Ratt is an American heavy metal band that formed in San Diego and enjoyed significant commercial success in the 1980s. The band is most notable for their songs "Round and Round," "Wanted Man," "Lay It Down," "You're in Love", "Way Cool Jr." and "Back For More." Though the group lost popularity in the following decade, Ratt has been recognized as instrumental in the formation of the early 1980s Los Angeles hard rock and glam metal scene.
The band has sold an estimated 8 million records in the U.S. while worldwide album sales are approximated at over 20 million. VH1 slotted the band at #79 on its "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock". Their 7th studio album is due to be released sometime in late 2009.
Ratt's music is influenced by 1970s hard rock and glam rock bands such as Aerosmith, Sweet, Van Halen and Kiss. They fused this style with heavy metal influences, including Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.
Although they later incorporated more of a blues-rock sound into their music, the band was one of the first glam metal style groups that appeared in the early 1980s in California. Their image bore similarities to that of Rough Cutt, which had several members who where previously in Mickey Ratt (from which Ratt evolved).
Early Years (1976?1982)
The origins of Ratt go at least as far back as 1976 with a San Diego band called Mickey Ratt, which was formed by founding member vocalist Stephen Pearcy.
Mickey Ratt went through various line-ups. Members included guitarists Jake E. Lee, Chris Hager, Paul DeNisco, and Bob DeLellis, bassists Matt Thorr, Tim Garcia, and Dave Jellison, and drummers John Turner, Dave Alford, and Bob Eisenberg.
In 1980, the band moved to Los Angeles to increase their chances of landing a recording contract with a major label. Later that year, guitarist Jake E. Lee joined the Mickey Ratt line up and the band recorded a single called "Dr. Rock" / "Drivin' on E", which was given to fans at their early Los Angeles club shows.
In 1982, the band's name was shortened to Ratt. The band would later work at various fast food restaurants in order to pay back the studio time for their initial recording. Jake E. Lee, Chris Hager, Matt Thorr, and Dave Alford all left Mickey Ratt to form another band called Rough Cutt. Guitarists Warren DeMartini and Robbin Crosby, bassist Juan Croucier (who left the band Dokken in 1981), and drummer Bobby Blotzer replaced the former members. Warren was only 18 years old when he was called up to Los Angeles to join Ratt. At the time he was attending college in San Diego and reluctant to drop out to join a band that had, so far, had only limited success.
By 1982, the classic Ratt line-up of Stephen Pearcy on lead vocals, Warren DeMartini on lead guitar, Robbin Crosby on lead guitar, Juan Croucier on bass guitar, and Bobby Blotzer on drums was complete.
Ratt EP (1983)
In July 1983 the band released an EP on their independent record label Time Coast, after signing a pressing and distribution deal with Greenworld Distribution. With the self-titled Ratt EP, the band began to draw public attention from outside of Southern California. It contained the hit "You Think You're Tough". Also included was a cover of "Walkin' the Dog"; originally a hit for Rufus Thomas in 1963. Ratt's version was a nod to Aerosmith, who had included a cover of the song on their influential first album in 1973. The track "Back for More" that appeared on the EP was a slightly different version of the one that appeared on their follow-up Out of the Cellar. The EP was a success, selling over one million copies (though it has been out of print for many years and is today considered a rare and valuable collectors' item). In early 1984 MTV filmed a show in Detroit,and another in Los Angeles, footage of which was used for the "You Think You're Tough" video. This video being released mid-way through the "Out Of The Cellar" touring cycle in order to market the E.P. to new fans..
Out of the Cellar (1983?1984)
After a well-received, self-titled independent EP, the band signed with Atlantic Records and immediately started writing and recording what would be its first proper (and breakthrough) album Out of the Cellar. Released in March 1984, the album was critically praised by both fans and critics alike at the time of its release. Milton Berle's guest appearance (dressed in his Uncle Miltie drag character) on the video for "Round and Round" helped draw even more attention to the band.
