RATT’S STEPHEN PEARCY: THE METALSUCKS INTERVIEW
Full disclosure: I’m a giant fucking Ratt nerd. In fact, it’s fair to say that if it weren’t for hearing their seminal hit “Round and Round” for the first time as a preteen, I probably wouldn’t have grown up to be a giant fucking metal nerd.
Something about Stephen Pearcy’s acidic voice and Warren DeMartini’s wailing guitar riffs compelled me to keep chasing the louder, faster, heavier dragon for all these years. But you never forget that first time, do you?
So when Vince offered me a chance to talk to Pearcy — who rejoined the band last year after a seven-year hiatus — about Ratt’s new album Infestation, I jumped at the chance. That excitement increased exponentially when I actually heard the record—a true throwback to melodic, ballsy hard rock with plenty of attitude and sexual innuendo.
Check out Infestation when it’s released on April 20 through Roadrunner Records. And be sure to worship every Ratturday.
What inspired this Ratt reunion?
Money. [Laughs] No! What got us back into the cellar, so to speak, was music. It always ends up about the music with us.
It almost sounds like you guys are in a weathered marriage.
Of course! It’s getting together, then cheatin’ on them, then having to stick around with them because you don’t want to split the property.
Your new album, Infestation, was recorded in Virginia Beach. How did being away from LA and all of its bad influences affect the creative process?
It didn’t mean that I didn’t bring some with me! [Laughs] I brought some good, bad, and ugly… that pretty much gave me my atmosphere. It was like the old way of writing.
Yes and no. The last record [in 1999] was probably one of the worst things we had to deal with because there were so many cooks in the kitchen. With this record, it was back to basics: living together for a month or so, doing preproduction and first and foremost, OUR music. It was like Out of the Cellar.
How would you describe Infestation?
It’s right in between Out of the Cellar and Invasion of Your Privacy. That’s what I get out of it.
What’s your favorite song on the album?
There are so many good songs on Infestation, I can’t even say I have a favorite. “Eat Me Alive” is just crazy, it’s total Ratt, it’s like “The Morning After.”
Founding guitarist Robbin Crosby passed away in 2002. Does it feel like his shadow remains with you?
It’s always with me. When I first put the [band] together, Robbin was my right-hand man. As soon as we got together for Out of the Cellar, Warren, Robbin and I sat down and wrote “Round and Round” pretty quickly. It meant a lot, and it still says a lot.
Speaking of Out of the Cellar, Ratt performed the 1984 record in its entirety on your 2009 summer tour. Why?
To reintroduce people to what started it all. It was cool to play songs like “Scene of the Crime” which we haven’t done in 25 years.
How does it feel to play for several generations of fans, both old and young?
I’ve got a 13-year-old daughter and when her friends bring up, “your dad is that guy” and the parents are giving their kids stuff to autograph, that’s a trip. It’s nice, it’s almost like word of mouth. You didn’t have VH1, MTV, the stuff in your face, you’d just hear about [us]. I think it’s the same way now for these younger teens, they hear about it and seek it out rather than be force-fed what’s on radio and TV.
What do you think it is about Ratt that captivates them?
Ten year olds to 50 year olds—you get older and hopefully wise up, but you never lose that juvenile excitement you get with something that lives with you forever. You can smell it, feel it and remember it.
What’s your favorite Ratt memory?
Playing Madison Square Garden, headlining. I was a big Zep fan, and seeing The Song Remains the Same back in the day in the ’70s, I was like, “Wow, it’s incredible.” I remember being in that limo going up the ramps, going, “Wow, we’re doing it.”
I should mention that a few of us started a weekly ritual called Ratturday.
There you go, nice!
Basically, we just get high and listen to Ratt every Saturday. That’s sort of it.
Anybody can rock n’ roll, only we can Ratt n’ roll.
Do you feel that Ratt doesn’t get enough shine, especially when guys in Motley Crue and Poison are starring in reality shows?
No, and it was never the case from the beginning. We didn’t care to be press darlings, we just wanted to be a force to be reckoned with and make good music.
So no TV shows or tell-all books for you?
Well, I’m working on a book. I was working on Ratt Tales and wanted it to be out before I got back in the band. Thank God I didn’t, because it would have been an abrupt end. Now it’s got a happy ending.
Zena Metal celebrates Ratturday weekly when not working on her own blog, the appropriately titled Zena Metal.