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Rats in The Attic


Peter's Cathedral is where Lennon and McCartney met for the first time and played, considered sacred grounds in music. Eleanor Rigby and Father McKenzie are buried in the cemetery there.

Rats in the Attic played together from 2000 to 2004. The band was a mix of Southern Rockers whose music was maximized by the renowned talents of the individual musicians. The members were guitarist/vocals Jimbo Thornton, keyboardist/ vocals Charles Shearer, drummer Rory Knapton, bass guitarist Jon Bonnette and Fred Westberry, sax and piano.

They performed with music icons including Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers. Raised on the blues, southern musical influences, and their love of Pink Floyd and the Beatles, resulted in the Rats upping the cutting edge for great Southern Rock to a new, high energy, sound.

Rats played The Cavern Club made famous by the four lads from Liverpool. The group was booked for two tours by club manager Alex McKetchnie. Knapton said, “For Alex to take days to help the band on both tours was a great honor. He has our love and deep appreciation; he worked tirelessly for the band. He managed and booked all of the talent for the Cavern. They normally ran six bands a day on two stages, the smaller hall where the Beatles would play and in the newer larger concert hall in the back.”

Live at the Cavern Club, Rats in the Attic was the band’s double CD recorded at the club. The CD is live, raw, and real. All of the songs are original except an 11 minute version of Mustang Sally and a 12 minute song by the Rolling Stones, Miss You. The bands originals have been re-recorded by numerous artists. With no over dubbing, mixed and mastered by Rodney Mills, of Skynyrd, the songs have been referenced by reviewers as "great epics of new rock music."

Rats in the Attic was held over for a record five days, a feat never accomplished before by an American band. They recorded the live CD on the fifth night of the gig. Liverpool musician and friend, Paul Kappa, later contacted Knapton to tell him the band was a part of the Cavern’s history even though Alex no longer managed it. According to Kappa, “The Cavern continues to play the Rats in the Attic photos, evidence of the monumental performance and historically binds you to people in Liverpool.” Rats in the Attic photos are still displayed in the hourly rotation on all The Cavern Club’s TV screens. Knapton still smiles about that, “Our photos are seen daily at the number one club in the world!”

The Rats also performed at another famous club, Thor Pub in Nice, France. Again, the band was held over. Each night when the club reached capacity, a line formed a long line. The waiting, music devotees stood in a block long line and five lines wide hoping to enter.

Thornton was recently inducted into the Georgia County Music Hall of Fame. Bonnette played with Travis Tritt for 11 years appearing often on Johnny Carson, Letterman, Jay Leno, Arsenio Hall, and others. He has seven Gold or Platinum LPs. Westberry played with Billy Joe Royal and other performers. Bonnette and Westberry are recently deceased. Charles Shearer won the American Idol international songwriter's contest sponsored by Ryan Secrest. Knapton produced and published a major contemporary Christian LP, No Language But a Cry, by David Teems. It was successful in 30 countries. His songs have appeared in thousands of churches worldwide. Knapton also won The Early Show, CBS National Battle of the Bands hosted by Julie Chen and Harry Smith.

The band and the songs are beloved by many. Sales continue, as do the great fan reviews Rats in the Attic, Live at The Cavern Club double CD delivers two hours of powerful music created one extraordinary night in a magical place.

Live at the Cavern

Rats in the Attic, Live at the Cavern CD cover

Rats in the Attic