Mike Smith: Lead Vocals
Mark McCarty: Lead Guitar
Brice McCarty: Rhythm Guitar
Harry Rosa: Drums
Never gonna happen…. How many times does a band hear this? Knowledgeable people in the business say it all the time about bands that sound too much like someone else, are too much this, too little that, are either too young or old, etc. Well Rat Rod are a tenacious lot that have never been the kind of band to take “no” for an answer. Rat Rod have been fortunate enough to play alongside east coast legends Starz, Angel, Bang Tango, Faster Pussycat and Tantric as well as many other nationally touring acts on different occasions in such places as the famed Trocadero Theater in Philadelphia, Pa.
RAT ROD is the father/son duo of Mark and Brice McCarty on lead and rhythm guitars respectively, Mike Smith on vocals, LJ on Bass. and Harry Rosa on drums. Formed in the fall of 2016 when a brokered meeting of 2 like-minded musicians, Mark McCarty and Mike Smith culminated in an extremely productive writing session.
The duo decided that what they needed to do is share with the world these first 9 songs plus a smoking cover of “Marseilles” by the Aussie group The Angels (aka Angel City in the United States). The completely self-produced ‘Do You Remember Rock and Roll’ debuted in 2017 as an initial effort consisting of only Mark providing all the instrumentation (no sequencers or drum machines) and Mike on vocals. To attempt to capture the sound of the era, the duo took a minimalist approach to production as if they themselves were at Albert Studios in Sydney in 1976. Suffice to say, these Philadelphia area musicians have a true love and respect for old-school rock and roll. But, rock-n-roll and R&B as passed through the conduit of Australian stalwarts AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, The Angels, Jet, and Airbourne. with a dose of GnR thrown in just for good measure.
Following the recording of ‘Do You Remember Rock and Roll’ the duo then proceeded to build the band with Brice initially on drums before migrating to rhythm guitar. LJ came in to play bass and Elliott Howard became the band’s young phenom drummer. The group played all throughout 2017 and 2018 in every music joint, concert hall, or strip mall in the Philadelphia metropolitan area that would have them. Three shows in two days was not unheard of for these guys.
Song ideas were once again built up by Mark and Mike and in the fall of 2018 the band began to arrange the next batch of eleven songs that would become the 2019 release ‘Light Em Up.’ Prior to the recording, Brice made a temporary exit to pursue his interest in the fire department, though he stayed around to assist in production. This opened the position for Delaware native Matt Flanigan who played rhythm guitar on ‘Light Em Up’ as well as appearing in the video for the album’s first single “Lightning Strikes.” The videos for the “Light Em Up” album have accumulated over 40,000 views combined on Facebook and YouTube, with the video for “Lone Wolf Rider” getting over 9000 views alone on YouTube.
In early 2020 Elliott left to pursue other interests. This created a spot for a longtime friend, former bandmate of Mark’s and former Starkweather (Candlelight Records) drummer, Harry Rosa who brings a new energy to the group. When Matt left the group in late 2020, Brice fell right back in where he left off.
Toward the end of 2020 with COVID being on everyone’s mind the boys did something some would consider unthinkable. They recorded a live album! Released in February of 2021 “Rat Rod Live” was a collection of their greatest hits to date and 2 brand new songs recorded at 2 of the hand full of shows they were able to perform in 2020.
Throughout later 2020 and all of 2021 the quintet kept working, playing where possible and writing new music while doing preproduction at the Rock-n-Roll bunker in Southern New Jersey where they’d recorded the previous two albums. In the fall of 2021, the group travelled to Studio E in Westminster, Maryland to record the basic tracks for fifteen new songs. Those were whittled down to become Four on the Floor, the band’s third studio album. To anyone into cars, Four on the Floor is obviously a reference to a 4-speed transmission but it’s also an homage to the strong pocket drum beat that their heroes often used.
Ten tracks comprise Four on the Floor, an album that starts out with the crowd favorite “Cars, Guitars, and Rock-n-Roll,” an up-tempo rocker and bit of a biography about Mark. “All or Nothing” is as the title suggests, giving it everything you got. “Call Down the Thunder” keeps the energy up and is actually the sequel to “Peacemaker (Ballad of Tombstone)” from ‘Light Em Up.’ “Hella Ride” is the debut single and is equal parts ode to a pretty girl and a life well lived in that mid-tempo “Alright Now” sort of vibe. “Motherload” gives the listener a chance for a breath as the slow blues beat lays a bed for Mike to growl the desire to have it all. The back 5 consist of “Speed of Light” “Not Your Fool” “Stole My Soul” “Resurrected” and the album closes with “Knock ‘Em Down.”
You will find in RAT ROD a band of individuals who pay homage to the music by staying true to the formula yet adding their own twist and sensibilities. If you are looking for soft, heartfelt ballads, look elsewhere because with titles like the opener of their debut, the fast boogie “Rat Like Me”, the crowd favorite “Ride It (Like Ya Stole It)’, and the upstart “Memphis Belle” you won’t find them here! The boys in RAT ROD have big plans and a strong work ethic so If you have an itch for rock and roll the way it’s meant to be, RAT ROD is the cure.