was Cliff's first collection before he began selling movies to Hollywood that were never made. Fifteen years ago I wrote the introduction to Cliff's book CONFLICTS OF DISINTEREST. Seriously twisted stuff. But you've all got to be a little twisted...

I've performed thru six decades. God willing, I hope to continue to play into my seventies. I cannot accomplish this without your support. Finally, a current study in the Harvard Medical Journal has absolutely proven that owning all new material written by Peppi Marchello will improve your sex life by 200%.
Let's all keep rockin' together!