The Rat Opera Returns With All-Star Cast

​What can be written about Miami music legend Rat Bastard that hasn't already been typed? Not much. Perhaps that's why musicians Rob Elba and Brian Franklin orchestrated the music and lyrics to the Hearing Damage: Songs Inspired By the Life and Noise of Rat Bastard (AKA Rat Opera), which honors our local King of Noise. 

About ten years ago, Franklin thought to create this masterpiece. Elba, of the mostly retired punk band Holy Terrors, says with love of his co-writer, "I would never be in a band with Brian." They're good pals, but play different genres. Rat recorded Franklin when he first moved to Miami and they became friends. "He's all about noise, but he's friends with singer/songwriters, and he's recorded just about all of them at one time," Elba says. 

Elba's known Rat for about thirty years. Back then, he was just known as Frank Falestra. He was already recording bands and was "a colorful figure," even then. "Rat dances to his own tune" Elba said, "the more you learn about him, you just know he's a really interesting guy. He's busier than anyone I know, even though he's older than all of us. He's always the last guy out." 

This particular September 24 performance will be a little different from the other four Rat Operas. This time, it's an The All Star Rat Opera featuring local singers who will join the Rat Opera Band to bring their special talents to the stage. 

Rat has tons of fans and followers who haven't forgotten the support he's shown them. "Anyone I asked to be in it, everyone wanted to do it. Everyone loves Rat. He's a good guy and a good promoter of the scene in general." He's a champion of everyone, Elba adds, "Even people he doesn't think are good, he'll be nice to." 

The Rat Opera is not necessarily all noise, it's a rock 'n' roll musical about Rat, about parts of his life. Besides teaching people about Rat Bastard, it will showcase of some of Miami's greatest performers over the last 20 years. When we asked if Rat likes the opera, Elba said, "He likes it. He's come to every performance. It's really an homage to him and what he's done. He's a one in a million kind of guy. He's got a unique way about him and there's no one else I've ever met like him." 

The band includes Fritz Dorigo, Rob Elba, Brian Franklin, Russell Mofsky, Andre Serafini. Singers joining in the noise include Xela Zaid, Jim Camacho, Ferny Coipel
Amanda Green, Mr. Entertainment, Henk Milne, Diane Ward, Charlie Pickett, Amy Baxter, Rene Alvarez, Mark Dubin, Jackie Ransom, Sharlyn Evertsz, Carey Peak, and more. There'll be performances by Los Diablos and Shaved Hamster and music by DJ Skidmark. 

Admission is only $5 at Churchill's Pub (5501 NE 2 Ave., Miami) on Saturday, September 24.
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Liz has her master’s degree in religion from Florida State University. She has since written for publications and outlets such as Miami New Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Ocean Drive, the Huffington Post, NBC Miami, Time Out Miami, Insomniac, the Daily Dot, and the Atlantic. Liz spent three years as New Times Broward-Palm Beach’s music editor, was the weekend news editor at Inverse, and is currently the managing editor at Tom Tom Magazine.
Contact: Liz Tracy