The LA music scene back in the 1980s exploded globally around 1983 when Quiet Riot's album "Metal Health" became the first heavy metal album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
And RATT was one of the original bands that grew out of the clubs on the Sunset Strip and reaped the benefits of Quiet Riot's success that helped put the spotlight on the whole LA music scene, as every record executive wanted to sign the next up-and-coming band from Los Angeles. RATT would go on to sell nearly 10 million albums and play to millions of fans at sold-out shows in arenas across the country.
And now, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of RATT's formation, the founding members of RATT have come together to bring the band's first box set - RATT: The Atlantic Years 1984-1990 - that features the five albums from Atlantic Records and RATT's massively successful period that still is a testament to the power of RATT's music even four decades later.
RATT never really had a box set, so this gave us a chance to get everyone involved, and without the lawyers, to put this box set together," said Stephen Pearcy during an interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group. "It is the five records from the core members of RATT and the albums that made us who we are. All the band members had input into what went into the box set. I even added some extra goodies, something that I know Robbin would have liked to share with the fans. It is a great representation of the five guys and the whole Sunset Strip experience. The only thing missing is the RATT EP, but that's coming soon enough.
RATT, the brainchild of singer Stephen Pearcy and guitarist Robbin Crosby, was one of the last band's from the LA scene to get signed, but they put their stamp on rock and roll history with their infectious songs and intense stage show.
Pearcy and Crosby formed a powerful songwriting team that helped forge the sound on their early tracks that would propel them to international stardom with the 1984 release of their major label debut "Out of the Cellar." The band, which featured Pearcy Crosby, guitarist Warren DeMartini, bass player Juan Croucier and drummer Bobby Blotzer, ruled the American arenas for most of the 1980s, with their songs becoming a staple in the soundtrack of so many kid's lives. And the band's music is still being immortalized in television commercials, TV shows and movies.
Pearcy, who has kept the RATT flag flying high, as he plays over 150 shows a year in venues around the country and bringing the Sunset Strip experience to the fans that still appreciate their music and in an era when so many bands from the 80s have called it quits.
So many bands from the 80s are pulling out," he said. "I mean this is getting to be an end of an era. That's why I'm out with my Susnet Strip experience and fans are diggin' it. They pack the venues and really get to into our live show, which is what really stood RATT apart from so many bands of that era.
The box set has two collections: the vinyl set features all five albums - Out of the Cellar (1984), Invasion of Your Privacy (1985), Dancing Undercover (1986), Reach for the Sky (1988) and Detonator (1990) - remastered on 180g black vinyl. The box set also features the rare “Nobody Rides For Free” 7 single, a 12 page replica tour book (featuring rare and never before seen photos from RATT’s personal archives), 11x17 WANTED POSTER, bumper sticker, replica backstage pass, and guitar pick in a custom lift top box.
Pearcy said this box set has everything "except the sweat off his brow while he was on stage in front of 20,000 fans.
While talking with Pearcy, you can't help but get the sense that he is not only the keeper of the RATT legacy, but he holds sacred that whole LA scene that saw bands like Motley Crue, Dokken, Great White, and Quiet Riot not only take on the world with their music, but there was also a sort of brotherhood that existed. Pearcy said that during the early years, he would hang out with Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, and Vince Neil from Motley Crue and other musicians as they all were trying to find the roadmap that would lead them to superstardom.
And Pearcy said it all started with Van Halen's debut album in 1978.
People have to remember that after Van Halen released their album in 1978, there were only a handful of bands that really helped kickstart this whole LA music scene," he said. "There was Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P. and then you had Roxx Regime, which turned into Stryper and Dante Fox, which became Great White. Then you had RATT. I mean everything was new back then and for RATT, we concentrated on our live show. I'll put RATT up against any band back then because we'd kick their ass. Our live show was crazy and that is what helped us sell 100,000 copies of our RATT EP. It was a crazy time.
Pearcy said that it was the concentration on putting on a quality live show that they felt set RATT apart, and they immediately connected with fans.
"We really hit a nerve with fans," he said. "The LA scene back in the 80s was so new and after Quiet Riot showed the record executives that hard rock and metal could be lucrative and a money maker, bands like RATT, Motley Crue, Dokken were all given the spotlight and we put our stamp on rock and roll history."
The box set opens with the band's 1984 major label debut "Out of the Cellar," which featured the global hit "Round and Round," a song with a catchy hook and an unforgettable music video that instantly made them superstars practically overnight.
