Peppi Marchello, the founding singer and songwriter of Long Island-based rock band, The Good Rats—local legends that garnered a cult following since the 1960s—died on Wednesday, according to the band. He was 68.
Marchello was the last of the original members still active in the band that formed in ‘64, released their self-titled debut album five years later and rode a wave of commercial success to national tours in the ‘70s before breaking up in the ’80s.
“The world’s most famous unknown band,” as Rolling Stone magazine once called The Good Rats, continued to tour locally and record albums when Marchello later reformed the act with his sons, Stefan and Gene.
He released last year the band’s final album, Blue Collar Rats: The Lost Archives, a collection of unreleased tracks from the original lineup plus one new song, on the label he founded, Uncle Rat Records.
The Good Rats were inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2008 alongside other LI music stars such as Mariah Carey, Louis Armstrong and Public Enemy.
The band cancelled a show scheduled for Sunday on LI after Marchello’s passing. Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.