Out of the Cellar combined the then-prevalent Van Halen and Aerosmith influenced bravado elements with the then-novel muted, staccato guitar-picking style of Judas Priest.
The album scored much radio and MTV play with the blockbuster anthem "Round and Round"(which peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100), "Wanted Man", "Back for More", "Lack of Communication", and "I'm Insane". Pearcy's raspy yet bluesy vocals melded well with the pyrotechnic guitar playing of twin leads Robbin Crosby and Warren DeMartini. Their music videos (especially for that of "Round and Round") exposed their movie star looks to an impressionable teen audience first tuning into the then fledgling MTV cable network.
Out of the Cellar became a commercial success, going platinum many times over in the United States as well as making them true rock idols in the Far East. The album catapulted the band to the top, capped off by an incredibly successful world tour that saw the band sell out countless stadiums and arenas worldwide. Out of the Cellar is today widely regarded as the pinnacle of the band's work and a definitive moment in 80s heavy metal.
Tawny Kitaen, High School sweetheart of Crosby, who'd graced the cover of the band's EP from the previous year, agreed to appear on the cover of their debut full-length album. She also appeared in their video for "Back For More" (she was the girl in the 50s skirt at the jukebox). Her work with Ratt enamored her to the glam metal community and later helped Kitaen become an international celebrity. She appeared in movies, TV shows and even more music videos. Her provocative performances in Whitesnake's videos gained her even more acclaim and eventually, a husband. She was married to Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale for a few years.
Invasion of Your Privacy (1984?1985)
The band's second full-length album Invasion of Your Privacy was released July 1985. The album met mostly positive reactions from fans and critics. Allmusic.com has called it "another batch of solid pop-metal tunes". It contained the favorites "You're in Love" and "Lay It Down"(which made #40 on the Hot 100) that assured the band a presence on radio and MTV. The music video for "You're In Love" is a live clip from the band's performance at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Warren DeMartini & Robbin Crosby's impressive guitar solos and Stephen Pearcy's highly sexual lyrics helped to further define the Ratt sound. Though it didn't achieve the sales figures nor the legendary status of their monumental debut, Invasion of Your Privacy nonetheless was certified double platinum (selling over two million copies) and remains highly regarded amongst fans.
A couple months after the album release, the band released a home video titled Ratt: The Video. The video featured the music videos from the Ratt EP, Out of the Cellar and Invasion of Your Privacy. The video is currently out of print and is very rare and difficult to find. The video was the first commercially available video to certify Gold sales status in the USA and eventually reached Platinum. At the same time Atlantic Records re-edited and re-released the '83 EP.
The model on the Invasion cover is Playboy Playmate Marianne Gravatte, who also made an appearance in the "Lay It Down" music video. Using a beautiful female model on an album cover later became a trend copied by many glam metal bands of the 1980s, such as Great White, and Slaughter. Invasion of Your Privacy was also one of the many albums that received the attention of the PMRC since the cover and the album title were an obvious reference to voyeurism. The Tipper Gore-led organization presented it at a U.S. Congressional hearing on , 1985 dealing with parental advisory labels on albums that display "inappropriate" content. The band toured extensively in the United States and Japan sharing stage with the likes of Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne and Iron Maiden. In August 1985 the band played on the Monsters Of Rock festival in Donington, England, along with ZZ Top, Bon Jovi, Metallica and Magnum.
Dancing Undercover (1986?1987)
Ratt's next release was Dancing Undercover in September 1986. The album was a relative disappointment with most music critics at the time of its release. From a commercial standpoint however, the album kept Ratt's string of consecutive Platinum albums alive.This is the first album as well to see Crosby's lead guitar duties minimized in favor of the shred style of DeMartini.
In an effort to be taken more seriously, Ratt broke from the tradition of featuring a girl on the cover. They instead opted for gritty black-and-white photos of each of the five band members. Likewise, the album does not contain a single power ballad amongst its ten tracks and even features experimental forays into thrashier and heavier sounds.