'Round and Round' was the song that put us on the global map and MTV latched on to it and made RATT a household name almost overnight," he said. "I mean we couldn't go anywhere after that video aired without people recognizing us in some small town in the Midwest. I mean one day we're nobody's and the next day we're being played two or three times and hour on the biggest radio station in the world - MTV. It changed our lives from that moment on. We all knew that nothing was ever going to be the same again.
The music video, which featured TV legend Milton Berle, and massive radio airplay propelled "Round and Round" to No. 12 on the Billboard charts. The album would feature two more singles "Wanted Man," a fan favorite in the band's live set and "Lack of Communication." The album would go on to sell three million albums. The album sales also helped RATT go from an opening act at the beginning of their 1984 tour to a headliner pretty quickly, playing in the biggest arenas in the States.
Not one to rest on laurels, RATT was back in the studio to record "Invasion of Your Privacy," which produced two of the best known RATT songs in “Lay It Down” and “You’re In Love.” It would go on to sell two million albums and a highly successful tour with opening act Bon Jovi.
Pearcy said that the Los Angeles was crazy back in the day, with the party going nonstop and every band taking advantage of any indulgences they could find.
The Sunset Strip scene was nuts back then," he said. "I mean the party was 24/7 back then and I don't think we ever slept. I mean if we weren't playing, we were writing music and going to see other bands. You have to understand that the LA scene was really out of control, but out of that chaos came some great music. But it is a moment in time that will never happen again.
"Dancing Undercover" followed in 1986 as RATT toured North America with a brand new LA band called Poison as the opening act. Lead single “Dance” hit the Billboard Hot 100 and spawned another music video hit with “Slip Of The Lip”, while “Body Talk” was featured in a key scene in the Eddie Murphy film, ‘The Golden Child’. ‘Dancing Undercover’ became RATT's third consecutive platinum album and reached No. 26 on the Billboard Top 200.
1988’s "Reach For The Sky" saw RATT return to the Top 20 of the Billboard Top 200 album charts, peaking at No. 17. Driven by the bluesy hit and MTV favorite “Way Cool Jr.”, "Reach For The Sky" was also certified platinum and became RATT’s fourth album in a row to move well over a million copies.
RATT released their last full-length record of the Atlantic era, "Detonator," in 1990. It peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Top 200 and went gold.
In 1991, they released the single “Nobody Rides For Free” from the hit film Point Break starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, which is exclusive to the LP box.
Turmoil within the band and substance abuse led to RATT parting ways with Crosby, who would check into rehab in 1991 after returning from his final shows with the band in Japan. Crosby would sadly pass away in 2001. Pearcy and RATT have reunited under different incarnations and lineup changes, but haven't played together with all surviving members of the band since 2014.
Pearcy has often said that RATT isn't really the band he remembers without his old songwriting buddy.
"I still miss him every day," he said. "He was the leader of the band. He kept the band together. So when he left the band, RATT fell apart. I knew it was pretty much the end of what we were as a band. It was never the same."
The one album not featured in the box set is the RATT EP that was released independently in 1983. It developed after Crosby and Pearcy moved up to Los Angeles from San Diego in 1980 with separate bands. Eventually, Crosby's band would fold and he joined forces with Pearcy in what would become RATT.
After writing a solid lineup of songs, they felt they were ready to find some likeminded players and make a record and the RATT EP was born. Pearcy still considers the EP the album that he feels really captured the raw power of the band before fame and the trappings of success would find its way into the band.
The one album that I think represents RATT and our sound the best is the RATT EP," he said. "That was when Robbin and I had the same vision and it was incredible writing those songs with him. The first song we wrote together for the EP was "You Think You're Tough" and that is the song that got us radio airplay in Los Angeles and eventually got us signed to Atlantic Records. I mean we sold like 80,000 to 100,000 albums ourselves on an independent label. Robbin and I then we went out and recruited the best guys we could find to bring our vision to life. You can really hear how raw we sounded on that EP. We didn't have the big production like on our later albums. This was just five guys who wanted to kick ass every time we got on that stage.
Pearcy says that he plans to release the EP hopefully by the end of the year and maybe limit the printing to 100,000 copies to duplicate the number of albums the band sold based solely on the quality of the music and their intense live show.
With thousands of shows and nearly 10 million albums sold, Pearcy says he doesn't have many regrets, but one is that he never concentrated on developing the fan base overseas during the band's heyday.
