Before there was KISS, before there were The Ramones and Blondie, there was The Brats. The Brats and The New York Dolls were at the forefront of the NYC music scene of the Seventies.
Brat, Rick Rivets, actually quit The Dolls to form The Brats. The Brats would become the biggest draw in NYC from 1972 to 1981 and every band hoped to open for them for the exposure. Just ask any one of the members of KISS or The Ramones (“Beat on The Brat!”) or any other NYC band for that matter, The Brats were a big influence on them and the whole NYC music scene of the Seventies. Their story begins one night while hanging out with Alice Cooper downstairs at Max’s, Keith West and the boys were giving the waitress a hard time. Alice leaned over and said “You guys are a bunch of Brats” and they took him literally. Early on, The Brats rehearsed in a loft on Bleecker Street, where they would stage their infamous loft parties, often with an then unsigned band, KISS, as their opening act. They headlined all over the New York City area with other up and coming bands like Blondie, The Ramones, Television, Talking Heads and The Heartbreakers. They would often be featured in Rock Scene Magazine, which gave them international exposure and helped to sell out shows at places like Max’s, CBGB’s, Gildersleeves, and The Ritz. The Brats released two singles on their own label, Whiplash Records. Both “Be a Man” (w/B side”Qualude Queen”) and “Keep Doing What You’re Doing” (w/B side, “If You Can Rock You Can Roll”) were released in the Seventies and are now highly sought after by record collectors all over the world. In 1976 they were asked to record their song, “First Rock Star on the Moon”, for Max’s Kansas City’s second compilation album of NYC artists. Frustration with not getting the recognition they deserved was eventually the cause for the band to breakup. Ron Blanchard left to form the band, the Roost, and Scott st.Clair Sheets left to join the Pat Benatar Band. It was here that Scott would have success as a songwriter, penning the songs “Prisoner of Love” and “Fire and Ice”, which went on to be a top 10 hit and won a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for Benatar. Joe “TV” Guido and Keith continued The Brats with the help of Sammy Merendino (Cyndi Lauper) on drums and Tony Guarino (a former Brat) on guitar. Tony was later replaced by Brendan O’Brien, who went on to become a sought after producer working with the likes of Pearl Jam, Bruce Springstein, AC/DC, and many other top rock acts. The Brats finally disbanded in 1987 after briefly changing their name to “The Secrets”.