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Sunday Old School: Ratt

It was 1982 when the lineup of Stephen Pearcy (vocals), Robbin Crosby (guitar), Warren DeMartini (guitar), Juan Croucier (bass), and Bobby Blotzer (drums) came together. Their first recording was an EP, then released as the self titled Ratt LP. The first album contained songs “You Think You’re Tough” and “Back for More” which immediately connected to a rising number of eighties heavy metal fans. The cover featured the leg of Tawny Kitaen who would help establish this band with a connection to models, hookers, and sex that would carry them through their next several albums.

After their debut, Ratt was quickly hailed as heroes on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles; it wasn’t until the release of their 1984 album, “Out of the Cellar,” when Ratt blew up across the country and world. Ratt’s “Out of the Cellar” kicks off with Stephen Pearcy telling us about “A Lone Dealer, with Snake Eyes” in “Wanted Man.” Track three provided us with one of the biggest hits of the decade in “Round and Round,” a song that will stick in your head for days, also a glimpse into Ratt’s musical inspiration (fast women and hookers), which would be continuously detailed during their next three albums. Side 2 begins with the guitar heavy “Lack of Communication,” and continues strong through an updated version of “Back for More.”

For the video “Round and Round,” Ratt stepped it up, using Milton Berle in drag and an over the top dinner party where guitar solos fell through the ceiling and (predictably) rat was served as the main course. Think average night at Charlie Sheen’s house. Given their radio friendly hits, Ratt set themselves apart from some of the other acts (see: Motley Crue) and were enjoying a large piece of the glam metal pie. The album again featured Tawny Kitaen, this time crawling out of a sewer. Where was she crawling to?

In 1985, the boys from Ratt released “Invasion of Your Privacy,” an approved follow-up from their last album; again the focus of the songs was pretty much about getting laid. 1986 brought the album “Dancing Undercover,” a non-stop rock opera of lust, models, and yes, hookers. If this truly is meant to be a rock opera, I’m assuming the story is about a girl. The girl is a whore. This was essentially the third consecutive album that although resonated well with the fans, was now beginning to lose their MTV appeal compared to Motley Crue, a band that had found ways to change their image and also create a sweet ballad named “Home Sweet Home.” Was it possible Pearcy had the choice of writing a ballad or appearing in an issue of Playgirl (May 1986)? I say yes. “Dancing Undercover” contained the song “Body Talk,” which was featured in Eddie Murphy’s movie The Golden Child. This was Eddie’s first movie since the pantheon trifecta of 48 Hours-Trading Places-Beverly Hills Cop where Murphy failed to make people laugh. Is this related to the soundtrack? Probably more to do with the PG-13 rating, but its worth noting.

Finally, Ratt’s 1988 album, “Reach for the Sky” attempted a ballad named “Way Cool Jr.”, but instead created a great blues song vs. a wet the panties ballad. Ironically, this song holds up quite well today. The video followed a mystery man whose life revolves around champagne and bathroom blow jobs. Who is this mystery man? We will never know. My guess is John Stamos. This was during the time he was killing it as a mullet wearing Uncle Jesse on Full House. He seems like a champagne, bathroom blow job kind of guy.

In 1990, “Detonator” was released and never got a chance. It was a new decade where the glam metal scene was saturated and Robbin Crosby was falling into drug addiction. After this, the band released the song “Nobody Rides For Free” for the Point Break soundtrack. There is an accompanying video that accentuates the powerful acting of Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey in this classic surfing thriller.

As with most glam metal bands from the eighties, the next five years (92-96) were not good for Ratt. The band went on hiatus. During this time, Pearcy sang with several bands including Arcade, VD, and Vertex. Crosby played in Secret Service and then was diagnosed with HIV turning quickly into AIDS. DeMartini played with Whitesnake and then some solo projects.

At the end of the decade the band reunited for the album “Ratt.” With Robbie Crane on bass, the band went for a new type of music, turning out a more blues rock feel. For a band known for strip club anthems, this was a disaster; the band again broke up shortly after. In 2002 Robbin Crosby died from a heroin overdose. DeMartini , Blotzer, Keri Kelli on guitar (to soon be replaced by John Corabi), and singer Jizzy Pearl toured as Ratt, while Stephen Pearcy toured as both Ratt featuring Stephen Pearcy and then Rat Bastards.

