Stefan Marchello (lead vocals, Guitar)
Dan Smiraglia (keyboards)
Mike White (Bass)
Joey DiBiase (Drums)
Rolling Stone magazine, the most respected Rock & Roll magazine, has labeled
The Good Rats as "the world's most famous unknown band." Rock stars like Kiss,
Jon Bon Jovi and Billy Joel, along with celebrities like Alec Baldwin,
Rosie O'Donnel and many others, are among the many fans of The Good Rats.
The band is extremely proud to have been inducted into the Long Island Music Hall
Of Fame along with Billy Joel, Kiss, The Ramones, Blue Oyster Cult, Pat Benetar,
Barbra Streisand, Mariah Carey and more. Multi-platinum recording artist
The Ramones and Public Enemy both paid tribute to The Good Rats
at the Hall of Fame induction.
The "Rats" have headlined and opened up for such great artist as Bruce Springsteen,
Aerosmith, The Ramones, Ozzy Osbourne, The Grateful Dead, Kiss, Journey and many
others during their career. They have performed at Madison Square Garden,
the Philadephia Spectrum, the Nassau Coliseum, the Hammersmith Odeon
in England, Holleder Stadium in Rochester, and many more.
Formed in 1964, the original group consisted of 5 students from St. John's
University...Ted Haenlein, Frank Stapleton, Eric Crane, Denny Ryan and Peppi
Marchello. The group was originally called the U-Men and played most of their
gigs in the Rockaways (Peyton Place & McNultys) &
Long Island (The Attic, Tiger's Tail etc.).
In 1966, Frank Stapleton's brother, John, arranged for the group to play at a club
in Queens, New York (The John Doe Room) where a record company executive heard
them and eventually signed the band, but suggested a name change was in order.
The band continued to play top 40 covers while working on their own original
music. During the latter part of the sixties, the composition of the band changed
by 1968, Eric, Frank and Ted (drafted and went to Vietnam, but did rejoin the group
from 1970-72) were gone, replaced by Peppi's brother, Mickey, and Crazy Artie (bass).
In 1969, the band released their first album, the self-titled The Good Rats. In 1972,
the lineup changed, with guitarist John “The Cat” Gatto, bass player Lenny Kotke
and drummer Joe Franco joining the Marchello brothers. The Good Rats continued to
build a following, playing Long Island’s thriving club scene, along with other
notable names such as Twisted Sister, Zebra, and Rat Race Choir.
In 1974, the Good Rats released their best-known and most popular album, Tasty.
It featured a blend of hard and progressive rock with subtle jazz influences,
highlighted by Marchello’s powerful and raspy vocals. Various songs from this record,
including “Injun Joe”, “Papa Poppa”, a rock ode about cults, the autobiographical
numbers “Back to My Music” and “The Songwriter”, and the jazzy title track,
received airplay around the country on FM radio.
During the following years, the Rats performed at venues such as Madison Square Garden,
The Philadelphia Spectrum, The Nassau Coliseum, The Hammersmith Odeon in England, and
New York’s Central Park, as well as showcase rooms such as The Bottom Line in Manhattan,
My Father’s Place in Roslyn, NY, Whiskey a Go Go in Los Angeles and The Paradise Room in Boston.
They headlined or opened for bands such as Rush, Journey, Kiss, Meat Loaf, Aerosmith,
Ozzy Osbourne, The Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, and Styx. Live shows were famous
for the band’s stage antics, as Peppi would play air guitar on his baseball bat, throw
rubber rats into the crowd, and beat the daylights out of a battered garbage can as he sang.
On a nationally syndicated radio interview, a member of the band Journey called them
"the greatest rock band in the world."
in Blue, From Rats to Riches, Birth Comes to Us All, and Live At Last, all of which
were well received by the band’s fan base, and received some airplay on FM
radio, without actually putting the band over the top.
In 1981, Gatto and Kotke left the band, and were replaced by future Kiss guitarist
Bruce Kulick and bass player Schuyler Deale, (who later played with Billy Joel and
Michael Bolton), for the album Great American Music. Shortly thereafter, the band broke up.
