Sons of Beloved Good Rats Founder Peppi Marchello Lead the Band into a New Era
By DONNA BALANCIA, East Coast Rocker
LONG ISLAND — The Good Rats’ founder and lead singer Peppi Marchello had thousands of fans who loved him like family. Now his sons Stefan and Gene Marchello are taking the helm. After a fantastic tribute concert in Peppi’s honor last week, East Coast Rocker Editor Donna Balancia caught up with Stefan, who is carrying on in his father’s name. Topics? New music, beer and a laundromat.
ECR: What are the plans for The Good Rats since the loss of your father?
SM: Well since the loss of my dad we have had an outpouring of love from Peppi’s fans. Our fans got behind a special Kickstarter project that helped us fund a book called PEPPI MARCHELLO The Songwriter.
The book will have pages of lyrics and great photo’s. Some pictures of Peppi rocking out and others of the family man he was. We will have videos, documentaries, audio books, and of course new music to look forward to.
My dad and I were working on the 34 new songs that he wrote. Best time of my fucking life!!! Lots of stuff we finished but lots more to complete.
In fact, we have the new CD coming out in late April or early May 2014 along with a video called Why The World Should Love The United States of America. If anything it wins the longest song title…It’s actually a patriotic rock song that anyone who loves America could appreciate. So we have lots of great stuff for the fans and I look forward to keeping my dad’s legacy alive.
ECR: How are you and your brother, Gene stepping up?
SM: Well like I said I’m out there playing. Also, as many shows as he can my brother Gene comes down and plays the guitar and sings songs as well. He’s out there doing his two bands he sings in. One band is a U2 tribute band called 2U and the other is a Journey tribute band is called Almost Journey. Of course he is amazing and I think both bands are the best tribute bands you will find. He will also be helping me finish some of Peppi’s new songs.
ECR: What are some of the goals for the band ?
SM: Short-term and long-term goals are pretty much the same. Gonna keep playing out as much as possible. Try and keep the die hard fans happy and make some new fans along the way. And of course finish up all the great songs and projects Peppi left for his fans.
ECR: What were among the most unique venues you’ve ever played?
SM: Well, a couple come to mind. One was when we played a laundromat in New Jersey. It was a friend who owned it and he wanted us to play. So,we went there and people were filling the washing machines with ice and beer. It was actually a cool idea and everyone had a great time.
Then there was The Prison Tour in Pennsylvania. We did like 23 prisons all in 30 days. There were lots of stories that came from this tour. Things like broken fingers, accusations of heroin use. Those are long stories… but a short simple one was when I saw my picture ripped down and the other guys in the band pictures were still hanging up. I was told that a prisoner thought I was cute and took it back to his cell to have his way with my pic. I guess I should be flattered. We did all men prisons except for one. Of course, those women really were happy to see us!!
ECR: What are the common threads that keep the Good Rats similar to the former incarnation of the band?
SM: Well, the biggest one is blood. I worshipped my father and his talent so I try to really bring that to the show. The guys that play along me are huge loyal Good Rats fans so they really learn the parts like it’s played on the album and they love performing the songs. Dan “The Man” Smiraglia is on keyboard and Michael A. Brenna is on drums.
ECR: When is the new album coming out?
SM: The new Good Rats album will be called AFTERLIFE. It will be out in late April early May 2014. It’s also available right now on itunes. ECR: Any venues outside of New York that you guys might play? SM: Right now we do New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. I’d love to play anywhere they’d let me stand.
ECR: What were unique features about Peppi’s music and what has he handed down to you?
SM: He was a perfectionist. I don’t think you can find one guy who played in this band — and there were lots of them — who didn’t become a better player for it. It was because of his perfectionist leadership skills they improved. So I will always remember his drive and approach on doing your best but always knowing you can always strive to improve.
When it comes to performing he once told me….The people came to forget about their problems. This is their getaway. Leave your own stress and problems at home and entertain their problems away…Simple, but for me insightful.