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Good Rats lead singer Peppi Marcello dead at 66

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Good Rats lead singer Peppi Marcello dead at 66

Old 07-12-13, 07:30 AM
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Good Rats lead singer Peppi Marcello dead at 66


Peppi Marchello, the vibrant lead singer for the beloved Long Island band the Good Rats, has died.

The vocalist, known for his powerful vibrato, died of a heart attack Wednesday at 9 p.m. He was 68.

Marchello had health issues for some time, requiring open heart surgery. But his family thought him to be on the mend.

Marchello helped form the band in 1964 under the name the U-Men. The fivesome came together as students at St. John’s University. They played their most formative shows in the Rockaways and on Long Island at clubs like The Attic and Tiger’s Tail. By '66, changed their name to the Good Rats.

The band released its first album, a self-titled work, in 1969. It featured the introductory piece “We Are the Good Rats,” as well as the punky “Joey Ferrari.” Soon the band became one of the most popular draws on Long Island. The group got its shot at a national breakout with 1974’s “Tasty,” which appeared on Warner Brothers Records.

The album remains the best known, with such radio-friendly tracks as “Injun Joe,” “Papa Papa,” and the title song. The music wove classic rock with elements of jazz and blues. The group opened for major bands around the country, including Aerosmith, Springsteen, The Allmans and Kiss. Future Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick spent some time as a Rat in the late '70s.

Showing their humor, the band’s signature live move involved tossing rubber rats into the crowd.

Though the Rats went through many personnel changes, Marchello fronted a version of the band for the remainder of his life.

The 2011 cult movie “Roadie” featured a scene where the main character pulls out a vinyl copy of the band’s album of the '70s, “Ratcity In Blue.” The soundtrack also features music from the band, and Marchello made a cameo appearance in the film.

While the Rats never made it big nationally, they were inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2008. They were once called by Rolling Stone “the world’s most famous unknown band.”

Marchello will be remembered for the resonance of his vocals, the huskiness of his tone and the individuality of his timbre.

In a statement released by the Marchello family, close friend Cliff Meth said of the singer, “Peppi’s life was about his family and his music. ... His love for songwriting and performing never diminished and he [continued] playing as many as 100 times each year until the very end. He was adored by his legion of fans who regard Peppi himself as an event they wanted to be part of. He will be dearly missed.”

Marchello’s son Stefan said in a separate statement, “My father was a blue collar rocker. His funeral will be open to his fans - that’s exactly what he would have wanted.”

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

Old 07-12-13, 06:29 PM
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Re: Good Rats lead singer Peppi Marcello dead at 66

Have all their 1970 CDs (from "Tasty" to "Great American Music"), and each one is just great. If I had to pick a favorite one, I guess it would "Birth Comes To Us All". In Peppi's honor, I'm going to do a marathon listening session tomorrow out on my back deck.

RIP Peppi, you brought me many, many enjoyable musical moments.

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