Category Archives: Ratt

Concert Review: Stephen Pearcy (04/27/13)

pearcy

newway

Stephen Pearcy

Opening Act: A New Way To Live Forever

Saturday, 4/27/13

Club L.A. in Destin, FL

This was my first concert at Club L.A. out in Destin, Florida. I’m pleasantly surprised that a venue like this exists in a beachtown that likes to project a clean image for the families that visit in the summer. Of course, spring break is an entirely different tale of debauchery but the City of Destin doesn’t want anyone to know about that!

Doors opened at 7:30PM but I didn’t end up getting to the show until a bit after 8PM. I was thinking we’ve might’ve at least missed the start of the opening act but the bartender told us there was an issue with one of their amps so they were going on late. It was probably 8:30 or so when Fort Lauderdale’s A New Way To Live Forever took the stage.

ANWTLF plays in a style that’s grounded in ’90s rock. On their Facebook page, some of the bands they list as being fans of or being influenced by are Sunny Day Real Estate, Nirvana, The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, Lenny Kravitz, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon and Muse. Although I didn’t keep tabs on their setlist, they played for a good amount of time. I’d imagine probably 45 minutes or so at least and I think they closed with “California Waiting” by Kings of Leon. It was a decent set. This type of rock music isn’t really my thing but there were a few good songs in the bunch. The music of A New Way To Live Forever is definitely worlds away from Ratt ‘n’ roll! They seemed like a cool group of guys though. They hung out after their set for photos and autographs and to sell their CD. They even stayed around to drink beer, shoot pool and watch Pearcy’s set.

But now to the main event: Stephen Pearcy! I haven’t been able to find any info on who the members of his “Ratt Bastards” solo band are other than guitarist Erik Ferentinos. The show was by no means a sell-out. It’s a decent sized club and I’d bet by the time Pearcy played there was maybe 200 people there. As Pearcy said, “It doesn’t matter whether to me whether it’s 10 people or 10,000 people. It’s all a party!” Most of the crowd was as close to the stage as possible for Stephen’s entire set and they were into the show with fists in the air and singing along to every word.

I remember years ago the internet bashing Stephen Pearcy’s live performances pretty bad, posting them on YouTube and whatnot. I personally thought he gave a good performance on Saturday night. Yeah, his voice isn’t as strong as it once was but when you sing in that gritty nasally style that he does and you’re in your mid-50s, you’re not going to sound like you did on Out of the Cellar! Guys like Pearcy, Bret Michaels and Vince Neil catch a lot of flak for their live performances but considering their age and style of music they play, they do fine. It’s rock ‘n’ roll, not opera! It’s the spirit that matters, I don’t care if they can’t hit every note live.

Stephen Pearcy’s setlist:
Lay It Down
You’re In Love
Lack of Communication
Wanted Man
Slip of the Lip
I’m Insane
You Think You’re Tough
Way Cool Jr.
U Got It
Sweet Cheater
Body Talk
Heading Out to the Highway [Judas Priest cover]
Back For More
Round And Round

As you can see, Pearcy played pretty much all of the hits you’d want if you went to see a Ratt show. I was hoping he’d play “Best of Me”, which was the single from 2010’s Infestation, but I can understand why he didn’t since it’s hard to count that as a “hit” for Ratt. I was actually quite surprised he didn’t throw in any Arcade or solo stuff. His solo material is a bit too industrial & alternative for me but I wouldn’t have minded it at all if he tossed in anything from the first Arcade record. That’s a great album.

For $15, I discovered one decent band and got to see a hair metal legend sing all of his hits from Ratt. Not a bad night at all. Well worth the money if Stephen Pearcy ever comes near your town.

RATT – Infestation

Ratt – Infestation (2010, Roadrunner Records/Loud & Proud Records)

1. “Eat Me Up Alive”… 4:13
2. “Best Of Me” … 4:19
3. “A Little Too Much” … 4:05
4. “Look Out Below” … 3:44
5. “Last Call” … 3:55
6. “Lost Weekend” … 3:46
7. “As Good As It Gets” … 4:38
8. “Garden Of Eden” … 3:03
9. “Take A Big Bite” … 2:46
10. “Take Me Home” … 4:23
11. “Don’t Let Go” … 3:22

Band:
Stephen Pearcy – Lead vocals
Warren DeMartini – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Carlos Cavazo – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Robbie Crane – Bass
Bobby Blotzer – Drums

Producer: Michael “Elvis” Baskette

Wow, when did Roadrunner Records become so cool? They used to be a safe haven for post-grunge and nu-metal acts (and really, they still are). Now, not only do they have KISS, Megadeth, Sammy Hagar, Dream Theater, Airbourne, Slash, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Rob Zombie signed to various deals but Ratt as well!

I had been looking forward to this album for a long time. In fact, it’s been one of my most anticipated releases for 2010. There are times where you can predict an album’s quality before it comes out. A time when you have a “feeling” before hearing the first note. My “feeling” was right about Chickenfoot, wrong about Slash but I was right once again for Ratt. I was feelin’ good vibes, man, over the idea of some new Ratt music.

