INTERVJU: Stephen Pearcy från RATT – Firar 40-årsjubileum med stort boxset!

Ett av de stora banden på The Sunset Strip på 80-talet – RATT – har nyligen släppt en box fullsmockad med sina 5 första fullängdare, Nobody Rides for Free singeln från klassiska filmen Point Break, massa foton, turnéprogram och en hel del annat. Jag ringde upp självaste sångaren Stephen Pearcy för ett långt snack om boxen och bunt annat skoj.

Hey Stephen! OK, so here we are. New box set from Ratt! 

Yes, and I’ll say it it’s fucking way cool because it’s the 40th year anniversary of Ratt and roll this year and we’ve never had a really decent box set. I don’t even think Atlanta knew it was the 40th year anniversary, you know. They probably thought that “Let’s put out a great box set!”, but I’m like “Wait a second here, we’re 40 years old this year. It’s perfect!!!” It’s got everything you can imagine in this thing. It’s got a 12 inch Nobody Rides for Free EP in there. It’s got stickers, posters, passes, pics, tour books, personal photos. It’s great. it’s a way cool package. 

Yeah, so I read that the four original guys, that are alive of course, were helping out. So is it pictures and stories supplied from everybody or what’s the deal? 

Well, I think the only Ratt reunion you’re going to get was the fact that all of us supplied some personal photos. I did an interview just a bit ago and they had talked to Warren and I’m like “Warren, at least you talked to him. Cause I haven’t!”. So maybe I will give him a call, but I mean, I think that the Ratt ship might have sailed, and it’s OK, maybe our lifeline was only supposed to be 11 years. But, you know, without Robin Crosby, there’s no Ratt. Anyway, we can try, and we can do it, and it’s possible. I just don’t know, but I never say never. 

Yeah, yeah. I just felt that when they put that sales stuff in there like the four original guys, it was like begging for trouble in all the interviews that you are getting back together. So just to get that out of the way right from the start, haha. 

You got it. You called it, man. Well, the only thing that the four of us did was to give them photos, and I pretty much have them everything I had. 

Yeah, I’m with you. I will never say never because you never know if you get together and the planets are aligned, but yeah… I get the situation. 

And there’s one thing that we’ll never do besides not use backing tracks, is say that we’re gonna “See you later!” and then come back over and over and over – that’s something you just wouldn’t ever do. 

OK, so from the beginning, let’s skip back a little bit before you got to Sabbath and Zeppelin. What music? Were you into? 

Well, the first concert I went to was Three Dog Night at the LA Forum. I was listening to, like Rare Earth and whatever. My older sister was playing Temptations, Supremes, Beach Boys, you know, all of those bands I grew up listening to from her. It wasn’t until later that I discovered Janis Joplin, Hendrix, etc. I actually thought when I was younger that Janis Joplin was the lead singer of Zeppelin. Go figure, you know. 

They look the same, if in Dark Alley, maybe. Haha. 

Yeah, right. Haha. 

Then Fast forward to the guitar, when you quit racing and then Mickey Ratt. I always wanted to ask you directly, where did you get the name Mickey Ratt from? 

I got Mickey Ratt from a friend of mine, hippie friend of mine. It comes from an old. X-rated comic book. It’s one of those Robert Crumb, Mr. Natural, it’s like a 60s hippie thing. This character was called Mickey Rat and he’s this crazy looking character and all he did was get drunk, smoke weed and they just kind of turned him into this crazy character and I got wind of it. I’d go “Well, that’s a pretty cool name!” because when I was looking for a name there was a band that in town in San Diego called Peter Rabbit. Right, “Peter Rabbit”, I thought… well, fucking Mickey Rat, you know. So, anyway, I got ahold of the guy when I was a kid, and I’d go “Hey, I have a rock band!”. and this is like 1976, “I wanna use that name I like it. Can I use it? I’m gonna add another t though!” and he goes “I don’t give a shit!” and I’m off and then I had a name of the band, you know. 

If we skip a little bit forward to Metal Massacre, Brian Slagel’s child. How did that come about that you got a track on that compilation? 

