At the Portuguese American Club, where the Marotta Brothers Band is set to perform every Wednesday this summer, the main hall’s capacity is 300 patrons. Drummers Rick and Jerry Marotta are accustomed to many thousands more at Madison Square Garden, say, or Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Jerry, 63, spent much of his career touring with Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, the Indigo Girls and Orleans. Rick, 71, both toured with bands and was a session drummer, playing on records with the likes of John Lennon, Steely Dan, Linda Ronstadt and the Jackson 5.

Wednesday night, the two brothers played on side-by-side drum sets with Vineyarders Joanne Cassidy on vocals, Sam Rothberg on keys, Jon Zeeman on guitar and Zoe Zeeman on bass. The band was set up on a red rug in front of the club’s stone fireplace. A vending machine glowed stage right and Christmas lights hung from the ceiling.

Strike up a conversation with anyone in the club and you are bound to hear something like, “You know these guys are a huge deal, right?”

From stadium tours to a down-Island club, it's all about the vibe. — Maria Thibodeau

“Rick is one of the gods. Rick was on the shortlist of the shortlist of the shortlist of the main session drummers of the 80s,” gushed Jeremy Driesen, a summer resident of Oak Bluffs, who sat at a table in the front. He remembered idolizing Rick Marotta while studying at Berklee College of Music.

“Any drummer guy over 30, 40, you mention Rick Marotta and they’ll fall down on their knees in worship,” he said.

Sitting with his brother in the empty club the morning before the show, Rick said he prefers the intimacy of playing the P.A. Club.

“I love this place,” he said. “The room is great. People sit around here, this whole area turns into a dance floor. Everyone starts dancing, they’re having a great time. There was a lot of those gigs [at the bigger venues] where you don’t even see the person sitting in the front row.”

Rick started, Jerry followed, and the rest is history. — Maria Thibodeau

This is their first regular gig at the club, but it is their third summer playing together on the Vineyard. Rick spends about four months of the year living on the Vineyard.

Jerry said having two drummers is something some bands like The Allman Brothers and The Grateful Dead do very well.

“It can be great, and then sometimes it kind of can be like if you’re trying to talk to somebody and you’re both trying to talk at the same time,” Jerry said. “You know what I mean?”

Talking at the same time is something the brothers often do. They grew up with two other siblings in a suburban neighborhood in Westchester, N.Y. Rick was the oldest, and Jerry was the third child.

Joanne Cassidy provides vocals, with Jon Zeeman on guitar and Zoe Zeeman on bass as the Marotta Brothers take up residence at the P.A. Club Wednesday nights throughout the summer. — Maria Thibodeau

“We did everything we could to be as not-affluent as possible, I mean got into trouble and did all that unruly stuff,” Rick said. “But it was a normal family, I mean Italian-American...anthropologically of lunatics. Lot of things getting thrown around the house and yelling, and eat it before somebody else does and fight for food at the table. That kind of stuff.”

The brothers found drumming at the same time, in the attic on a borrowed drum set. Rick had just returned from a first (and last) year at college. The Vietnam War was underway, and when a friend was drafted, Rick offered to care for his drums. He learned by listening to records over and over and playing along with them. Jerry, who was then 10 years old, started playing too. They played Rascals records, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Otis Redding, James Brown.

“We had kind of a deep rhythm thing from somewhere,” Jerry said. “I don’t know where. You know, parents.”

Rick left home soon after that to pursue music, cutting his teeth in New York city. By the time Jerry was about to graduate from high school, Rick had the clout to get him an audition to play with Arthur, Hurley & Gottlieb.

“I got the job, so I had to go back to my teachers and explain the situation,” Jerry said. “I took my final exams on the road with me and went on tour with them. And I have my brother to thank for that.”

He played with that band for about two years, then toured with Orleans. But he said his relationship with music completely morphed while playing with Peter Gabriel.

“They gave me a cassette tape of [Peter Gabriel’s] first record, and I listened to it, and I was like this is off the walls. Like I don’t even know if I like it. It’s so weird,” he said. “He had songs like Moribund the Burgermeister.”

Rick went to see Jerry at a Peter Gabriel show in Los Angeles at the Greek Theatre, and he brought their parents. He said it was the best music he had ever heard.

“I remember when Jerry played his first drum fill to come in on the first song, everyone in the whole place stood up except for me because it was so amazing,” he said.

They may be world-renowned drummers, but they have a rule. “Neither Jerry nor I are really into drum solos,” Rick said. “We’re not a musical circus act.”

“It’s not what we’re all about,” Jerry said.

Once, while Jerry was playing with Hall and Oates, the band was covering Arthur Conley’s Sweet Soul Music and making the typical rounds, each musician taking a few bars to solo. When the focus shifted to Jerry, he stopped playing. Rick was in the audience.

“This particular night, Jerry stops the whole show and starts reading from Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” Rick said, laughing.

“And the place was jam packed full of people,” Jerry said.

“Packed,” Rick said.

“I said, ‘Look I can play a drum solo and kind of just totally blow your heads off,’ which was a total lie,” Jerry recalled. “I said, ‘But who the [heck] wants to hear a drum solo?’ The place exploded. “People went nuts because it was like, oh no, here comes the drum solo. I said, ‘I’d rather share with you something much more personal to me so you can get to know me.’”

Then he read to the crowd some of the book’s more graphic sequences.

“I was in tears,” Rick said. “Daryl [Hall] and John [Oates] couldn’t play, they were laughing so hard.”

Pranksters, brothers, drummers—one story bleeds into the next and the next. There have been times of success and world tours and times of uncertainty, loss and grief. Wednesday would have been their mother’s birthday, and they took a moment to remember where they were when they heard the news that she died.

“I’m in therapy, kind of my whole life,” Jerry said. “You know, nothing major, but just life stuff, and I believe in that. I’m very ADHD. Back then they didn’t have that. It was just hyper. I’m just like a hyperactive kid. But one of my shrinks said, ‘Man, can you imagine if you hadn’t stumbled across a drum kit?’”

The Marotta Brothers Band plays every Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Portuguese American Club in Oak Bluffs.