For fans of Ratt’s early albums, Infestation will not let you down. It is a conscious effort to relive the glory days of Out of the Cellar and Invasion of Your Privacy. Personally, I enjoy all of Ratt’s albums (well, I haven’t bothered with their 1999 self-title due to so many poor reviews I’ve read), even the glossed up sounds of Detonator, which I think is underrated. But Infestation leaves the polish at home and gets back to filthy sleazy Ratt ‘n’ roll.

Despite whatever live concert reports may say, I think Stephen Pearcy sounds just as good as ever on tape (of course, technology has improved too!). The only thing that’s lacking from band performance is there just doesn’t seem to be enough spotlight shining on Warren DeMartini. Maybe I’m crazy but I just don’t think he had a strong enough presence on the album. That’s a minor quibble though.

The album starts off great with a pair of classic sounding Ratt songs: “Eat Me Up Alive” and “Best of Me”. “Best of Me” is my favorite song on the album and it’s the lead single. New Ratt pack member Carlos Cavazo (ex-Quiet Riot) actually wrote the majority of that song so he’s already off to fitting in with Ratt because it sounds exactly like old school Ratt.

The rest of the album keeps up with the band’s mid ’80s heyday delivering one dirty rocker after another. The album’s sole slow moment is “Take Me Home”, which is definitely the weakest track and possibly the weakest Ratt song I’ve heard to date. It sounds like the album’s lone effort to sound modern. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this as the next single, if they release a second single. I love the string arrangement but it’s the first half of the song that ruins the whole track for me.

Overall, this is a more than worthy addition to the Ratt catalog. I’m not sure where I’d rank it yet though. It’s still too fresh and I love their previous efforts so much but this is an album definitely worth checking out for Ratt fans. It will not disappoint.

I ordered my copy from Roadrunner’s website a few weeks before the release. With the pre-order you immediately got a digital download copy of “Eat Me Up Alive” and the album arrived with an extra CD booklet signed by the band! How cool is that?

Signed booklet

Highlights: “Eat Me Up Alive”, “Best Of Me”, “Look Out Below”, “Last Call”, “Lost Weekend”, “As Good As It Gets”

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RATT – Detonator

Ratt – Detonator (1990, Atlantic Records)

1. “Intro to Shame”  … 0:57
2. “Shame, Shame, Shame” … 4:32
3. “Lovin’ You’s a Dirty Job” … 3:15
4. “Scratch That Itch” … 3:17
5. “One Step Away” … 4:50
6. “Hard Time” … 3:47
7. “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose” … 3:59
8. “All or Nothing” … 4:15
9. “Can’t Wait on Love” … 4:04
10. “Givin’ Yourself Away” … 5:27
11. “Top Secret” … 3:50

Band:
Stephen Pearcy – Vocals
Warren DeMartini – Guitar
Robbin Crosby – Guitar
Juan Croucier – Bass
Bobby Blotzer – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Jon Bon Jovi – Backing Vocals
Desmond Child – Backing Vocals

Produced by: Desmond Child

Ah, now this is more like it! This would be the final album from the glory days of Ratt and it definitely delivered a more Rattier sound than what Reach for the Sky did, but truthfully, this is still a slick album, “Givin’ Yourself Away” is Exhibit A of that. The band traded one slick producer for another by parting ways with Beau Hill and hooking up with Desmond Child, who also co-wrote ever song with the band and even brought along Jon Bon Jovi for backing vocals.

Still, songs like “Shame Shame Shame and “Lovin’ You’s a Dirty Job’ are classic Ratt and this is definitely a must-have release for Ratt fans. Unfortunately, the album didn’t sell as well as their previous releases, “only” going Gold.

This album was the end of an era due to internal band conflicts and a change in the musical climate.

Highlights: “Shame Shame Shame”, “Lovin’ You’s a Dirty Job”, “One Step Away”, “All or Nothing”, “Can’t Wait on Love”, “Givin’ Yourself Away”

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RATT – Reach for the Sky

Ratt – Reach for the Sky (1988, Atlantic Records)

1. “City to City” … 3:31
2. “I Want a Woman” … 3:59
3. “Way Cool Jr.” … 4:27
4. “Don’t Bite the Hand That Feeds” … 3:09
5. “I Want to Love You Tonight” … 4:27
6. “Chain Reaction” … 3:43
7. “No Surprise” … 4:03
8. “Bottom Line” … 4:23
9. “What’s It Gonna Be” … 4:07
10. “What I’m After” … 3:36

Band:
Stephen Pearcy – Vocals
Warren DeMartini – Guitar
Robbin Crosby – Guitar
Juan Croucier – Bass
Bobby Blotzer – Drums

Produced by: Beau Hill and Mike Stone

This was the final album from Ratt’s original run that I picked up. I ended up ordering it online years ago during a CD splurge, and the main reason it took me so long to track it down is because of the poor reviews the album has received. Those reviews were pretty right on because Reach for the Sky is by far the weakest Ratt effort… Well, until their 1999 self-titled “comeback” album that is.

Here, we see the band continues to opt for an even more commercial poppy sound that was started with Dancing Undercover. The edge is gone on this album and Ratt as ventures into by-the-numbers pop metal, which didn’t really make sense because Dancing Undercover didn’t sell as well as the first two albums, so why bother to continue going in the same direction?

