July 25, 2010
By David Huff
RATT - Rock 'N America 2010
Ratt N' Roll
Ratt had a simple, but direct goal when it officially formed in 1982. Conquer the world through a musical revolution they called “Ratt n’ Roll.” And for a few shining moments in the mid-80s, conquer it they did.
The origins of this pioneering glam group go back to 1978 when 21-year old Stephen Pearcy formed a band in San Diego called Mickey Ratt. The four-piece outfit moved to Los Angeles in 1980 hoping to get a record deal. In 1982, the singer was forced to start over when his crew jumped ship to form there own rock group, Rough Cutt. Pearcy shortened the band name to Ratt, and promptly recruited friend Robbin Crosby to join him. Warren DeMartini was next to fall in line. After seeing Bobby Blotzer perform on MTV, Pearcy tracked the drummer down and made him an offer. Not only did Blotzer say yes, he also brought along a long his battery mate, bassist Juan Croucier. Ratt was ready to roll.
The band quickly dominated the local rock club scene up and down Sunset Strip with their brash, melodic heavy metal sound. Their live, energetic stage shows packed the houses in such legendary places as the Troubadour, Roxy, Country Club and the Starwood. They even became the house band at the legendary Whiskey. It was during their stint at the nightclub that Marshall Berle (nephew of the legendary Milton Berle), saw the group perform and offered to finance an EP for them. The self-titled disc was released on an independent label, and quickly drew the attention of rock giants KMET and KLOS. Tracks from this four-song EP made their way onto the coveted play lists of these influential radio stations, making it the first the first time an unsigned band had ever been added to their regular rotation. Ratt’s music also attracted attention in Europe and Japan. When the numbers finally came in, tiny indie label Time Coast Communications had sold over a million units of the six-song EP.
Atlantic Records took notice and signed the band before other labels made their move. Pearcy and crew immediately started writing and recording what would be their milestone album, Out of the Cellar, featuring actress Tawny Kitaen on the cover. Released in May 1984, it was fueled by the infectious hit, “Round and Round.” With Milton Berle making a cameo appearance (dressed in drag), the video became a staple on the fledgling 24-hour music channel MTV. The multi-platinum album catapulted the band to the top quickly. Today, Ratt’s Atlantic debut is widely regarded as the definitive moment in glam metal.
Following up such a critically acclaimed record proved to be a challenge the group was up for. Invasion of Your Privacy was released in July 1985. The double platinum disc contained the hits “You’re In Love” and “Lay It Down.” This time, the striking model gracing the cover was Playboy Playmate Marianne Gravatte. The provocative layout would capture the attention of Tipper Gore and her witch hunt organization, the PMRC. The aptly titled Invasion of Your Privacy was held up in Congress as an example of an album that needed a warning label attached to it because of its inappropriate content. The publicity did wonders for the band’s image.Ratt's next recording, Dancing Undercover, continued the group’s platinum streak thanks in part to the hit, “Body Talk.” Commercially, the record was a bit of a disappointment to fans, but the tour was not. Thanks to opening act Bon Jovi’s breakthrough album, Slippery When Wet, the tour was a rousing success. By the time the November 1988 release Reach For The Sky hit the streets, alcohol and drug abuse was taking its toll on the band. Thanks to the Ratt classics “Way Cool Jr” and “I Want A Woman,” the band once again had million plus selling album. But their were changes afoot in the organization. The first casualty was long time producer Beau Hill, who helped develop the band’s multi-platinum sound. The second casualty would be the music genre Ratt pioneered, glam metal. The 1990 Detonator release came on the eve of the Seattle grunge explosion. Radio ignored Ratt, and all their contemporaries, as the alternative music scene in America took over. Ratt’s core fan base was solid enough for the album to go gold, but the band’s failure to generate any real interest in the music signalled the end to an incredible era in rock.
Atlantic Records sealed Ratt’s fate when it released a greatest hits compilation entitled Ratt n' Roll 81-91 in September of 1991. A greatest hits album for any band is a signal their days with a record company are over. Ratt went on indefinite hiatus in 1992 after Stephen Pearcy and Warren DeMartini left to pursue other projects. Blotzer and Croucier became producers for underground bands. In 1997, Ratt reformed as a four-piece with Pearcy, DeMartini, Blotzer, and new member Robbie Crane on bass.The band issued a compilation album called Collage consisting of Ratt B-side singles, alternate recordings, and new versions of songs from the Mickey Ratt period. In 1999, Ratt secured a worldwide recording deal with Sony Music. The self-titled 1999 album was widely panned by critics, and fans ignored it as well. Pearcy left the band once again the following year and was replaced by vocalist John Corabi. In 2001 Pearcy attempted to sue the band for touring under the name "Ratt,” claiming he owned the rights. The lawsuit was a failure after Blotzer and DeMartini were awarded the rights to use the name. In 2002, former guitarist Robbin Crosby finally succombed to his battles with drug addiction and obesity.
On the eve of their 25-year annivesary, Pearcy, DeMartini and Blotzer have reunited to hit the road with Posion for a summer tour. Juan Croucier passed on joining them. After the band celebrates its golden anniversary this year, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen next. On this particular boat, Ratt’s have a tendency to abandon ship only to rejoin the crew at the next port.
Ratt (1983); Out Of The Cellar (1984); Invasion Of Your Privacy (1985); Dancin’ Undercover (1986); Reach For The Sky (1988); Detonator (1990); Ratt & Roll 8191 (1991)
Ratt Original Line-Up 1982
Stephen Pearcy – Vocals
Warren De Martini – Guitar
Robbin Crosby – Guitar
Juan Croucier – Bass
Bobby Blotzer – Drums
Stephen Pearcy - lead vocals (1982-1992, 1997-2000, 2006-present)
Warren DeMartini - lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals (1982-1992, 1997-present)
John Corabi - rhythm & lead guitars, backing vocals (2000-present)
Robbie Crane - bass, backing vocals (1997-present)
Bobby Blotzer - drums, percussion (1982-1992, 1997-present)