After the success of their self-titled E.P., Ratt signed a record deal with Atlantic Records and that deal brought us the incredible debut album ‘Out of the Cellar’. On March 27th, 1984, the album was released and thanks to MTV, the band became a huge sensation.
The band’s line-up was unchanged from the E.P, consisting of the following members:
- Stephen Pearcy – vocals
- Robin Crosby – lead guitar
- Warren DeMartini – lead guitar
- Juan Croucier – bass
- Bobby Blotzer – drums
With the incredible dual guitar combo of Crosby & DeMartini and the bluesy, raspiness of Pearcy’s vocals, the band had an arsenal of great songs that took them to the pinnacle of rock and selling millions and millions of records. It also didn’t hurt that they looked the part which was crucial for the MTV world that was exploding on the scene at the time.
Take that and add a beautiful woman on the cover your album and there was denying this band. Tawny Kitaen graced the cover of the debut album as she was the then girlfriend of Robin Crosby. She also graced the cover of their E.P. but that was just her beautiful legs. This time, you got the whole package. For those that didn’t know, Tawny is the video vixen that was dancing on the pair of Jaguars in the Whitesnake videos in the late 80’s when she was dating David Coverdale.
The album was produced by Beau Hill who has produced albums by Alice Cooper, Kix, Winger and even Europe; however, this was one of his first production gigs. According to Beau Hill, famed English producer Tom Allom was supposed to record the album. Tom is best know for producing Judas Priest and even Def Leppard’s debut album. Thankfully Beau was the producer as who knows how it would’ve turned out with anyone else as what was released was one of the best hard rock albums of the early 80’s.
The album kicks off with “Wanted Man” written by Crosby, Pearcy and Joey Cristofanilli who briefly was the bass player for the band before Juan came back into the fold. The song was the second single for the band and reached #87 on the Hot 100 and #38 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song opens with some heavy drums and although is a rock song, you feel it is a western and the video for the song went with that theme. In listening to the song you can assume the dual guitars are doing a gun fight so to speak (okay that was cheesy…sorry). It was a strong opening track that gave you a peak into what to expect for the album.
“You’re In Trouble” opens with some jungle sounds and then a nice bass line before Pearcy starts in with those raspy vocals. The chorus kicks in and you start singing along and the song picks up a little steam continuing with the bass as a key feature. It becomes one of my personal favorites on the album.
The first single and one of the band’s biggest hits is “Round and Round”. Instantly, the song pulls you in and you can tell it is something special as it reached #12 on the Hot 100. It is such a catchy chorus and another amazing guitar solo. What really put this song over the top for the band was the video they released. Their manager at the time was Marshall Berle. Marshall had a pretty famous uncle that you might have heard of named Milton Berle, the legendary comedian. With his famous Uncle Miltie character dressed in drag, he makes an appearance in the video which draws it national attention.
The only song solely written by Stephen Pearcy is up next called “In Your Direction”. The song was one he had written back when the band was known as Mickey Ratt. It is not a bad song, but tends to drag a little and doesn’t have the greatest chorus. What it does have is more rocking solos by the dynamic duo which helps saves the song.
The next track and final track on Side One picks things back up. “She Wants Money” is more fun and upbeat with some very fast pacing. It is better than the previous song, but still not quite up to snuff with the best tracks on the album. It is the only song on the album solely written by Juan Croucier. The nice thing about the album is everyone had some part in writing, but Crosby appears to be the main songwriter as he is credited on 7 tracks.
The opening track to Side Two and the third single is the killer “Lack of Communication”. The opening guitar riff is awesome and sets the tone. The vibe and style of the song was a little different as there is a techno feel to give it a futuristic sound at least I think that is what they were going for with the sound. The song is one of the few they have that actually gives some social commentary which really could be talking about teens today. The lack of communication between people was the theme and with kids today stuck with their noses in their phone they are truly not communicated. Man, Ratt was well ahead of their time!!.
The next track, “Back For More”, is a remake of a song off their debut E.P.. They really updated the sound and removed that annoying little bass note that kept popping up in the song on the original. It is one of the best tracks of the album. It was never officially released as a single for this album, but is still one of their best performing songs. I think the first two songs on this side might out punch the first two on Side One. And more great guitar which I know gets old me talking about it, but these two guys were freaking awesome together. The video they ended up doing featured Tawny as they just couldn’t get enough of her.
“The Morning After” comes rocketing off with one helluva guitar riff. The upbeat track is strong and delivers another massive punch and another catchy, fun rock song. I love the line “Say bye, bye” right before the guitar solo that blows your ears off.
“I’m Insane” comes at you knocks you on your ass. The music and fast pacing fit perfect with the the title of “I’m Insane” as it will drive you crazy to keep going at this pace. A simple song, but pure joy and damn I think Side Two is better than Side One. This song and the next ones are written by Robin Crosby pre-Ratt. He wrote them and actually performed them with his band Mac Meda which featured Riverdogs vocalist Rob Lamothe (thanks Wikipedia for that tidbit).
The final song on the album is “Scene of the Crime” is a little pedestrian and generic; however, I do find it better than the last two songs on Side One. Since it is closing out an incredible side of the album it still flows well with them, it just isn’t as good as the rest. I would still keep it as it does complete an almost perfect side of the album.
Based on the commentary above, I would keep 8 of the 10 tracks for sure which would give the Track Listing a score of 80%. And rating the content of the album, I would go slightly better than that with a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is a strong debut album and might be one of their best except I might have one I like a little more and you will have to wait and see which one that is. The songs are powerful and it is a really fun, rock & roll album. I love that gritty, raspy, bluesy voice of Stephen and the dual guitar work or Robin and Warren are mind blowing. If there is any album to start with if you are wanting to get in to the band, this would be the one as it really started it all. Give it a listen and I hope you enjoy it.
If you want to check out the review on the Ratt E.P. just click on the album name.