By September 21, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

BigView-Ratz Runion

The BigView
The Ratz Redux! By Suzanne Autry and Kate Trompetter

Sept 21, 5:00 pm  The event is at 1425 Church Street, Modesto… Just South of Parker Rd

Modesto and the Stanislaus County area produced great live music through the 1940’s and ‘50’s, including early country acts like The Maddox Brothers and Sister Rose and R&B bands such as The Merced Blue Notes. By 1964, the British musical invasion spearheaded by the Beatles altered the musical landscape locally as well as nationally. The Ratz were one of the premier Modesto area bands of the mid-1960’s, drawing big crowds by performing incendiary covers of songs by the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and the Kinks, mixed with American rock and R&B standards. Distinctively attired in their trademark two-tone bell bottoms and velour shirts, The Ratz regularly whipped crowds into a frenzy with their trade-marked versions of “Under My Thumb”, “I Ain’t No Miracle Worker”, “G.L.O.R.I.A”, “Scene of the Crime”, and “I’m Alright”. They played every venue in the Modesto area, notably the California Ballroom and the Purple Turnip, plus gigs in Monterey, Santa Cruz at the Cocoanut Grove, Lake Tahoe, and the Bay Area, including the Longshoreman’s Hall in San Francisco, home of Ken Kesey’s Acid Tests. On one memorable occasion, The Ratz opened for Van Morrison and Them at the old Strand Theater on 10th Street. Though there were several changes in personnel early, the core of the band at the height of its popularity from 1965 through 1967 consisted of Ray Rector on drums, Daniel Johnson on keyboards and vocals, Patrick Durr on guitar and vocals, Rick Edmond on bass.

On September 21, 2013 The Ratz, along with local bands The Wrongdoers and Home Grown, will come together again for the first time in 46 years to support a fundraiser for The George Rogers Neighborhood Park. The George Rogers Neighborhood Park Committee will use the funds raised to continue to provide support and activities in Modesto’s Airport Neighborhood. Additionally, they will use some of the funds raised to provide scholarships for Orville Wright Grads, now graduating from high school and moving on to college. The park, named for Orville Wright teacher, local musician and poet, George Rogers, serves as a gathering place for people living in the neighborhood and also a memorial for the man it’s named for. When George Rogers died on September 1, 2004, he’d been teaching at Orville Wright Elementary school in the Airport Neighborhood for over 30 years. He was also a dedicated father and son, a loyal friend and talented poet and musician. This fundraising event on September 21st serves as a tribute to the many things that were important to George and also as a chance for a community to remember the man that was so important to them.

On remembering George Rogers, Patrick Durr (band member of The Ratz and Home Grown) says, “ I vividly recall performing at the Vintage Restaurant in the mid-1970s; Home Grown would be singing a tight three-part harmony, and out of the audience would come this high pitched fourth part; accurate, sweet, and blending perfectly with our vocals. Of course, it was George Rogers, having fun and loving music.”

The Ratz are especially excited for the chance to support the George Rogers Park by coming together to play again. Over the past 46 years, all four members have maintained their interest in music while pursuing various “day jobs”. Ray Rector, the first local musician to have truly long hair, works in telecommunications locally and has a Southern roots rock band called ZOOM (Zydeco On Our Mind). Daniel Johnson is a local Renaissance Man, a philosopher and independent entrepreneur; he has never stopped writing songs, music, poems, and reflections. He has released recordings of some of his music, including a CD entitled UC Berkeley Cool. Patrick Durr has been an outstanding teacher at Modesto High School, his alma mater, for many years as well as fronting local favorites Home Grown. Home Grown has released several recordings throughout their long career and are also performing on September 21st. Rick Edmond has worked at Gallo Winery while building an impressive collection of guitars and recordings in his music room. The Ratz reunion show on September 21st promises to bring back the excitement of those many appearances forty plus years ago as they revive their old set lists and add some original songs especially written for the occasion. Early reports are that rehearsals have gone well, and that little has changed since 1966 but the bell bottoms and the hairlines!

If you’d like to purchase a T-shirt, send an email to RatzRule4@gmail.com and they will send you the PayPal link. If you prefer another payment option, let them know in the email.

Here’s a link to a short promo video created by Wes Page.

https://www.facebook.com/ken.white.7106/posts/1406215049595040

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