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The Songwriter Says Goodnight; Peppi Marchello of The Good Rats Has Passed Away (7/10/2013)

It’s with great sadness that I share with the readers the news about the passing of Peppi Marchello of the legendary Good Rats. He was 68 years old and it was a heart attack that took The Songwriter from us last night.

Peppi Marchello at B.B. King Blues Club (2013)
Peppi Marchello at B.B. King Blues Club (2013)

Since I was a latecomer to the music of The Good Rats I have to thank some friends who really liked them and made sure that I was able to get some exposure to the sound much later than their original heyday. My friend Rocky had a shop that was pretty much the only place you could find their CD’s, and I actually first saw Peppi and his sons do their version of The Good Rats at a local bar in Bay Ridge. Lucky for the fans of these classic tunes, the original band would reunite for shows at the B.B. King Blues Club and sell out each and every show. Speaking honestly about him, I could tell you that Peppi Marchello was a fantastic front man that kept you engaged throughout the show with casual audience conversation or a quick joke that made you feel as though you were watching an old friend dish out some tunes as opposed to being an iconic area music figure. For those who never had the chance to see the Rats, I should mention that Peppi was known for playing air guitar on a baseball bat and this same bat would later smash a garbage can which he used to store the rubber rats that had been brought along for the audience to catch (if they were lucky). The interesting thing about the Good Rats is the wealth of great material that so many people still have yet to discover. During their original touring time, they were the band that other groups aspired to be like. One such band is Twisted Sister but there are numerous others for sure. The Rolling Stone referred to them as “The world’s most famous unknown band” and it was not for lack of hard work and resolve. After any of their shows Peppi would never shy away from talking to his supporters and even at his age was performing about 100 gigs a year with his band.
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