Zrock exclusive! Stephen Pearcy Interview
by Jarrod Vrazel : zrock.com
Photo courtesy of stephen-pearcy.com
The Bastards of Metal Tour has been pushed back to 2005 due to routing, weather, and change of agents. The 2005 Bastards of Metal tour will be an even bigger event (Joey Belladdonna x-Anthrax will stay a Bastard) with more artists to be added. Stephen and his Mickey Ratt’s with be on tour supporting FUELER on his solo tour thru summer 2005 starting November of this year.
I interviewed Ratt founder and ex-lead vocalist Stephen Pearcy to discuss Bastards of Metal and Ratt n Roll:
ZRock: In 1985, People Weekly quoted you as stating, We’re not into politics or the devil or even heavy metal. We’re into playing rock n roll. We want to make Ratt establishment, to become a huge band, like Zeppelin or Van Halen. Has your music met your expectations?
Stephen: Yes and no. Yes, You see the world (or however much you can or want to) you get enough drugs to put down a rhino; you play the big shows, travel and see the big small world, etc. For me it was and still remains the three P’s. (Pussy, Party, Paycheck) in no particular order as long as it was the best. I have since eliminated one of the P’s. And still encourage that belief as much as possible. Again, thru many elements Ratt couldn’t get to the tip top in the years we had available (1983-1991). I believe the original Ratt band accomplished more than anyone could imagine and I do appreciate the people who still get off on me doing my Ratt music to this day. Our song Round & Round was used by NASA 2004 recently to wake up the Rover for a few weeks, being one of the first bands (rock) to be played on Mars. So yes, the music did achieve great life and will continue, that is a good trademark for any band.
No, because I haven’t yet seen the true accomplishments from the band Ratt. We didn’t have time to mature together. It is the 20th anniversary of Out of the Cellar (1984-2004) I will keep that in mind. There are two elements on a long term destruction course to see the original band members or Ratt from ever giving back to the hard core fans. Really sick in a way, as long as they can fool the public with my picture to sell a ticket and it doesn’t benefit the founder and original lead singer or former member be it dead or alive from Ratt there happy to keep misleading what audience is left for them with the Ratt logo and trademarks I created. It was a case of them two firing a corporate director to use the Ratt logos to tour. They could make more money paying someone else a lot less then the original lead singer. Or the guy who started the band Ratt. (lol) Upset? Not really, the courts will take care of that legal b.s. and I will take care of the rest by having the best players involved in the re recordings of the Ratt songs. Ratt cannot release any product titled Ratt without me getting benefits and god forbid De Martini and Blotzer have to pay for something they didn’t create, again. They should really give Ratt some integrity and shit or get off the pot. Round two is on the way for them! They should be honest to the fans and really let people know I’m not singing in the band Ratt and have not been for four years.
ZRock: What’s the status of the book you were writing about Ratt’s rise to fame and eventual implosion?
Stephen: I have been and always working on. Rat Tails is a work in progress and not solely about the rise and default of the band Ratt. I wanted it out last year but there is still commotion in the Ratt Ocean (unfinished corporate shit) and unless there is some kind of closure on related topics I still have a lot to put down for the book. I’m seriously thinking about early 2005. The Ratt 20th has a lot to do with the book also.
I need good timing with the new related music releases. The book is about someone who wants, gets and is sharing life experiences in achieving the goal of big band, gold and platinum releases, big tours, big drugs, big money and a whole lot of four wall bunny ball! (Expression Robbin and I came up with for constant sexual encounters on the road and how many women a day). Fun stuff.
ZRock: Many bands that were playing the LA scene rose to fame in the 80’s, traveled the same circles, partied together, and jammed together. Several achieved huge success to varying degrees in the 80’s and 90’s, and then seemed to drift out of sight. In the last 4-5 years, many of the bands are enjoying a renaissance of sorts. How have attitudes or relationships changed in the past 20 years?
Stephen: I think if you dedicate yourself to what you wanted to achieve and want a life in the music media business like a lot of the LA music scene bands or anyone from the 80-90’s music scene.
Relationships I wouldn’t know. I made a few, lost a few and still see a few. I was always within the Ratt world and pretty much kept that interest, you can’t trust everyone. And then again you can’t even trust your once band mates. With attitude you’re seeing some bands that had some success be it a gold album or a couple platinum releases finally figure they can create and market on there own. Some are successful at it and some just take what they can for what it’s worth. Again some 80’s bands like the Ratt you might go see without me, with them they are just sucking the last drop of marquee value left instead of really trying to reestablish that initial success and move forward. To bad for some, What comes around goes around .
