RIP – Gary Duncan – Formerly of the Ratz

Rip Gary Duncan
We lost a legendary performer last month. Finding fame globally as one of the founding members of Quicksilver Messenger Service, with amazing hits like Fresh Air, Gary Duncan, formerly Gary Grubb from Ceres started his music career in the local band The Ratz, and they made quite a name around and across the region. They opened for Sonny & Cher at the Circle Star Theatre, Chad and Jeremy at the War Memorial in Sacramento, the Byrds and the Rolling Stones in San Jose, and as a band, all went to see the Beatles at the Cow Palace. then in 1965 after a quick stint in The Brogues, formed Quicksilver. Their performances at Monterey Pop were quite electric and they helped define the bay area sound and their album Happy Trails is # 185 on Rolling Stone’s greatest albums of all time. Gary performed and toured in and out of Quicksilver until his passing at the age of 72.

Ray Rector one of the original Ratz, remembers “Gary was a truly amazing musician who was always destined for stardom. I was so fortunate to have been part of this music and experience” The Ratz were a concert group, as opposed to a dance group, beginning at Riverbank High. He remembers after opening for Sonny and Cher, being in the hotel dining room and Sonny and Cher joining them fro breakfast. Another time, they were all in San Francisco for a gig and they all went down to see the Beatles at the Cow Palace.

The suits the Ratz wore in the picture featured here were from a local tailor, Goldberg’s on Roseburg and Ray Rector’s mom made the lace ascots. Another Ratz memory was finishing their show, opening for the Rolling Stones, when the rhythm guitar amps went out and they finished the show with just vocal, drums and bass.

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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.