Menu | Guest Book

A Brief History of RATs:

Not to be confused with the late 50s rockabilly act of the same name, Cabbagetown's The Rock*A*Teens (RATs, for short) formed in the mid 1990s as a super group of sorts, with members from numerous well known (and not so well known) Atlanta, GA bands: Chris Lopez on vocals and guitar (formerly of Dirt and The Opal Foxx Quartet), Justin Hughes on guitar (formerly of Dairy Queen Empire), Kelly Hogan on guitar (formerly of The Jody Grind), and Chris Verene (also formerly of Dairy Queen Empire). In the beginning, their big selling point was the instrumentation: drums and 3 guitars (with no bass), and their first, self-titled album gained heaps of critical praise for this unusual, reverb-heavy sound.

After their second album, Cry, was released in 1997, founding guitarist Kelly Hogan moved to Chicago. At that point, the RATs ended up replacing her with bassist William Brandon (since that time, the RATs have not been bass-less, no matter what your local alterna-press weekly tells you). Around the same time, the original drummer also left the band, leaving The Rock*A*Teens looking for a permanent drummer. However, all these lineup changes didn't really effect the sound. If anything, it would seem that music becomes more focused and orchestral as their vision starts to click.

Such was the state of affairs for 1998's Baby A Little Rain Must Fall, their first release for Merge Records. After recording this album (but before releasing it), the RATs finally added a new drummer, Ballard Lesemann. This lineup toured and solidified and ended up recording their fourth album: Golden Time. After that release, Brandon left the band but was replaced by another bassist, Will Joiner. More importantly for the sound, however, they've added keyboards, which showed up in their 2000 release, Sweet Bird Of Youth.

So there you go - a brief history of the personnel changes from The Rock*A*Teens. Overall, the sound of The Rock*A*Teens hasn't changed that much since their beginnings. Instead the song writing has gotten a little broader as they've gained a mastery over the Wall of Sound reverb effects.

Who's In RATs
Current Members:
  Chris Lopez: vocals, guitar
Justin Hughes: guitar, vocals
Ballard Lesemann: drums
Will Joiner: bass, vocals
Past Members:
  William Brandon: bass (up to 1998)
Chris Verene: drums (up to 1997)
Kelly Hogan: guitar (up to 1997)
To Learn More About RATs
Artist Page:
Label Page:
Fan Page:
  EvilSponge is as close as you are going to find. Here are links to some reviews we have about The Rock*A*Teens:
Album: Sweet Bird Of Youth
   Saturday.20.May.2000 at The Star Bar
   Saturday.17.June.2000 at the CMJ Change Music Festival, 2000
   Saturday.7.October.2000 at The Earl (album release party for Sweet Bird Of Youth
MP3 page:
      Continue to the RATs Evaluated Discography.  


Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Band Review menu.