ZRock: Have you had any recent contact with any of the ol Ratt gang?
Stephen: Ol Ratt Gang. Yes, in and out of court with a couple. I speak to Juan the original bass player from Ratt. And Robbin (RIP) I actually talk to all the time.You know, I have recently tried to get the original members to settle up and move ahead for the best of all the original members and the fans but found that De Martini has Blotzer by the nuts and since my involuntary withdraw from my band Ratt in 2000 I have seen total destruction of a once mighty Ratt band. So I am just protecting my interests in the Ratt Partnership or what’s left, and moving ahead. Disgusting, actually.
ZRock: In the past you’ve had collaborations with Jake E Lee (early Ratt), Fred Coury (Arcade), and Al Petrelli (Vertex). Do you have any plans to work with any of them in the near future?
Stephen: Jake E. Lee was in my band Ratt in 1981-82 when I dropped the Mickey from Mickey Ratt. Always had a very original thing going, besides Jake E wouldn’t take shit from nobody, myself included. He went to Dio after Ratt. Great player. I recently have been re recording the whole Ratt catalog with many players from all genres of music. George Lynch is on (8-9) Mickey Ratt and Ratt songs for release on Cleopatra Records for 2005. Tracci Gunns also plays on that compilation. I have other titles from Mickey Ratt and Rat Attack (re recorded Ratt hits compilations) being released next year on Top Fuel Records. Way collectible pre Ratt and more! Fred Coury and I go way back and decided to put a side project (Arcade, on Epic Records) together in 1992 and 1993. Did ok around that time. We wanted to step outside and look at our bands (Ratt and Cinderella) from a different perspective. Very healthy, we toured for three years behind those Arcade releases. Look for new stuff from Arcade (Arcade A/4, Best of… ) on Top Fuel Records.
Al Petrelli I meet thru a woman at Dolphin Records. They had a lot of money for us to be creative and we did. With Hiro Kuritoni (from Japan) on drums and Al and me writing we put together Vertex. Very fuckin cool muzik, hard core and deep. Again very healthy. Al and I wrote more than half that original music in about a day. It was supposed to click and it did. I love that cd, very deep shit. We tried so many different things in the studio. Al banging drum sticks on a grand piano and me singing thru long tubes with the mike at the end. Back and forth with the lyrics and writing. It was very mind working to be different and be conscious of it from the start. We toured that record in 1996 and didn’t care what anybody thought. We just wanted to introduce another part of ourselves musically and we did just that. Very proud of that Vertex effort.
ZRock: What can the fans expect from Fueler, your upcoming solo release?
Stephen: Muzik that is aggressive and right to the point. Very direct and I didn’t want to get to polished or waste ear time with Fueler . Meaning I have been there and done that so I approach the recording and releasing of my products differently since I started my own label (Top Fuel Records in 1995) for myself and the bands I sign. We make ourselves happy first then see if it sticks. For me it’s all about getting my point across and directly as possible and done in a memorable fashion. Not what is in fashion.
The songs are about what I was going thru the last couple years and I did try and be careful in not putting anything on there that wouldn’t be cohesive. All get up and go muzik! And I wanted to re introduce some Ratt songs in a different manner. I love the way those (3) Ratt songs came out. I call them the stripper mixes, perfect sex muzik. It fits the bill very nicely. All in all I am very happy with the out come of Fueler and the direction it took. Race cars and a lot of serious shit except for maybe ’dream Machine , it’s a tongue in cheek kind of thing.
The songs are very direct to who and why. I also wrote most of the stuff on the spot. That was deliberate. I have always wanted to do songs that way, some. It gets you cracking and really using the brain. Also time again played a role. I wanted to have the same studio and people involved in Fueler who where with me on Social Intercourse . Having Ken Lewis come in and mixing the first single for the video ’drive with me is insane! Amazing fuckin guy. I am very proud of this. It’s heavy, direct in motion, fast and colorful, and all good. Short and sweet!
ZRock: What’s the story behind covering Real Life’s Send Me An Angel on Fueler?
Stephen: I was hanging with Mark Zavon (JRZ / 40 Cycle Hum) guitarists, he played with my solo band for a few years) and he was playing me this song and I freaked. I said we had to record it and just instigate the territory for Fueler and we liked it. So I wanted to put it on there but never really pushed it once I had the true direction and subject for Fueler . I like it but not going on the CD. Odd for me to do but it worked in getting a little attention. I’m going to redo the song 96 Tears next by Question Mark and The Mysterious just for the hell of it. Fucked up! Next!
