Mike Vallely - Vocals
Jason Hampton - Guitar
PT Pugh - Drums
Gish - Bass
* Reid Black now plays Bass
Fronted by punk poet and professional skateboarder
Mike Vallely, The Rats have been knocking down doors and turning
people onto their music at an accelerated pace. Coming off of tours
with bands like CKY, Death By Stereo and Millencolin as well as
playing with bands like Black Flag, Rancid, Rufio and Thrice people
are starting to take notice of The Rats and their no-nonsense, passionate
approach to their music.
Formed early in 2002 by guitarist Jason Hampton who’s
been in such Orange County defining acts as The Third Degree, Blackspot,
Outspoken and The Suppression Swing and drummer PT Pugh from The
Suppression Swing, The Rats were looking for a singer to help take
their music to more ears, enter Mike Vallely.
"With Mike in the band people are going
to have their opinions, good or bad about the band before seeing
us or hearing us. But there's nothing better than the feeling of
getting on stage and completely annihilating any preconceived opinions
or judgments about the band." - Jason Hampton
"All’s that I know is that for whatever
reason just before Christmas in 2001, Jason Hampton sent me a cassette
tape with three tracks on it. He asked me to listen to it and if
I liked it, consider singing for a new band he was forming. I played
the tape once, called him up and joined the band on the spot and
in January of 2002 we had our first practice." - Mike Vallely
Those first three tracks went on to be recorded and
produced by Fletcher from Pennywise in February 2001 and were included
as a limited edition CD insert "Rats First 3 Songs" in
Mike’s award winning and critically acclaimed skateboarding
film, "DRIVE" released in May 2002. Right around that
same time The Rats started playing live with shows in Southern California
and Vancouver, Canada before going into the studio again and recording
five tracks for their self-titled CDep and 7" vinyl release
on Indecision Records.
In the fall of 2002 just before their debut CD was
officially released The Rats joined The Deviates on the Home Invasion
Tour and played shows in Northern, Central and Southern California.
That tour was an important turning point for the band.
"Up until that point, we had only played
a few shows and although we had recorded a few times and practiced
our asses off we still didn’t feel like a real band. It was
that stretch of shows on the Home Invasion Tour where we really
came together and saw with our own eyes the impact our music can
make. It inspired us to play more, work harder and write more songs."
- Mike Vallely
After the Home Invasion Tour bassist Reid Black, who
formally played in the metal laced 1134 joined The Rats who had
been through two bass players before him (Brian and original Bass
player Gish). With their chemistry finally tight and their own original
and distinct sound and style emerging the band locked themselves
in their practice room and wrote several new songs before joining
CKY for a series of sold out Southern and Northern California dates.
Then it was back into the studio to record songs for
the soundtrack of Mike’s new video, "Greatest Hits"
and a song. "Dehumanized" for a Sessions Records compilation
out now entitled "sNOIsES, The Skateboarder Sessions."
"As much as we’ve been hungry to
play live we’ve also been just as hungry to record. It’s
taken us a few tries to capture the sound we’re looking for
and these new tracks for Sessions and for my new video are close
but still not quite there. I really want to hear on record what
I’m hearing in my head and what we’re delivering live."
- Mike Vallely
Throughout 2003 The Rats were back out on the road
playing more sold out dates in Southern California as well as in
Arizona, New Mexico and Vegas with bands like CKY, Death By Stereo,
Ten Foot Pole, Rufio and Millencolin. From there they went on to
support the legendary Greg Ginn as he gigged all over Southern California
and to do a mini-tour of Sweden playing with bands like Randy, Thrice
and Rancid. In September they opened for the legendary Black Flag
reunion show and toured southern and central California with Greg
Ginn and 1208.
The Rats are currently working on writing new songs
and will soon be self-releasing a CD compilation of all of their
non-Indecision Records recorded tracks from over the past two years
entitled, “Never Give In, Never Give Up.” Also, a live
DVD compilation is in the works and a U.S. Tour is being planned
for sometime in 2004. This band still has a long way to go and many
miles to put down but this is one group that is up to the challenge
and believes in the power, promise and passion of music.
"For me, I don't think it is so much a
sound, but more of a feeling we are trying to keep alive. I remember
when I was a kid and going to see punk bands, it felt totally different
than what we have going on today. When that band hit that first
note, it was like getting hit by a semi. We want people to have
that same feeling when they come to see Mike V and The Rats play.
We want it to feel like an explosion went off. Nonstop energy."
- Jason Hampton