Peppy Marchello - vocals; Mickey Marchello - lead guitars; John Gato - guitar, keyboards, vocals; Joe Franco - drums; Lenny Kotke - bass
The Good Rats were an institution in Long Island and the five boroughs of New York, and remained a popular musical export with a fiercely loyal fan-base. The Good Rats were fronted by brothers Mickey and Peppy Marchello (on guitar and vocals, respectively), and although they did score a record deal with Warner Brothers Records in the '70s, they remained a cult band that toured constantly on the Northeast club circuit. The Rats were a great live band with exceptional musicianship. One listen to this show and that will become apparent.
As with the Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews Band and Jimmy Buffett, their fans would follow the group from gig to gig, sing along with every lyric and cheer them on each night. But The Good Rats were not an easy listen. The music is eclectic and slips in and out of different styles, tempos, and even keys. They never made the transition to mainstream crossover act, and the closest they saw to a hit was a few tracks that became FM radio faves in the Northeast. With songs like the creepy "Reason To Kill" and the jazz-flavored rocker, "Rat City In Blue" it's easy to see how the mainstream masses might have felt alienated from their music.
None of that seemed to matter when The Good Rats performed. The band had already built up a sizeable core audience when this show was one of five recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour during a run at New York's Bottom Line club in Manhattan. When listening to these recordings one thing will quickly become apparent: the audience loved this band and they loved their fans back equally. A Good Rats show wasn't a rock concert. It was a gathering of the tribes.
This concert captured in the heart of New York City is an excellent testament to the type of show The Good Rats presented for years in clubs up and down the East Coast.