ZRock: Your Rat Attack project of twenty re-recorded Ratt songs is rumored to include George Lynch and Tracii Guns on guitar. Any updates regarding the musicians involved, projected release date, and is a Rat Attack tour planned?
Stephen: There will be two re recording compilations of Ratt Music. One, the Cleopatra release with George Lynch and Tracci and my Rat Attack of never released pre Ratt originals and re recordings with various players. These can’t be confused. One is the guitar player compilation, the other Top Fuel Records best of… 84-04.
ZRock: Round one of the Bastards of Metal has been pushed back to 2005. What’s your vision and long-term goals for Bastards of Metal?
Stephen: Yeah, we are getting off to a strange start, then again anything different will be looked at as that. I had the idea stolen from an agency I approached earlier this year and they kind of tainted the water. So I have to get the rudest bastards I can find, people who want to take a chance and be involved in a new idea. We have faith; we ll see where it goes. For now it’s ALL touring, ALL the time thru 2005. Everything’s Fueler .
ZRock: In addition to bastard vocalists, do you have any plans to feature bastard guitarists, bassists, or drummers? What’s the game plan for the shows?
Stephen: Eventually I’d like the Bastards of Metal to be a yearly summer event, more of an alternative to the Ozzfest ya know. Drag cars and big guitars. I really see it as an all out bastard’s event, sure. I have thought about that concept.
ZRock: Twenty years ago, you toured with Motley Crue. In light of the projected Motley tour in 2005, any chance of you hitting the road again with Vince and the Crue?
Stephen: If they want a real Ratt Bastard, sure. Bring it on! I’ve always loved the Crue. When we use to troll the sunset strip in 1981-83 it was the rudest, fuckin coolist shit going down every night, then Motley moved near the Whiskey a Go Go. Insanity. Ratt and Motley did more shows in L.A. pre label days and only a handful in 1984. I’ve always wanted to see a Motley Ratt Tour. But, you still have two terrible business minded former partners in WBS, Inc (the Ratt touring entity which Stephen removed himself from) department who have no common sense for that kind of big business. Next!
ZRock: Your Top Fuel Dragster is scheduled to debut at the World Finals in Pomona, CA November 11-14. Do you have any special plans to integrate your music with NHRA events?
Stephen: I had music with ESPN2 and for the NHRA Drag Racing Series 2001-2003 and look forward to 2005 with both NHRA and ESPN2 for anything Race music orientated. The Top Fuel car with Revolver Magazine (the Worlds Loudest Rock Magazine) and Rightrock.com tried to get the car at Pomona earlier in the year. We had a rainout. Yeah, I will be at Pamona for the world finals and we hope to debut the car there. My band will also play in the pits next to the car. Can you hear it now, Round & Round going back to back with the Dragster? Fuck yes I can! And you will! Be there!!!!!
ZRock: 80’s rock has been described as making a comeback for well over five years. Some would argue that the music never went away, but instead it’s mainstream music that’s regaining its senses. What are your feelings regarding the current state of the music business?
Stephen: What comes around goes around! It’s all just music to me. If it hits a chord you get the feeling. I don’t believe in any state of music. I believe as the major labels were getting choked in the 90’s the listening public were forced fed and will continue to be force fed. That’s why we are seeing or have been seeing a lot of independence with the way bands new and established bands take the recording procedure, sale, marketing and release of new product. I knew in 1995 starting my own indie label would give me the opportunity to do all the things the major labels forgot and not be concerned about when, where and how my music is treated in the commercial market place. I also don’t worry that any new release of mine or from Top Fuel Records does not get the attention in the creative process, writing or personal satisfaction department. Bottom line if you have good music it will be heard and for the labels you get the sale.
ZRock: If you could get each and every of your top choices to participate, who would comprise your ’dream Bastards of Metal All-Star Jam?
Stephen: Good question, I actually approached a lot of singers and found great interest but a lot of cold feet. We know and are willing to take time and develop the Bastards of Metal concept tour idea. I would like to see an (A and B) Bastards tour out there eventually, there’s enough Bastards to go around!
The dream Bastards Jam band for me:
Stephen Pearcy (Vocals on 2cd verse/bridge)
Geezer Butler- Bass guitar
Simon Phillips- Drums
Playing the song: Sinner from Judas Priest.
ZRock: Thank you for your time and best wishes on the Bastard of Metal Tour. Rock on!
Stephen: Thank you Jarrod, see you out there somewhere!
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Troy Johnson-Bass Guitar Todd Roberson-Drums these guys tour with Stephen Pearcy. there from omaha, nebraska. thats where i live. i just think its kool. – said PAUZED on Oct 10, 2004