Well, at that time I was still kind of piecing Mickey Ratt together. I moved Mickey Ratt to LA, and I had actually put out a single called Ratt in 1980, a 45. We were out playing clubs and we started to do really good and then I met Robin – long story short – Jake E. Lee left my band and Robin and I decided “Well, let’s put a band together!“, so we did and then we got a bass player from San Diego and a drummer, Kurt Meyer, from the band Salty Dogs out of LA. I had people coming and going until I found the right rhythm, but Brian was brand new, and he wanted to put out a compilation of the best rock bands. I guess he liked one of the songs and he approached me “Can I put this on?”, and I was like “Well, fuck yes, I want to be on an album. It’s my dream to be on an album not my 45 that I gave out for promotion and to get gigs!”. And lo and behold! He actually reissued that this year or last? 

Yeah, it was last year. 

And it’s an amazing color vinyl thing. It’s amazing. I love Brian, but he loved the song, I don’t know why. We had heavier songs. I could have competed with Metallica in a second, you know, with You Got It or Sweet Cheater, you know, those songs. But he, like “Tell the World!” and Tell the World was appropriate. But that doesn’t have Bobby or Croucier on it at all. It’s a different rhythm section. But I love that by the way, I mean that that recording is actually pretty cool. 

I like the roughness of it as well, but you can still hear that it’s Ratt and where you’re coming from and a little bit where you’re going as well, so it’s a perfect time capsule of that period in time, so to speak. Going on from Metal massacre to Out of the Cellar. This song Round and Round and that that went on to be one of your top songs. Do you think that you had that? Did you feel that it was a hit when you put out that song? 

No, not at all. You know, we had a bunch of songs, and we actually had a song called Reach for the sky that was recorded for Out of the Cellar that eventually I wanted to make the box set actually, and Round and Round was just a song that wasn’t finished. We told Beau Hill, who was our brand-new producer, and he was like “What do you got?”, we went “Here’s everything we got!”, you know. Cruiser gave a couple of songs. I gave him a few of my own. Robin and I wrote some stuff and Warren came up with The Morning After. Back then Robin Warren and I lived in an apartment that we called Rap Mansion West. It was a one-bedroom apartment with all of our equipment and two roadies slept in there. Warren was on one wall and I’m on one wall and Robin is on another wall. I don’t think we ever were together at one time there, but possibly we were one night. We used to record and write by using two tape decks. In a circle, we’d have two cassette decks and I guess I was working on these ideas with Jake E when he was living with us and as Jake E was writing Bark at the Moon stuff. And Warren came up with this idea one day as we were sitting up at the mansion there and we were bouncing songs back and forth. Record one part here. Hit recorded on the other part, and lo and behold, it was Round and Round. I came up with lyrics really quickly, but we didn’t think anything special. It was in our set. We played it, it was in our set. Nobody went “Hey, that’s insane! That’s great!” you know. It wasn’t complete, but we went in to record it. Beau was like “What do you got?”, “Here’s what we got!” At the end of the day, he went “We’re gonna work on that song right there.” And lo and behold, Beau he a little bridge part there because it didn’t have one before the chorus, and we came up with this fucking mega song, of which I am so grateful. 

Yeah, me too – it’s kind of a really good, good soundtrack. But moving on to the next album – Invasion of Your Privacy. Lay it down is one of the ones that gets me goosebumps by just thinking about the riff there. That riff gets me going.  

Warren developed so fast. When we picked him up he was like 18 years old, and he just started creating all these riffs and when we went in to do Invasion, we had a couple of songs leftover from Cellar, but we actually were writing on the road. We actually brought a studio out on the road, and we would demo some stuff and I believe that was one og them. Well, thank God for that riff, because I love that song. To this day it’s one of the best songs live you know, yeah! 

So it just came about on the road there and then you went into the studio and recorded everything as well?

Yeah, yeah, you know, and same with You’re in Love. I love that record. I mean we were so excited, we were on the road so much for Out of the Cellar and they wanted another record so fast, and thank God we were out on the road, we were geared up. We were ready to go and they said “You’re going into pre-production!”. We were ready! 

Yeah, yeah, it helped a great deal to be young at that time, right?  

Oh yeah. 

Moving on to Dancing undercover. I know that Body Talk was huge over here. On the Monsters of Rock show on SKY Channel on TV as well as on the actual Monsters Of Rock show live 1987 and then in the movie The Golden Child as well later on.  

