80's Rock: RATT

rattRATT 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" 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, and Kiss, They fused this with heavy metal influences from the likes of Van Halen and Judas Priest.

Though 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, which became RATT.

Early Years (1976–1982)
ratt_4The 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. He ended up never regretting his decision.

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_1RATT 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)
ratt_stephen_pearcy_2After 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 Mötley Crüe 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 January 7, 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:

ratt_robbin_crosby_1OK, 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. ..

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 May 11, 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 October 27, 2006.

Second Reunion/New album (2006–present)
ratt_8On December 1, 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 December 4, 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 March 17, 2007 another website "Bravewords.com" stated that RATT would go on the 2007 tour with Poison and Great White. On April 12, 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 June 13, 2007 at the Bi Lo Center in Greenville, S.C., and ended August 19, 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 (June 16), Bay City, Mich.'s Bay City River Roar (June 22), Pryor, Okla.'s Rocklahoma (July 13), Sturgis, S.D.'s Buffalo Chip (August 5) and Newton, IA, Iowa Speedway (August 4).

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.

ratt_7In 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 Mötley Crüe 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.

Courtesy of wikipedia.org and Hair Band Rock - 80's Rock

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