The song that reflected this most strikingly was "Body Talk", which was featured on the soundtrack for the 1986 Eddie Murphy film The Golden Child. The more straight-ahead style of the album (especially with this song) lead many fans to believe that Ratt was headed in a direction more akin to the thrash style promulgated by such bands as Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer. However, that proved not to be the case as the slightly experimental undertones of the album were quickly replaced with a bluesier sound throughout their next three releases.
Other popular tracks generated by the album included "Dance" and "Slip of the Lip". Through 1987, Ratt embarked on a U.S. tour with newcomers Poison, and played in Europe as a part of the Monsters Of Rock Tour. Their tour with Poison was the 6th highest grossing tour of 1987.
Reach for the Sky (1988?1989)
The group's follow-up, Reach for the Sky was released in November 1988. Although the album achieved Platinum sales status and reached number 17 on Billboard's album charts, it was widely panned by critics. Complaints ranged from it being formulaic and sophomoric to the album being uneven and lacking in focus. After this album, the band parted ways with long-time producer Beau Hill. For all the criticisms, Reach for the Sky nevertheless contained the popular tracks "Way Cool Jr." and "I Want a Woman" which received some airplay. Those two songs are now regarded as glam metal classics.
The surreal, Dali-esque album cover featured a statue wearing night vision goggles, a human hand emerging from a bundle of twine, a World War II fighter plane, and a wicker chair. The band has remained mum as to what the album cover is supposed to symbolize so as to facilitate the diverse interpretations of their fans. Early pressings of the album cover revealed the breast part of the statue as requested by lead singer Stephen Pearcy. According to Pearcy, he wanted to use that version of the cover but the other band members feared that this would keep the record out of certain music stores. The revised version of the album mainly contained the same tracks, but in a different order. After the revised version hit the record stores, producer Beau Hill stepped down from producer duties and tensions within the band increased.
Ratt's fifth album Detonator was released in August 1990. Sir Arthur Payson took over as producer for the band following Beau Hill's departure after the lackluster results for Reach for the Sky. The album garnered mixed reactions. Critics claimed it lacked the live sounding energy of the band's earlier work, while some claim the sound more akin to "hair metal" (especially when compared to their raw early works) but still showing a band of experienced and refined musicians maturing and striving to expand their sound. Detonator featured the among its tracks "Shame Shame Shame" and "Lovin' You's A Dirty Job". The band co-wrote most of the album's songs with Desmond Child while Jon Bon Jovi appeared as a guest background vocalist on "Heads I Win, Tails You Lose". They also co-wrote Givin' Yourself Away with Diane Warren. Detonator also became the first Ratt album to not achieve Platinum sales status, only reaching Gold. Robbin Crosby's addiction had plagued the guitarist for years, but during the recording of this album, for the first time, his contributions were minimal, only writing one song, "Can't Wait on Love", and contributing to another, "All or Nothing". Crosby entered a rehab facility during the early stages of recording, hence excluding further contributions,although he is credited as a participating member on the liner notes.
During the seven shows of the Japanese leg of the 'Detonator' tour in February 1991, Crosby's substance abuse had reached a point where his playing had becoming increasingly inconsistent onstage. The band had already removed the acoustic intro to Back For More, which Crosby performed, along with modifying sections of other songs that featured Robbin as lead guitarist. During one particular show, after the band performed two songs using non-standard tunings, Crosby did not properly switch out guitars with his guitar technician. As a result, he was not in tune with the band for the next two songs. Some controversy over this incident has surfaced because of the comments during the Ratt Behind The Music biography. Whether the offstage crew member or the guitarist himself was at fault is a subject still debated among fans of the band. It has been asserted that Robbin wasn't aware of the change, didn't hear his tech, or was unable to respond. The last show of the Japanese tour, in Osaka, would be Robbin's last with Ratt. He would not record or perform with the band again.
