Tag Archives: joe franco

Good Rats @ B.B. King Blues Club (4/16/2010)

The Good Rats were back in NYC and doing another one of their reunion shows.  I caught them doing this last year and it was a very good time so I was not going to miss the chance to enjoy it once again.   If memory serves me, back in 2009 there were two shows being held and they were on different nights but this evening one would follow the other.  The early show held the most appeal for me so that is the one we are reporting on and you can enjoy the scoop about the whole show by scrolling on down below.

Logo - Good Rats

Artist: The Good Rats
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New Yotk, NY)
Opener: n/a
Date: 4/16/2010
Label: Uncle Rat Music

While March had really blown the doors off for the Metal community, I had to say that in looking at the shows hitting us in April that the month was off to a pretty respectable start itself. So far it had been focused on the Rock and Roll side of the fence and given us some great memories to carry across the span of the whole year in terms of the music that it was delivering to the fans. This Good Rats performance at the venerated B.B. King Blues Club seemed to be the perfect treat for those that managed to get their taxes done and gone, and for those who chose to up their entertainment ante a little bit there would be not only one, but two performances this evening for them to enjoy. Last week we had the American Led Zeppelin guys of Cactus out and about at this same space and they really gave us a heavy dose of Blues laden Hard Rock to chew on all week. Tonight was more about the Classic Rock side of things as the “Greatest Band You Never Heard Of In Your Life” was reunited once again and prepared to dish out some really incredible tunes. Here is how the event went down should you have been one of the folks that missed out on the fun.
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The Good Rats @ B.B. King Blues Club (4/25/2009)

Logo - Good Rats

Artist: The Good Rats
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: n/a
Date: 4/25/2009
Label: Independent Artist

If you are a fan of the Heavy Metal genre then I am rather certain that by now you are very well aware of the band Anvil a little bit more nowadays based on a movie that was done about their consistent struggle at fame and fortune in the music industry game. The film shed some serious light on just how hard this business is and showed that not everyone manages to find the success that they so richly seem to deserve. With that being said, what about those bands that have been at their craft for many years longer and didn’t have the luxury of a movie to help them snare some of that long overdue attention. One such band is the New York based Good Rats who were formed in 1964 and were one of those Long Island club circuit bands that played out over and over and based on their ardent support base would find almost every gig that was done being sold out with no room to breathe in the venue. The band’s most popular lineup consisted of lead singer Peppi Marchello and his brother Mickey (guitarist) along with John “The Cat” Gatto (guitar), Lenny Kotke (bass) and Joe Franco (drums) who together released a number of Hard Rocking and melodic albums. Despite the bands devoted fan base, the stratospheric heights that some bands manage to attain somehow eluded the Rats but I guess in the Rock and Roll world there are more stories like this than there are not and that is what made a night like tonight rather special because it would find the classic lineup of the band reunited and performing for the second of two sold out nights at Times Squares popular venue B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. Having been from the generation that came after this bands heyday I was glad to be a part of the fun tonight since I had long been enjoying the music of the group on such great CD’s as “Tasty” and “Ratcity In Blue”. For those who might be in the unaware, the music of the Good Rats was at times very hard rocking and always very melodic with some cool backing vocals and hooks.
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“Oculus Infernum” (remaster) by Van Helsing’s Curse

Artist: Van Helsing’s Curse
Title: “Oculus Infernum” (remaster)
Label: Fangoria Musick
Release Date:
Genre: Symphonic Horror Rock
Rating: 4/5

I reviewed the initial release of Van Helsing’s Curse as one of my very first reviews several years ago and now that it has been re-issued on Fangoria Musick I felt that it was high time to revisit some of these thoughts. Read on Fiends and Fans of things that go bump in the night a dark and sinister adventure awaits you.

