Larry "Fat Rat" Ratliff
I started playing slide trombone in 7th grade, but I switched to drums in high school because the trombone just wasn't 'cool'. Of course, I didn't have any actual drums at that time, so I got a pair of drum sticks, and proceeded to beat on pots, pans, furniture, brothers & sisters, and anything else that would make a sound. My grandmother later bought me my first set of real drums, and I proceeded to teach myself to play them by watching and listening to other drummers. Mel Taylor of The Ventures was always my biggest hero.

The first band I was ever in was called Bobbie Brown & The Fabulous Electrons. I travelled around Indiana with WISH Radio, featuring Bouncin' Bill Baker & Jim Shelton. I worked with various 60s Rock bands, and went into the Navy after high school. I participated in an on-ship combo, and really enjoyed it (because it got us out of a lot of work!).

After leaving the Navy, I came back to Indy and worked with various local bands. I ended up working at a club called Ike's Blue Room, performing as the backup band for national touring artists. One of those acts was Billie Jo Spears, who needed a new road band at the time, so away we went. After a couple of years on the road, I came back to Indiana and started working at a brand new place called The Little Nashville Opry in Brown County, and worked there as the staff drummer there for 4 years. I then moved to Nashville TN, and went back out on the road with various artists. During my time in Nashville, I was also involved in some recording sessions, and was even involved in "producing" some recordings. I came back in Indiana once again, and continued to work with various bands in various clubs. I also spent some more time on the road, touring the US, Canada, and even some overseas tours. But when I came back to Indiana this time, it was nearly impossible to earn a living playing music, so I've spent most of my time since then working with weekend bands in private clubs and lodges around town.

I then had the opportunity to join the re-united Last Stage West. We practiced for a few months, and made our debut at a picinic for our long-time friend Randy Sparks. Within a week of our big debut, I suffered a stroke, and the doctors said that my musical career was over. The guys hired another drummer, and after getting back on my feet I continued with them as the sound & light operator. But I was too bull-headed to give up the drums, so I started working with another little band when the Last Stage West wasn't performing, and finally got most of my chops back! I'm now back to playing drums with the band!

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