"We had so many fans in Europe and Argentina and we were selling a lot of records overseas, but we never really developed our following overseas like you see Metallica did," he said. "They did a great job of developing their fan base outside of America, and I think RATT should have done that as well. We toured Japan a lot and had great fans there every time we played there, but we concentrated on America. Who knows how big we could have become had we taken the RATT experience global."
There isn't a day doesn't go by when Pearcy isn't asked if the surviving members of RATT will ever get back on stage and perform again. He said he was happy to see the band come together, in a sense, for the creation of the box set, but isn't holding out much hope for a full on reunion.
"I talk to Bobby sometimes. I haven't talked to Warren in years," he said. "I mean I'm out there performing and bringing the Sunset Strip experience to the people. Fans area really loving the show, but I'm not out there as RATT. The only true RATT reunion would be all of the (surviving) members on stage again. You can't just have one or two. That isn't RATT. "
The RATT: Atlantic Years 1984-1990 box set is available now.
CLICK HERE for more info on Stephen Pearcy's Sunset Strip Experience.
RATT- Atlantic Years Box Set Tracklist:
1. Wanted Man (Cristofanilli/Crosby/Pearcy)
2. You’re In Trouble (DeMartini/Pearcy/Crosby)
3. Round And Round (DeMartini/Pearcy/Crosby)
4. In Your Direction (Pearcy)
5. She Wants Money (Croucier)
6. Lack Of Communication (Croucier/Pearcy)
7. Back For More (Pearcy/Crosby)
8. The Morning After (DeMartini/Pearcy/Crosby)
9. I’m Insane (Crosby)
10. Scene Of The Crime (Crosby/Croucier)
1. You’re In Love (Croucier/Pearcy)
2. Never Use Love (Pearcy)
3. Lay It Down (DeMartini/Pearcy/Crosby/Croucier)
4. Give It All (Pearcy/Crosby)
5. Closer To My Heart (Crosby/Pearcy)
6. Between The Eyes (DeMartini/Pearcy)
7. What You Give Is What You Get (Croucier)
8. Got Me On The Line (Crosby/Pearcy)
9. You Should Know By Now (Crosby/Pearcy/Croucier)
10. Dangerous But Worth The Risk (DeMartini/Pearcy/Croucier)
1. Dance (Pearcy/Crosby/DeMartini/Hill)
2. One Good Lover (Crosby/Pearcy)
3. Drive Me Crazy (Pearcy/Crosby/DeMartini/Blotzer)
4. Slip Of The Lip (DeMartini/Pearcy/Croucier)
5. Body Talk (DeMartini/Pearcy/Croucier)
6. Looking For Love (Crosby/Pearcy/Croucier)
7. 7th Avenue (DeMartini/Pearcy/Croucier)
8. It Doesn’t Matter (Croucier/Pearcy)
9. Take A Chance (DeMartini/Pearcy/Crosby/Croucier)
10. Enough Is Enough (DeMartini/Pearcy/Crosby/Croucier)
1. City To City (Pearcy/Crosby/DeMartini/Croucier/Hill)
2. I Want A Woman (Crosby/Pearcy/Croucier/Hill)
3. Way Cool Jr. (DeMartini/Pearcy/Hill)
4. Don’t Bite The Hand That Feeds (Pearcy/Crosby/Croucier/Hill)
5. I Want To Love You Tonight (DeMartini/Crosby/Pearcy)
6. Chain Reaction (DeMartini/Pearcy/Croucier)
7. No Surprise (DeMartini/Pearcy)
8. Bottom Line (Croucier/Pearcy/DeMartini/Crosby/Hill)
9. What’s It Gonna Be (Croucier/DeMartini/Crosby/Pearcy/Hill)
10. What I’m After (Croucier/Pearcy)
1. Intro To Shame (DeMartini)
2. Shame Shame Shame (DeMartini/Pearcy/Child)
3. Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job (DeMartini/Pearcy/Croucier/Child)
4. Scratch That Itch (Croucier/Pearcy/Child)
5. One Step Away (Blotzer/Pearcy/DeMartini/Croucier/Child)
6. Hard Time (DeMartini/Pearcy/Child)
7. Heads I Win, Tails You Lose (DeMartini/Pearcy/Child)
8. All Or Nothing (DeMartini/Pearcy/Crosby/Kilgore/Child)
9. Can’t Wait On Love (Crosby/Croucier/DeMartini/Pearcy/Blotzer/Child)
10. Givin’ Yourself Away (Child/Warren/Pearcy)
11. Top Secret (Pearcy/DeMartini/Child)
“Nobody Rides For Free” – 7” Single – Exclusive to LP box