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.
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.
The reunited Good Rats had only just done their annual show in March at B.B. King’s and while Peppi seemed to be the picture of health, he was apparently having some issues that required an open heart surgery in the beginning of June. Close sources to the band reported to me that he had been fine afterwards which was a very good thing to hear but I guess this was not the long term case as its only a month later and we lose him to a heart attack. The Long Island Music Scene will never be the same without him, but at least he got to enjoy being inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2008.
During that show three months ago I snagged a video of them doing the amazing song “The Songwriter”. It was closing the proper set before their encores. I apologize for the waivering but people were knocking into me and moving all around where I was. I felt it proper to share this one here in the memorial reflection. On behalf of my PiercingMetal site and its readership, I extend the deepest of condolences to the family, band members, friends and worldwide fans who are dealing with broken hearts right now.
In “The Songwriter” Peppi sang that “The Songwriter can make you laugh or cry” and right now there is only a whole lot of the second part going on. Goodnight Mr. Marchello. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you and share a joke and to enjoy your incredible tunes. You were truly one in a million and a New York legend that will never be forgotten. May you Rest in Peace.
Official Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Good_Rats