When the band returned to the United States, Robbin checked into a rehab facility and Ratt continued on with Michael Schenker, formerly of Scorpions, UFO, Michael Schenker Group, and McAuley Schenker Group. Schenker's tenure was shortlived, though. After Ratt finished their scheduled dates for the Detonator tour, Schenker left the band.
MTV Unplugged, Nobody Rides for Free and Ratt n' Roll 81?91 (1991?1992)
Ratt was featured on the first season of MTV Unplugged to promote their most current album and new single, sharing the stage with all-female rock band Vixen. Michael Schenker was still performing with Ratt at the time of this taping.
At the end of 1991, Ratt released the final single of their career, "Nobody Rides for Free" which appeared on the Point Break soundtrack album. The song and video clearly signal a change in the band. Robbin did not participate in the writing or recording of the song and was not present for the shooting of the video in which only the four remaining members appeared.
The band never again recorded or performed with the original five members.
Atlantic Records released a greatest hits compilation entitled Ratt & Roll 81-91 in September 1991. The album featured five songs from Detonator, more than any other album featured on the compilation. It also featured the aforementioned song "Nobody Rides For Free".
Since the album was released only a month after Nirvana's Nevermind, this may have been one reason why it sold slowly at first. At this point, Atlantic began to rethink Ratt's contract with them. It is estimated Atlantic kept Ratt because their only other 80s metal outfit (who wouldn't have an actual hit single until 1990), Skid Row, was still doing well. They were hoping Ratt would follow Skid Row's path. While they did not, the album continued to be a steady seller and was certified Gold by 1999.
Ratt disbanded (1992?1996)
When alternative rock bands (more specifically, "grunge") such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and The Smashing Pumpkins became popular, glam metal bands like Ratt were no longer en vogue and quickly lost their major record label support. In February 1992, Pearcy left the group to form a new hard rock band, Arcade, before moving on to the industrial-tinged power trio Vertex. In 1993, Crosby performed on Rumbledog's self titled debut album. Blotzer and Croucier both started to live more normal lives outside the public eye and the two of them became producers for underground bands. DeMartini briefly toured with Whitesnake in 1994 and issued two solo albums including 1995's Surf's Up! and 1996's Crazy Enough to Sing to You. In 1994 former guitarist Robbin Crosby was diagnosed with HIV, which later developed into AIDS.
First Reunion/Self titled album (1996?2000)
In 1996, the five classic era members of Ratt began discussing a reunion and a subsequent album of new material. However, after discussions with Robbin, it was decided that he was not in any physical shape to record or perform with the band. As the talks continued to progress, bassist Juan Croucier made the decision not to participate in the reunion as well. Ratt eventually moved forward with their reunion plans and Pearcy, DeMartini and Blotzer, along with new member, Robbie Crane (formerly of Vince Neil's solo band) on bass, formed a new lineup of Ratt. The band issued a compilation album called Collage, which consisted of B-sides, alternate recordings, and new versions of songs from the Mickey Ratt period. In 1999, Ratt secured a worldwide record deal with Sony. The 1999 self-titled Ratt album featured new material with a more conventional blues rock feel. It marked a change for the group as they abandoned their anthemic party tunes to focus on more serious themes. The album was heavily slammed by fans and critics who felt that it was weak and that Pearcy's vocals were sounding very worn out. The album was a commercial failure.
Departure of Pearcy, Death of Crosby and New Era (2000?2006)
After this, Ratt added Keri Kelli as a second guitarist. In 2000, Pearcy left the group again, going on to form two more bands: Vicious Delite and Nitronic, before moving on to a solo career. He also started a record label Top Fuel Records, which released some archived Ratt material and Pearcy solo work.
Ratt replaced Pearcy with singer Jizzy Pearl and Keri Kelli was succeeded by guitarist and former M?tley Cr?e vocalist John Corabi. Their gig at the House of Blues in 2000 was released as a bootleg CD.
In 2001, former guitarist Robbin Crosby publicly announced that he suffered from AIDS. He died on June 6, 2002 from an overdose, and not from AIDS-related complications as was reported.