In 2009, Stephen Pearcy, Robbie Crane, Bobby Blotzer, and Warren DeMartini reunited and began working on a new album, “Infestation.” The album was a critical success, bringing back the sound and nostalgia from Ratt’s earlier work. The album was released in 2010 and followed by a tour. Reports have stated Carlos Cavozo is now the guitarist and that the band is again, on hiatus.

Looking back on the eighties, you would be hard pressed to find three consecutive albums (“Out of the Cellar,” “Invasion of your Privacy,” “Dancing Undercover”) that deliver as well as Ratt did during the height of the glam metal rise. Today it’s hard to say what is next, or if there is a next for this band. Will there be another album? Solo projects? Or, will the band continue on, searching for that elusive ballad?

“Round and Round”

“Back For More”

“Lay It Down”

“I Want a Woman”

“Body Talk”

“Way Cool Jr. / Wanted Man”

Rockstar_Scribbler's avatar

David S. Grant (aka Rockstar_Scribbler) is the author of several books including Rock Stars, Happy Hour, and Corporate Porn. For more information please go to www.rockstarbooks.net or www.davidsgrant.com. You can also follow David on Twitter @david_S_grant.

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8 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Ratt"

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R10's avatar

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1. R10 writes:

Good one RS! Always loved Ratt! There first few i still break out nowadays. Ratt opening for Billy Squier was my second concert in Aug 84 .yup,Ratt done blew ol "Stroke It" Billy of the stage! Man,i wore out that "Out of the Cellar" tape back in the day!

# May 29, 2011 @ 12:50 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

2. hellrat writes:

Hell yeah big R....I fvckin loved them first couple records, and still throw em on here and there as well. Remember getting out of the cellar when it came out when I was 9! Man, that thing was on constant rotation with Shout at the Devil, Pyromania, Metal Health etc....and that was the very year I really got into 'real metal': Maiden, Priest, Queensryche, and it all just took off from there!

Gotta say though, Pearcy's vocals are fvckin toast these days....no bueno, straight up nasty azz sh!t!

Thanks RS, Good choice man \m/

# May 29, 2011 @ 1:13 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

3. R10 writes:

Yea HR i hear dude. I gotta few years on ya,but to me all of the stuff you listed,plus Priest,Saxon,Maiden etc was all the same to me. Great stuff,none of that M.Jackson pop swill! I remember that damn "Footloose" soundtrack being pretty huge also,so any hard rock/metal i could get my hands on was pretty choice! Less than a year later,Metallica broke for me,and i dove head first into thrash and speed metal! So it goes.

# May 29, 2011 @ 1:35 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
4. thadeus writes:

I still like the old ratt,great stuff.Brings back some good memories.

# May 30, 2011 @ 12:06 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
KMADD's avatar

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5. KMADD writes:

Ratt and Dokken were about the only hair metal bands i liked.

# May 30, 2011 @ 1:26 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

6. Blindgreed1 writes:

I still say DiMartini is underrated. Everyone is giggin on Out Of The Cellar, but my fav was the self titled "Ratt" which had an awesome cover of Walkin The Dog and a few others that never made it into the mainstream.

# May 31, 2011 @ 10:57 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
WOLF7's avatar

Member

7. WOLF7 writes:

Damn BG, you beat me to it! ;)

Yeah, DeMartini's an awesome player, plus judging by the interviews, definitely one of the most nicest and sensible guys to come out of the entire Glam Rock period. Definitely no douche.

I've always felt that Ratt kind of surfaced at the wrong time. Had they surfaced 5years later, they'd been 10 times bigger and been considered a true LA rock band, kinda like Buckcherry, instead of being remembered as some spandex and make-up wearing losers like Poison.

# May 31, 2011 @ 12:03 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
8. 80smetalman writes:

Not trying to criticize but you didn't mention the amusing video for "You're in Love" which has film clips of Ronald Reagan and Groucho Marx. Ratt were a cool band back in the 80s and the Infestation album is good.

# May 31, 2011 @ 2:42 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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