Influenced by the New York Dolls, the original Queens based quartet was formed by Rick Riveta (from New York Dolls). The Brats would become a glam-punk mid-seventies scar in the New York punk scene.
The band moved into the city, setting up shop in the SoHo and Village neighborhoods where they rehearsed and played shows. They headlined all over New York City and sold out CBGB’s, Max’s, and The Ritz along with Blondie, the Ramones, and Talking Heads. In addition to the New York Dolls, the band was influenced by the Kinks, the Yardbirds, and early Rolling Stones. Alice Cooper followed the band (possibly came up with the group’s name) and there are rumors that The Brats were such an influence on punk that the Ramones “Beat on the Brat” was a reference to The Brats. After 1973 the band went through many line-up changes.
Locally the band was a hit, even headlining several shows with special guest (opening band), Kiss. The Brats were part of the Max’s Kansas City 1976 live compilation. The Brats also released the singles “Be a Man” with “Qualude Queen” as B-side and “Keep Doing What You’re Doing” with “If You Can Rock You Can Roll” B-side. Despite a strong local following and strong influence on bands the band never got the national support deserved.
Listen to “Be a Man”, sure you can hear the New York Dolls influence, but there is something unique to the sound of The Brats. They played faster than the New York Dolls and heavier than the Ramones without losing the melody. Regardless of genre thrown into, The Brats played a great brand of rock and roll that represented the seventies, but also holds up today.
This past decade, The Brats have reunited and both old and new fans are excited for the future. Present day classic members include Keith West (vocals), Scott st. Clair Sheets (guitar), Joe Guido (bass), and Lon Rozelle (drums). Check out their music today!