For the next two years, they would be featured in the Rock Never Stops Tour alongside other 1980s hard rock/heavy metal bands. In 2001, Pearcy attempted to sue the band for touring under the "Ratt" name claiming he owned the rights to it. His lawsuit against Blotzer and DeMartini was a failure and the latter two were awarded full rights to the name.
On , 2005 a fan asked Juan Croucier on his message board how long Blotzer and Croucier decided to put the band to rest back in 1992 after Pearcy and DeMartini left the group to which he responded:
OK, I'm going to make this statement one more time and move on.
Bobby and I never quit Ratt. And the way our partnership was set up, we could not fire each other either. We were stuck owning the name but not being able to use it. However, bankruptcy could still eliminate a partner and Bobby went bankrupt in 1995/96. That essentially and eventually left me as the sole partner left in the partnership but again not being able to use the name. Having said that, before that happened in 1993/94 we tried out a few people (The Salty Dog guy, etc.) but it wasn't Ratt by any stretch of the imagination and I was skeptical about using the name Ratt at that point, because that would have been a lie and also because of the aforementioned. It was just an attempt to start a new band and somehow move on. What we were going to call it was undecided and we never got to the point where the name we were going to use was an issue. After a while, it just kinda fizzled. Bobby, was really hard to deal with back in those days so, we lost interest in pursuing another band situation together at that point.
Later on in 1997, Bobby came back, foaming at the mouth, with his, "shit or get off the pot Croucier, we're doing this with or without you", attitude, desperate to make money with the name Ratt. He lied about the fact that Stephen had quit the band, leading to things like the Winterland lawsuit (among other lawsuits) that I helped Bobby settle. It's funny how in 1993, according to Bobby himself as said to my attorney Robert Tauro, "Stephen quit the band and he's not coming back. How can we get out of this Winterland lawsuit?" That was right about the time he started to think about going bankrupt. Believe me, Bobby loathed him for quitting the band, leaving us in debt and high and dry! But suddenly in 1997, he acted like that just never happened. So, once he was back in bed with Stephen, they (Bobby and Stephen) attempted to fire me from the partnership, it was laughable, and despite my overwhelming, consistent objections and legally stated position in that regard (in accordance with the Ratt Partnership agreement), they went on to illegally form WBS, Inc., and play and record as Ratt again with Warren. Against my strong objections and wishes. Nice guys ay? That is the truth. All I have is the truth. Their position was, "fuck Juan". And fuck Juan they did. And then their lies about me as to, "why I was not a part of it", started in the press and on radio interviews, etc. .. ''Needless to say, I was livid and never got a chance to tell my side of the story or rebuke what they were saying about me at that time. Apparently, the concept was that eventually, people would start believing their lies as the truth. Especially, if I was not around to defend myself. It's the old, "if you lie about something long enough and consistently enough, pretty soon people will start believing the lies as the truth." From this point on, I'm not going to talk about Ratt legal stuff on here. For all I know, anyone could come on here and pretend that they are a fan when they are a lawyer for who knows who. ..
Ratt (2005) 2000?2006 line up. (L-R) Corabi, Crane, Pearl, Blotzer and DeMartini. Performing at a concert in Chicago.
With this message on his website, Croucier became the first member of Ratt to admit that the band never did break up outright in 1992, as was previously reported, but were instead only on indefinite hiatus. Previous interviews given by band members (including Pearcy, Blotzer, and DeMartini) had indicated that they did disband in 1992.
The future of the band was considered cloudy at best. DeMartini and Blotzer were the only two original members still in the band after winning their 2001 court case over Stephen Pearcy for ownership of the "Ratt" name.
On , 2006, Ratt was profiled on VH1's Behind the Music. In the episode, It was revealed for the first time publicly that former guitarist Robbin Crosby died of a heroin overdose, and not AIDS-related complications as was sometimes erroneously reported.
