People sure love their Rat stories! I shared a post on facebook about the Rat that my friend Kathy Lituri had shared on hers and the comments are super fun. If you have a favorite Rat story, please share!
By Erin Amar
The Rat Remembered: 8 True (and Terrifying) Stories from Boston’s Legendary Rock Club
The music, the vermin, the disturbing bathrooms – Rocker celebrates the filth and the fury of the seminal club!
From 1974 to 1997 Boston’s Rathskellar – aka “The Rat” – was a rock and roll institution. A launching pad for some of the most important new wave, punk, and alternative rockers if its day, it’s dank basement stage played host to The Pixies, The Ramones, The Atlantics, The Damned, Blondie, The Fall, Robyn Hitchcock, as well as local luminaries including Mission of Burma, The Lyres, ‘Til Tuesday, The Neighborhoods, and more. Although the storied Kenmore Square space closed 19 years ago, its legend lives on through the memories of patrons who encountered not just their rock and roll heroes, but also wild drunken debauchery, seemingly on a weekly basis, all in the name of a great night out.
The recollections below have been sourced from a variety of former employees, patrons, bouncers and musicians who lived to tell the tale. At this point, they may be all hearsay (disclaimer! don’t sue us!), but as they say on the X-Files: We want to believe.
Thanks again to the folks who contributed their memories to this list. Every nightclub has a great story, this just a taste of the Rat’s.
The Fleshtones were introduced by a homeless dude they found outside, and he led their parade onto the stage banging a garbage can. They bought him beers all night too! Great guys, I still follow them! – Tom Beaudet
There was the night the stage collapsed at a Human Sexual Response show, and the one where a giant rat that crawled out from under the stage at an Atlantics show,… Whenever we played there we got dressed in our cars so that we wouldn’t get cockroaches in our clothes. – Valentino Herrera
A customer decided to grab Kerry’s (an awesome waitress) boobs, and she knocked him out with one punch. She came over to me after, and asked me to throw him out when he came to.– Rick Bunker
Last night talking about Prince with my husband, and knowing what a huge fan of his he was, I asked Tom what is his favorite Prince song. He said there were too many and then shared a heartfelt story about the night his band (The Atlantics) opened for Prince at the Metro. It was for The Dirty Mind album tour and the year was 1981, Saint Patrick’s Day. He and his band mates were over the moon with excitement, but also scared to death. Not because of Prince’s growing star power, but because of the intense racial divisions prevailing in Boston at that time, which often manifested at rock concerts, with musicians getting caught in the crosshairs.
All worries were for nothing. To everyone’s joyful surprise, the audience, a sea of black faces and white faces in equal numbers, were all there to have a fantastic time, which they did. Tom especially recalls a group of young black women in the first row, dressed more for church than a rock concert, smiling and dancing to the Atlantics songs, and if you can believe this, they placed their purses on top of the stage, near his feet. (Can people even bring purses to concerts any longer??) Prince’s messages of love and tolerance are a powerful inspiration. That Saint Patrick’s Day night at the Metro opening for Prince is one of Tom’s favorite band memories.
On Tom’s facebook page is a great photo from that night, taken by the Metro’s house photographer Steven Stone, maybe a little too sexy in case young kids are scrolling through GMG, but you can check it out here at Thomas Hauck.
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GloucesterCast 127 With Guests Mike Costello, Kim Smith, Toby Pett and Host Joey Ciaramitaro
Topics Include: Shoutout To Earl and Arch for Our Intro Music, Lil Earls, Mike Costello, Kim Smith, Toby Pett, Gilligan, The Atlantics, Mike Costello’s Historic Retirement Party Speech When He Went Ballistic, Bruce Tobey, Waterfront Owners Harbor Planning Group, I4C2, Ramada Inn Project, Jeffrey Cohen, Fuller School, Cape Ann Symphony, Sam Park, Windover, Schooner Festival, Clam Festival, Waterfront Fest, Sidewalk Bazaar, Blackburn Industrial Park, Gortons, Regionalizing the Chamber of Commerce, Mike’s Perspective Of The Chamber Since His Retirement, Joey’s Perspective On the Importance Of The Chamber, Tax Classification, Snow Removal Downtown, Free Parking Tolls Downtown, Downtown Employees Taking Up Downtown Parking Spots, Would The YMCA Be A Great Spot For A Parking Garage?, New Downtown Group Doing Great Job Promoting Themselves, Toodeloos, TBT Post, Pop Gallery, Premier Imprints, Harbor Goods, Where Do You Stand On The Windmills?, Cell Phone Tower In West Gloucester, Solar Incentives, Caciattore’s To Open Doors Saturday at 4 PM Please Show Them Your Support!
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