Ratskyn celebrates 40 years with anniversary gig

Members of Ratskyn hanging out with KISS tribute band Black Diamond at now-closed club TABU. (1999)

Cayman’s favourite rock band – Ratskyn – is celebrating its ruby anniversary this year.

Those three young men who started out with fluff on their upper lips and a dream in their hearts have endured for longer than many bands, local and international, although catching them playing a gig these days is akin to spying a unicorn.

The original Ratskyn group of Mark McTaggart, David ‘Big D’ Arch and Dwight Merren are getting together for a rare performance at Havana Club in Caribbean Plaza this Friday night with special guest artists, including former lead singer Zachary Averill.

The trio started as most fledgling rock bands did back in the day: in one of the member’s houses. In this case, it was drummer Mark McTaggart’s house.

“The first time we got together to jam was in my bedroom in my house on Crewe Road,” McTaggart recalls. “Dwight and Big D brought their guitars and I had my big drum set. I think the first song we played was by The Ramones and it was around Sept. 1979.”

It would be more than a year before they got their first paying gig, opening for Lenny Lloyd and the Diamonds at Galleon Beach in 1981.

From there, the group established themselves on the local scene, particularly because they leaned towards rock music, rather than the soca and reggae tunes that other bands favoured.

Notable highlight gigs over the years include when they opened for REO Speedwagon at the Lions Centre in 1993, and when they were joined on stage by members of Motley Crue and Bon Jovi at long-gone Islander Nightclub where they were the house band.

From left, Zachary Averill, Mark McTaggart, Dwight Merren and David Arch. (2007)

Many fans will remember legendary performances at Bed Restaurant and Lounge and Legendz in Cayman Falls, when they packed the house at their weekly gig.

The group has welcomed talented lead singers to join them over the years including Tony Allenbrand, Zach Averill, Murray Spelay and Patrick Johnson, all with a love of the kind of music that floats Ratskyn’s boat.

This could be the last chance to see the band for a while, so all fans should head to Havana Club this Friday night for some great rock music played by the guys who know how.

Havana Club is in Caribbean Plaza on West Bay Road. Ratskyn plays from 9pm to midnight. No cover charge.

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