During the group's quiet years, the members (and former members) continued to work on their own side projects. Blotzer, Corabi, and Crane joined forces with Keri Kelli in the classic rock cover band named "Angel City Outlaws". Warren DeMartini and Jizzy Pearl worked on their respective solo careers and continued to record new material. In a surprising turn of events, Juan Croucier and Stephen Pearcy toured with one another during the summer and fall of 2006. In a surprise to many, Blotzer joined them onstage at a show on , 2006.
Second Reunion/New album (2006?present)
On , 2006 the website "Metal Sludge" set off a firestorm of rumors after reporting that Pearcy and Croucier would re-unite with Blotzer and DeMartini. On , 2006, Jizzy Pearl announced on his message board that he was no longer a member of the band, increasing speculation and excitement to a fever pitch. On , 2007 another website "Bravewords.com" stated that Ratt would go on the 2007 tour with Poison and Great White. On , Bravewords reported that White Lion would open for Poison and Ratt, while Great White was still 'in talks' to join the tour.
On March 20, 2007, the official Ratt website was finally updated with only the band's logo after a year and a half of being dormant. One week later, Blabbermouth.com reported that Ratt would take part in the "Rocklahoma" festival on July 13?15, 2007 in Pryor, Oklahoma, with original singer Stephen Pearcy and without Juan Croucier who decided to not participate in the reunion tour(Robbie Crane stayed on on bass instead).
Tramp's White Lion was removed from the tour due to legal issues, and Vains of Jenna took their place. The summer tour started , 2007 at the Bi Lo Center in Greenville, S.C., and ended , 2007 at the Coors Amphitheatre in Denver. The tour, which brought Poison and Ratt onstage together for the first time since 1999, visited amphitheaters, festivals and fairs in such cities as Boston, Detroit, New York, New Jersey and Los Angeles.
Festivals the tour performed at include Birmingham, Ala.'s City Stages (), Bay City, Mich.'s Bay City River Roar (), Pryor, Okla.'s Rocklahoma (), Sturgis, S.D.'s Buffalo Chip () and Newton, IA, Iowa Speedway ().
On July 31, 2007, Ratt released a DVD entitled Ratt - Videos From the Cellar: The Atlantic Years which chronicle the band's video history. On August 21, 2007, they also released a best-of CD entitled Tell The World: The Very Best Of Ratt.
In November 2007, Ratt toured Japan and Australia. Throughout October the band was to tour Europe, but instead, the band planned to return in June 2008 to perform at some of Europe's most popular rock festivals including Spring and Airbrake as well as several other key dates in the UK and Scandinavia. At the end of January 2008 they played at MOTLEY CRUISE, a 4-day cruise in the Caribbean (Miami, Key West and Cozumel, MX) with Vince Neil, Skid Row, Slaughter, Endeverafter, Lynam.
In May and June 2008 Ratt toured the UK at some of the best known rock clubs. On 5 June they were supported by local Leeds band King Nothing at the legendary rock club Rio's.
In August 2008, Sirius Satellite Radio's Hair Nation channel reported that former M?tley Cr?e singer John Corabi had resigned as rhythm guitarist for Ratt and was rumored to be replaced by former Quiet Riot guitarist Carlos Cavazo. Bobby Blotzer confirmed these rumors stating that Cavazo was set to replace Corabi and would make his debut with the band on August 27.
According to recent reports, Warren DeMartini and Stephen Pearcy have begun to write songs for a new album, which is projected for early 2009. In April 2009 Loud & Proud/Roadrunner Records announced the signing of a worldwide deal with Ratt. The new album is set for a fall release and will be supported by a world tour.
Stephen Pearcy ? lead vocals; occasionally rhythm & lead guitars (1976?1992, 1996?2000, 2006?present)
Warren DeMartini ? lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals (1982?1992, 1996?present)
Carlos Cavazo ? rhythm and lead guitars, backing vocals (2008?present)
Robbie Crane ? bass, backing vocals (1996?present)
Bobby Blotzer ? drums, percussion (1982?1992, 1996?present)