Good Rats

One of the great homegrown bands of Long Island, The Good Rats emerged on the scene in the late 60s and their eclectic raw energy helped them thrive throughout the 70s, making them one of the most memorable and popular local acts of the era.

Starting as a cover band in 1964, The Good Rats were originally called the U-Men and built a respectable little following around the island, enough to attract the attention of a record label, which encouraged the band to develop their original material and change their name. Rechristened The Good Rats, the band released its self-titled debut album in 1969.

Numerous personal changes occurred during this time, but by 1972, the band had settled into a line-up that included vocalist and band leader, Peppi Marchello, John “The Cat” Gatto on guitar, Joey Franco on drums, and Lenny Kotke on bass.

The band’s popularity continued to rise in the Tri-State area and in 1974, they released their most popular album to date, Tasty. The album received plenty of local FM airplay and soon after, The Good Rats were performing in such prestigious locations as Madison Square Garden, Nassau Coliseum, and even the Whisky-a-go-go, all the way out in Los Angeles.

 

In 1976, the band released Ratcity in Blue, followed two years later by From Rats to Riches. Sadly, although these albums were also local hits for the band, The Good Rats could never quite break out of the New York scene to get some much-deserved national attention. By 1983, the band decided to call it quits.

 

Then, in the early 90s, Marchello and his sons, Stephan and Gene, began playing around the island, first under the name “Marchello” and eventually reclaiming the name, The Good Rats. The band still plays sporadically to this day, and still enjoys a strong loyal following. They were inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2008 and released a new album in 2012 called Blue Collar Rats.

The Good Rats never found the mainstream success they deserved, but their stature among Long Island music fans was never questioned. And if you made it through the 70s on the island without ever hearing their name, you were likely living in a cave.

On July 11, 2013, news spread quickly that beloved leader Peppi Marchello passed away after suffering a heart attack at the age of 68. He was the heart and soul of the Good Rats, and riches or not, there is many a Long Islander out there that won’t soon forget seeing these hometown heroes bring down the house night after night.

Are you a fan of the Good Rats, let’s hear all of your memories and reflections in the comments section.

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6 Responses

  1. Jack Spiller says:

    Awesome band Should have had their name in lights where it belonged

    • 70sKid says:

      Couldn’t agree more, Jack. I wasn’t old enough to go to a club in the 70s, but I wore out a copy of Ratcity in Blue as a kid. I loved that album and kept waiting for them to hit it big, but it wasn’t to be.

  2. Marty says:

    I remember seeing them many times at the local clubs. The band consisted of Peppi on lead vocals, bat and trash can, John Gatto on lead guitar, Mickey Marchello on rhythm guitar, Joey Franco on drums and Lenny Kotke on bass.

  3. Michael says:

    I’m still tring to get a copy of tasty to this day! Loved the band and always had a cassette in my car! Saw them live when they opened for Rush at Nassau Coliseum. Rest in Peace Peppi…….I’m sure with that voice your rockin with the best in Heaven!!

  4. Ray Guarino says:

    Having grown up on L.I. and being in my teens & 20’s in the 70’s I was a biog Good Rats fan. So much so that after seeing an original lineup reunion show at The Space In Westbury I got in touch with Peppi and invited him to come on my local radio show to talk about the band.

    Although Peppi wasn’t a “car guy” he graciously agreed to come on MotorMouth Radio back in 2011 and share his thoughts with the listeners. When I asked him why he agreed to come onto a car oriented show when he wasn’t active in that world his reply left me speechless. Peppi told me that since we’re REAL fans (who’ve bought the albums, CD’s and concert tickets), he felt it was his duty to give back to us all and come on the show.

    The interview was nothing less than stellar and can be heard by following this link:
    http://motormouthradio.net/blog/legends-lost

    Peppi & the Good Rats will live long in out hearts and musical memories. I suggest you go and see Peppi’s son play-he’s got his dad’s chops and really puts on a terrific show for his fans.

  5. Florida Phil says:

    Great band-Peppi was a great man and was a giant in the Long Island music scene. I had the honor and privilege to know him. I’ll never forget the good times my friends and I had seeing his band, meeting his sons and watching him perform. I can go on and on. I deeply miss him.

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