Though there’s a lot of uninspired songs here, nothing gets close to being terrible, it’s just generic. The best songs from this album don’t stand up to the rest of Ratt’s catalog. Fortunately, producer Beau Hill (who I usually like, but I think he stuck around with Ratt for way too long) would *not* produced the next album…

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Highlights: “City to City”, “I Want a Woman”, “Way Cool Jr.”, “I Want to Love You Tonight”, “What’s It Gonna Be”

RATT – Dancing Undercover

Ratt – Dancing Undercover (1986, Atlantic Records)

1. “Dance” … 4:17
2. “One Good Lover” … 3:06
3. “Drive Me Crazy” … 3:42
4. “Slip of the Lip” … 3:15
5. “Body Talk” … 3:44
6. “Looking for Love” … 3:09
7. “7th Avenue” … 3:11
8. “It Doesn’t Matter” … 3:08
9. “Take a Chance” … 4:00
10. “Enough Is Enough” … 3:23

Band:
Stephen Pearcy: Vocals
Warren DeMartini: Guitar
Robbin Crosby: Guitar
Juan Croucier: Bass
Bobby Blotzer: Drums

Produced by: Beau Hill

The band’s third release in three years, and fourth in four years if you wanna count 1983’s Ratt EP. By this point, the band was going sounding slicker and more polished, to keep up with the new wave of pop metal bands, and still had Beau Hill at the helm as producer. But it’s still another solid release of catchy pop metal though the guitars don’t get much of a chance to shine that I’ll pull out every now and then. Even so, “Dance” and “Slip of the Lip” are pop metal gems.

Highlights: “Dance”, “One Good Lover”, “Drive Me Crazy”, “Slip of the Lip”, “Body Talk”

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RATT – Invasion of Your Privacy

Ratt – Invasion of Your Privacy (1985, Atlantic Records)

1. “You’re in Love” … 3:12
2. “Never Use Love” … 3:54
3. “Lay It Down” … 3:23
4. “Give It All” … 3:19
5. “Closer to My Heart” … 4:30
6. “Between the Eyes” … 3:54
7. “What You Give Is What You Get” … 3:47
8. “Got Me on the Line” … 3:04
9. “You Should Know by Now” … 3:29
10. “Dangerous but Worth the Risk” … 3:30

Band:
Stephen Pearcy: Vocals
Warren DeMartini: Guitar
Robbin Crosby: Guitar
Juan Croucier: Bass
Bobby Blotzer: Drums

Produced by: Beau Hill

The great thing (or maybe not so great depending on your tastes) is that most Ratt albums sound the same. But like I said, it’s a good thing. Invasion of Your Privacy was an immediate follow-up to Out of the Cellar, and not surprisingly, Beau Hill returned to produce and you could easily scramble the tracks from both albums and it would still flow together just fine, though I w

Invasion of Your Privacy = Out of the Cellar II, though it’s not *as* consistent as Out of the Cellar was.

Even though the album played it safe, they came up with some of Ratt’s best songs: “Lay It Down” (another signature song alongside “Round and Round”) and “You’re In Love”.

Highlights: “You’re In Love”, “Never Use Love”, “Lay It Down”, “Give It All”, “You Should Know by Now”

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RATT – Out of the Cellar

Ratt – Out of the Cellar (1984, Atlantic Records)

1. “Wanted Man” … 3:37
2. “You’re in Trouble” … 3:16
3. “Round and Round” … 4:22
4. “In Your Direction” … 3:30
5. “She Wants Money” … 3:04
6. “Lack of Communication” … 3:52
7. “Back for More” … 3:42
8. “The Morning After” … 3:30
9. “I’m Insane” … 2:54
10. “Scene of the Crime” … 4:54

Band:
Stephen Pearcy – Vocals
Warren DeMartini – Guitar
Robbin Crosby – Guitar
Juan Croucier – Bass
Bobby Blotzer – Drums

Produced by: Beau Hill

Ratt is one of my absolute favorite hair/pop metal bands and this album is a great example of why.

Stephen Pearcy’s voice gets knocked a lot, but I think it was and still is a great fit for a pop metal band like Ratt and the guitar work from DeMartini and Crosby cannot be denied.

This is probably Ratt’s best release, IMO, even though I like their other ones a lot too. The one-two punch of “Lack of Communication” and “Back for More” (my favorite Ratt song) really put this album over the top for me. Ratt rode the line between sounding sleazy and slick with ease and did a great job of it with Beau Hill producing (as he would do for a total of four Ratt albums).

“Round and Round” is the band’s best known song and it’s still good enough to be an album highlight, but by this point, I’m sick of it. It’s still all over radio, 80s rock compilations and VH1 Classic and has become one of the signature songs of the genre, but ENOUGH! I’ve heard that song enough to last me the rest of my life.

Highlights: “Wanted Man”, “You’re In Trouble”, “Round and Round”, “In Your Direction”, “Lack of Communication”, “Back for More”, “I’m Insane”, “Scene of the Crime”

www.therattpack.com
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