Ratt’s Stephen Pearcy: Grunge Didn’t Kill Hair Metal, Countless “mini-Mötleys and mini-Ratts” Did
The decline of metal in the 90s, specifically of the hair variety, is usually blamed on the explosion of grunge bands onto the scene. Outfits like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Nirvana quickly dominated the airwaves and devoured everything from the previous decade in their wake — at least that’s what supposed metal historians will tell you. For Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy, who experienced shit first hand, it wasn’t sad Seattle dudes in flannel that did hair metal in, it was hair metal itself.
While speaking with Goldmine, Pearcy lamented the fall of hair metal, placing most of the blame on “cookie-cutter bands” that had worn down the public’s taste for 80s style debauchery by the time Seattle began exporting bands to the rest of the world.
“The whole world was filled with mini-Mötleys and mini-Ratts, and it just got to be too much.
“And so, things went from being amazing to being the absolute worst very quickly. When everyone is making the same music, using the same producers, and the same video directors, you’re going to have a problem.
“So, I don’t blame it on grunge as much as I blame it on all that was going on in that era.”
Pearcy is one of many dudes from that era that aren’t willing to set the full blame of why their particular style of metal fell by the wayside entirely on grunge.
“A lot of people think grunge had a huge impact on us, but at that point, it really had nothing to do with what happened to Ratt.
“I mean… we can claim partial ownership for the music that came out of the early ’80s, but by the time the decade ended, and Detonator came out, the scene was totally flooded with cookie-cutter bands. That was as big of an issue as anything.
“It got to the point where people were like, ‘You have to dress this way, move this way, sing this way,’ and all this f**king shit.”
Truth be told, the whole idea that grunge even “killed” metal in the first place is laughable. Sure, metal’s popularity overall waned, but you still had the huge bands making killer records in the 90s. Remember, South of Heaven, Rust In Peace, Countdown to Extinction, The Black Album, Sound of White Noise and a whole mess of other classics came out during the decade.