Peppi Marchello - vocals; Mickey Marchello - lead guitar; John Gato - guitar, keyboards, vocals; Joe Franco - drums; Lenny Kotke - bass
The Good Rats, protectors and defenders of the league of New York bar bands, played all over the Northeast US for the better part of two decades. With Peppi Marchello on lead vocals (complete with throaty New York-drenched vocal inflections), the band was consistently one of the best club draws on the Eastern seaboard, with a fiercely loyal following.
Although this is one of the shorter shows from a several night engagement at New York's legendary Bottom Line club recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, it is still a good example of what The Good Rats were all about in concert. The group did make one album on Warner Brothers Records but it was far too eclectic for Warner to know how to market it to a mainstream audience. Still, their classic "Tasty" (featured on this show) has remained a staple of rock club DJs for years.
The Good Rats were unique in the sense that nearly everyone who was ever in the band was a New York-based Italian American. That resulted in a lot of irreverent ethnic humor at their performances, usually dished out by frontman, Peppi Marchello. In fact, at any given time in the show, you might expect him to stop and point at someone in the audience and repeat the line: "Hey! You talkin' to me?!" But the Rats were never afraid to hold their ground, which is why they were relegated to indie labels after their sole Warner release. They close this show with the poignant song "Dear Sir," which was written about the bitter struggles endured while signing to a major label. They say it all in the key line of the song: "I'd rather clean the cages at the zoo than change my songs for you."