For over three decades, John "Ratso" Gerardi has been an enduring presence and lively fixture on the Fairfield County music scene as both a performer (musician, singer/songwriter, producer, and bandleader) and teacher (founder of Lenox School of Music).
A virtuoso guitarist, Ratso has performed in New York City at The Bitter End, CBGB, LeBar Bat, Lone Star Cafe, Manny's Car Wash, The China Club, The Ritz, and Downtime, opening for Al Kooper, Eric Johnson, Jimmy Vivino, and Duke Robillard. In Connecticut, he has appeared on double bills with rock legend Rick Derringer at Daniel Street in Milford and Alice Cooper co-founder Dennis Dunaway and The Dennis Dunaway Project at Fairfield Theatre Company's Stage One.
Ratso made his professional debut at 11 years of age. At 14, he opened for the super group Rhinoceros and Junior Wells and the All-Stars. Self-taught his first 15 years, at 22 he began formal study with Jazz great Sal Salvador, his mentor for 25 years, then in the mid-1970s became a teacher himself. In 1996, he built Lenox Sound Recording Studio and launched it by producing the "Learn from a Master" series of month guitar clinics, featuring such industry legends as Matt �Guitar� Murphy, Robben Ford, Steve Khan, Scott Henderson, John Patitucci, and Harvey Brooks.
He has released four albums, which he also co-produced on his independent Riff Rat Records recording label, three of original music: Water Rising, Silent Witness, Whatever It Takes, and, most recently, Rattled, his first live record.
He is also the author of 1996 instructional book, The Blues Bible (Karamar Publishing), a primer on the art of playing blues guitar.
Dubbed by a local reporter as "a workingman's musical institution," Ratso remains true to the moniker, currently juggling teaching with recording two albums with two different bands as well as producing other artists, and, of course, the Sunday church gig.