It was during the Halloween season of 2003 that we first saw the arrival of Van Helsing’s Curse join up to the world of Symphonic Power Rock and to understand them best you should think of The Trans-Siberian Orchestra with a devilishly devious Halloween twist. Because while the TSO brings you the spirit of Christmas and goodwill so do the members of the VHC make you aware that there is something out there, that you weren’t imagining the noise you heard in the middle of the night and that sometimes being afraid of the dark is the best idea you ever had. With all of the Christmas Carols that are available by the pound it was high time for the Feast Of Samhain to get its due and have a soundtrack of it’s own to help the ghouls and boys celebrate the day. The group has made it their business to address in Symphonic Rock fashion the long overlooked Halloween Season and while we have music like Alice Cooper, The Misfits and Wednesday 13 each delivering a spooky show it is clear that Van Helsing’s Curse will take us on a different journey altogether. The enterprise is the brainchild of Dee Snider (Twisted Sister’s notable front man) and Joe Franco (drummer for Twisted Sister, Widowmaker and the Good Rats) who together set out to do this holiday right. The pair are also joined by guitarist Al Pitrelli (Savatage, Megadeth, TSO) and violinist Mark Wood (TSO) who each help bring this material to life, or dare I say “back to life”, with their contributions.
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“Axes 2 Axes” by Eddie Ojeda

Artist: Eddie Ojeda
Title: “Axes 2 Axes”
Label: Black Lotus Records
Release Date: 11/3/2005
Genre: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Rating: 5.5/10

Twisted Sister’s well-known axe man Eddie Ojeda has signed to Black Lotus Records and given us his very first solo recording. As a long time fan of his work with Twisted Sister I was interested in seeing what the end result would be on a solo effort that was for a change completely under his direction and control. Eddie performs a large amount of the lead vocals and his band is made up of Joe Franco (drums, who also played in Twisted Sister for an album and was a member of Dee Sniders Widowmaker) and Chris McCarvill on bass guitar. As I listened to the whole CD I felt myself wanting for something a little better and felt a tad disappointed in it more than I was put over the top. Eddie does not have a bad voice but I felt it would have been better to have someone else perform the vocals on the release who really could stand out and help him hold a great solo performer identity. He did have help from such vocal powerhouses as Ronnie James Dio, Dee Snider and Joe Lynn Turner but the Dio song seemed like Ron was just going through the motions on “Tonight”. Dee’s contribution is a very Twisted Sister-esque version of the Beatles classic Eleanor Rigby and I thought this was just terrible. Perhaps if it was featured on a Twisted album I could have looked at it differently but in this context it was awful. Joe Lynn Turner’s assistance on “Living Free” is not bad but I would have liked to hear the pipes that he possesses in an effort to kick the album up a little more. Eddie’s voice did manage to shine on “The Reason”. This power ballad worked for him since the vocals are in a lower register and did not push him to a point he could not attain. He also did pretty well on “Love Power” which is an overall throwback to a 70’s kind of groove. “Please Remember” was ok but that reminded me a lot of Sister in its main riffing.
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“Oculus Infernum” by Van Helsing’s Curse

Artist: Van Helsing’s Curse
Title: “Oculus Infernum”
Label: Koch Records
Release Date: 10/7/2003
Genre: Holiday Rock
Rating: 8/10

Halloween 2003 saw the coming of Van Helsing’s Curse to the world of symphonic power rock (I will refer to them as “VHC” for the remainder of this writing. The best way to describe The VHC, is to think of them as a Halloween version of The Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO for short). Most of you are probably aware of or have heard of the TSO by now, this is a group that covers the Christmas Season (and does it amazingly well I might add).

The VHC have made it the time to address the long overdue Halloween Season. Granted, we have Alice Cooper, Misfits and other great performers that have a spookified theme to the shows, this however takes us on a different journey altogether. VHC is the brainchild of Dee Snider (Twisted Sister’s frontman) and Joe Franco (who many people will remember as Twisted Sister’s drummer for the “Love Is For Suckers” album as well as Widowmaker and the Good Rats if I can pull a reference from way back in time). Joining VHC is Mark Wood who also plays live with the TSO on lead violin. He is amazing, and does this group credit.
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