Robin Warren and I deliberately wanted to get back into between the EP and Out of the Cellar. We knew that Invasion got a little glossy. Beau Hill found his niche and he was determined to maybe gloss it up even more, and we didn’t want that. We didn’t want to do ballads, we didn’t want to do this, we just wanted to make a hard rock record. He went into doing Dancing with that mindset and I’m glad the thing did a couple million or something. But we just wanted to get back to the sunset strip hard rock band thing. We didn’t want to get all glossy because at that time all these other bands were coming up and it was like “Hey, there’s another Ratt. Well, there’s another Mötley. Well, there’s two more. There’s another W.A.S.P!” you know, all these bands are springing up. They were signing everybody! So, we made sure that we weren’t pigeonholed into things like “There’s the ballad, and there’s this, and there’s that!“. So we I love that record. It was really like we tried to make it as aggressive as we possibly could. And Body Talk – I love that song, I fucking love that song live! 

Yeah, it helps when you love your music as well and it shows off. It looks like you’re really happy when you’re on stage as well! 

I can’t let the band Ratt go out and lose whatever what’s left of the integrity we got. I can’t let us go out the way we are or the way we were the last couple of years, and I don’t know if we ever will. I’ll never say never, but when I go out there now it’s much more fulfilling for me personally because I have a whole different catalog than Ratt you know. I have Arcade, and lots of stuff like cover songs and stuff. I love playing Priest, or Zeppelin or something. So that’s something I can’t do in my band Ratt. So the last couple of years I’ve been really striving to develop my own thing you know and that – so be it! 

Yeah, I saw that. I checked your setlist stats for Stephen Percy, and you played Heading Out to the Highway by Judas Priest quite a lot.  

I have had the opportunity to play with the metal God! Sometimes we have done shows and it’s so fun! I’m still such a fan of music, you know. I mean, I love a lot of new bands that are out there. I love Pantera. I love bands that people wouldn’t expect me to like, you know. I mean, there’s some heavy bands that I love. 

I think that some things that people don’t understand is that in order to make good music you also need to put in a lot of influences from different genres and kind of mold that into your own stuff. If you don’t do that you will be doing the same album year after year.  

You can’t deliver the same record every year. It’s impossible. You know they say “Give us another Round and Round!” I can’t give you another Round and Round. I mean, I have a solo thing now where I put snippets out there every now and then playing guitar and riffing and it’s total Judas Priest, you know. I want to tell KK you know “Hey, brother, you gotta play on this song!”  

Please do that! OK, let’s finish up the albums here. Reach for the sky. This is the one that I. Like to refer to as the fat sounding one. What happened with the sound here? 

Yeah, it’s an interesting record. That’s because Mike Stone did the basic tracks recording, except he wasn’t up to par with putting it all together, no disrespect but we wanted just to try another producer. I don’t know what it was. We went “Look, let’s fucking try something new here. There’s all these bands out there. We’re doing good. We’re doing arenas. Let’s try something different!”, and Warren comes up with these crazy riffs again. Mike Stone did the best he could, but he was so fucked up, you know, with Robin and these guys, we could never get anything done and and you know in months go by and we were not used to working like that we were used to with Beau Hill. And we deliver the record and Doug Morris, the President of Atlantic Records goes “This is shit! Yeah, this sucks! Can’t you pull Beau Hill back?” And so we did. We fired Mike Stone, got Beau Hill back and the results are a Ratt record, as Warren would say, another Ratt record. But like you say, it does have a different sound. 

I know what you’re saying. I like that Way Cool Jr song on that one. It’s got that certain groove! 

Well, I mean, look, we got crazy with that record. I mean, I think the band was getting ready to implode and we were falling off the edge. We had had too much, just year after year after year. I think that that record kind of woke us up a bit. We got some great songs out of it, but I don’t think we were really up to par. I mean, thank God for Way Cool and a couple of other songs because I love them. I could write with anybody if Warren comes up to me with another Way Cool riff. I would get right in there. But I think we’re kind of teeter, tottering a little bit to the end there. 

Moving on then to the next one – Detonator. You had some co-writing with the Desmond Child going on there as well. How did that go about? 

