White Boy and the Average Rat Band, the dynamic power-trio rock band founded by Mike Matney, recently dropped their new single and video, "Holy Cow", and within the last year have garnered over 32,000 YouTube views and 8,000 Facebook likes. Two years in the making, the song came to life during the heart of the pandemic and the nation’s social and political unrest. The message of the song and the content of the band’s video faces these issues artistically head-on while highlighting spirituality. Plans for a 2022 summer/fall tour include festivals and venues in the Southeast.
They have been featured in PowerPlay Magazine out of the UK, Scream Magazine out of Norway, Breakout magazine out of Germany and throughout Europe, as well as countless publications including The Acid Archives in the U.S. Recently they have been on the Chubb Show, RETV, and The Crowd. Baltimore’s RNR TV aired the video in the 2nd half of March through the 1st 2 weeks of April, 2022. OKTV in Germany will be airing the video to over 4 million homes in the southern and western regions of the country.
The name leaves many bewildered. But to those who are in the know, their name is one of the best-kept secrets in the American rock n’ roll underground. They are a band whose appeal spans from classic and southern rock to punk and heavy metal. Their sound is unique yet comfortably familiar- this is the enigma that is White Boy and the Average Rat Band.
In 2018, White Boy and the Average Rat Band took full advantage of the recent hype. The reissue of the debut album and their live shows have received much positive critical press and their audience only continues to grow. Through 2018 and 2019, the band played two national tours, released their EP, “Love My Ride”, but then due to the pandemic, had to cancel their biggest tour to date. In 2022, the band released their music video Holy Cow, and are planning on touring the Southeast this year.
White Boy and the Average Rat Band was formed in the unlikely small mountain town of Richlands, Virginia in late 1979 by guitarist and songwriter Michael Matney. Fresh out of high school in 1979, Matney would venture over the mountain to neighboring Tennessee to try his luck in the music Mecca of Nashville. There Matney would join Kriss Famous’ longtime established local act “Tabu”, replacing Ron Keel as lead guitarist. It was in this arrangement that Matney would be christened with the name “White Boy”.
His time with “Tabu” and in Nashville would be brief before returning back to Virginia. Once back home, Matney would take a job with a local record store and recording studio owner who would grant him recording time in exchange for employment. There Matney would helm his own project deemed White Boy and the Average Rat Band; writing, composing and producing the self-titled debut. On the project, Matney played all the instruments, in exception to the two separate drummers used to complete the album. Musicians were then assembled in order to represent a band on the album and in live performances.
In 1980 the White Boy and the Average Rat Band self-titled debut album would be released in a limited number of 300 copies, of which 50 would be lost. They would see very limited distribution, which only added to the curiosity the album would become. The band in the early 1980’s would have a short lifespan that would well be surpassed by their reputation on into the next couple of decades.
Matney would then go on to other projects, such as a live guitarist sitting in with Dr. Hook and as a touring guitarist with David Allen Coe. During which time, unannounced to Matney, White Boy and the Average Rat Band’s name was gaining somewhat of a cult status amongst record collectors around the globe seeking private press releases and on-the-fringes type rock bands. As the records continued to circulate through the hands of these collectors, the album began to become more and more difficult to find, as well as fetching prices in the high hundreds of dollars.
In 2010 a bootleg pressing of the band’s album would begin to circulate. This unofficial release would be a response to the high demand of people seeking the record. Although it was unknown to the band at the time and obviously done without permission, the bootleg only helped to grow the band’s cult status even greater.
Throughout the 2000s Matney would begin playing several shows on the southern rock circuit. Playing festivals with classic acts such as Blackfoot and Black Oak Arkansas. This lineup would play under the name “MATNEY” and featured second WHITE BOY AND THE AVERAGE RAT BAND drummer Jerry Hogeston. On January 26th, 2012 the band played their first show at the world famous Whiskey-A-G- Go, in Los Angeles, California now once again under their original moniker White Boy and the Average Rat Band.
On July 27th, 2016 Matney was contacted out of the blue by Heaven and Hell Records CEO Jeremy Golden with an offer to re-master and re-issue the extremely rare and highly sought after 1980 White Boy and the Average Rat Band debut in a limited CD and vinyl release. That same day a deal was made and the project was underway.
The project was announced and as the press releases began to go out to the music media a buzz began to grow louder and louder, both renewing and creating new interest in the band. This would also shed some light on a band that was once shrouded in a bit of mystery for decades. And with it too, the band would discover that their music was still finding new audiences due to their songs being used as radio show intros and in things such as a skateboarding DVD released by Boston skateboard company Fancy Lad.
In November of 2017, the much anticipated White Boy and the Average Rat Band debut reissue on CD was released and met with an overwhelming response. In January of 2018 a vinyl version would be released, half of the pressing selling out within a couple of weeks.
A string of live tour dates would be booked on the East Coast, then a short break followed by a second string of dates on the West Coast appearing at such famous venues as The Funhouse in Seattle, Washington and again at the Whiskey-A-G0-Go to a sold-out show alongside hard rock veterans Zebra.