Throughout the 1980s, Peppi Marchello continued to write and produce recordings with his son
Gene. They toured locally for a while under the name "Popzarocca" until the song "First Love"
became a minor hit for the band (now renamed "Marchello"), with the music video receiving minor
airplay on MTV's "Headbanger's Ballroom". This band featured Gene on guitar and lead vocals and
also included drummer John Miceli (Meatloaf, Rainbow, "We Will Rock You").
The band recorded two albums (only one which was released).
In the mid-1990s, Marchello and sons Gene Marchello and Stefan Marchello began playing out
locally under “The Good Rats” name. They released three new studio CDs with this lineup,
Tasty Seconds (1996), Let's Have Another Beer (2000), and Play Dum (2002). Marchello also
released a live recording of a 1979 appearance on a Rochester radio show, Rats, The Way You Like ’Em.
In 1998, Marchello wrote "A Tale of Two Balls," the introduction to the book Conflicts of Disinterest
(Aardwolf Publishing) by sometimes controversial author Clifford Meth.
In the 2000s, the band continues to play in local venues throughout New York, Long Island, New Jersey
and Connecticut, as well as playing annually in their own summer weekend outdoor festival aptly named
"Ratstock". At one point, the "new" Good Rats (Peppi and his sons) performed as the opening act for a
reunion performance by the "old" Good Rats. Billed as "The Original Good Rats" Peppi was joined by
Mickey, Kotke, Franco, and Gatto on October 4, 2008 in a small venue on Long Island, and for a pair
of sold-out shows at B.B. King's in Manhattan.
In 2008, Gene Marchello left the band to go out on his own. Nevertheless, The Good Rats, featuring
Peppi and Stefan Marchello continued playing weekend club dates around Long Island.
They were inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
In July 2009, Peppi Marchello cut a series of three commercials for the car
donation organization Kars4Kids.org.
In 2011, Magnolia Pictures release Roadie, the character Nikki pulls out Ratcity in Blue from
Jimmy's vinyl record collection and they listen to a couple of tracks starting with Advertisement
in the Voice. This brings back memories of them seeing the band every Saturday night with their
friend Steph when they were in high school. Peppi Marchello makes a cameo appearance in the film.
In 2012, Peppi Marchello released a new Good Rats album, Blue Collar Rats: The Lost Archives on
his Uncle Rat Music label. The CD contained one new song plus 19 previously unreleased songs
recorded between 1975 and 1984, some featuring the original Good Rats line-up, and others
including Kulick, Deale, Gene Marchello and various other musicians. Peppi continued to write 34
new songs in a short amount of time after the Blue Collar Rats release.. It was Stefan Marchello
and Peppi collaborating on these songs in the studio. Peppi and Stefan would continue to
play out till the summer of 2013 when peppi had to undergo heart surgery.
On July 10th, 2013, the rock & roll world lost one of its great unsung heroes--the founder,
leader and frontman of THE GOOD RATS, the group Rolling Stone Magazine called "the world's
greatest unknown band." Peppi Marchello may not have received the international notoriety that
fans, critics and fellow musicians believed he'd achieve, but his legion of dedicated fans regard
him as one of the finest vocalists, performers, and songwriters of his generation.
On April 5, 2014, Stefan and Gene Marchello stepped into the shoes of their father for
one last emotional performance with "the boys". The "last reunion", which took place at
the legendary BB Kings Blues Club in New York City, was one of the bands most memorable
performances. Every fan, friend and family member was there to celebrate the life of Peppi
and his music through the voices of his sons. You could feel his smile shining down as the
band put their heart, soul and tears into his songs one last time.
The band now continues with Stefan Marchello. Stefan Played with Peppi for 23 years.
11 and a half years on drums and 11 and a half on bass. Peppi said Stefan is an
invaluable advisor and project coordinator. You can hear Stefan perform alongside Dan Smiraglia (keyboards).