Well, you know. Then again that was the end of the era. Personally, I can say things were getting really bad internally. We took some time off, I believe, and then they wanted a record right away. There were a lot of things going on. So it’s like “Well, then you’re gonna write with so and so let’s get you writing with all these people!” which we’ve never done. Ratt wrote our own hits and it’s a proven fact that just because you have a hit maker doesn’t mean you’re going to get the hit. And that’s happened. So many people were involved, and even in the later records there way too many people involved. But on Detonator we still pulled some rabbits out of the hat thanks to Warren and his riffs, you know? I dug deep. I pulled Top Secret out of the Mickey Ratt archives. I don’t think we were ready, we weren’t too prepared to go into the studio with that record, but we did the best we could. Desmond was all over the place. I love Desmond. He’s a great writer, but he just didn’t mess with us. We wrote a great song – Givin’ Yourself Away. I mean, I think it’s fucking brilliant. Me, Diane Warren and Desmond child. 

Great stuff. But looking into that song from Point Break – Nobody Rides for Free, what can you say about that one? 

We were like “Oh, this is cool!”. They go “Here! This guy wrote this song. This can’t do. Can you guys rework this song?” So we checked it out, and “No, we gotta mess this thing up a bit. It doesn’t sound like Ratt at all!” So that’s what we did when we got ahold of it. Warren and myself, we did whatever we could to make it a Ratt song, and I think we did. 

Yeah, I think you did super great because it feels like that 80s feel with a fresh tone and it’s really kind of a sleaze groove to it and it really it hits home directly. 

Yeah, when Ratt played it live… even the last shows that Ratt did it was always going int the set. It was a favorite of Warren’s. Warren loved that song. So I play it, it’s a great song to sing! 

Also, I saw you on your invasion of privacy documentary. You had a lot of boxes of stuff that’s unreleased laying around. Do you plan for a bootleg or something?

I’m gonna release first is the EP on vinyl. I’m gonna release the EP because they’re all my songs with Robin and that needs to get out there. People want that so bad as it’s not available. It’s being bootlegged everywhere. So I’m gonna release it probably after the summer, and I’m only gonna release it in vinyl like it was then. But I do have the biggest bootleg collection of live Ratt, you name it – I got it all and I and I can put out boxes forever. I really can, and that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna start releasing some of our real good shows and songs and things that people really want to hear. 

OK. You have beaten cancer. How is your health now? 

I’m good. Thank God. You know, everything’s good. I’m under a maintenance program. I have been checked up every three months and you know, I’m being blessed. I feel great. I’m healthy, I’m sober, I’m happy, and I’m just living life with a beautiful woman partner. We do business. It’s it’s not all fun and games. We’re way serious. There’s the company we’ve created called We’ll be putting on 1980 Sunset Strip experience concert series soon in the metaverse. The cancer is kind of kicking and that’s cool because we’ve lost too many friends and peers and it’s terrible. And I gotta tell you, it’s like I even tell my peers, you know, hey, man, embrace this fucking 80s thing while you can embrace it. Because right around the corner man, it’s almost all over with. Plugs gonna get pulled. So I just preach. Embrace what we did, man. The 1980s was a great fucking period, a great historical time in the music industry history. 

So we will see Steven Pearcy in Europe before you go to your resedency in Las Vegas. 

I would love to. You know what? Not coming to Europe on tour is one thing that we really kick ourselves in the ass for. We really do. We regret it. But that wasn’t really all our fault. I can blame it on agents, managers, and this and that. That’s one regret is that we didn’t tour all of Europe like we should have, or even South America, and fucking Canada for all that matter, I mean, it was always US, Japan. It was almost like Van Halen. It’s crazy. 

OK, one final question. What made you laugh so you couldn’t sing on stage last time?

Oh my God, let me think about this one. OK. Somebody in our audience farted. That was up close and. And I gotta tell you, it was gross. It was like they shit their pants. It just wouldn’t go away. The way you’re looking at your guitar guy going “Did you shit?” and he’s going “No, you shit?”, “No, you, you?” and then eventually you’re going “Oh my God!!!” and it was just like “Just stop! Let’s just stop for a minute, man!” cause everybody just couldn’t take it, you know? Yeah, man. Oh, my God, the infamous audience shatter, you know. Haha. 

So thank you so much for the chat Stephen and good luck and I will check out the box set! 

I appreciate it. Thank you so much. Fuck yes, man. Thank you. 

Yeah, yeah. Have a good one. Thank you. 

You too, brother. 

SKRIBENT: Tony Asplund (
INTERVJU: Stephen Pearcy (RATT)
AKTUELL MED: Fett RATT boxset som firar 40 år med RATT.

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