Ratt – ‘Collage’ – Album Review

After the disappointing sales of their album ‘Detonator’, Ratt seemed to be falling apart.  Robbin Crosby would leave the band due to his substance abuse problem and the dominos would fall from there.  The band went on “hiatus” in 1992 and it felt like the band was done.  Well, the weren’t just year.

In 1997, reunion talks began with the five original members.  However, Robbin Crosby developed HIV due to his substance abuse problem and was in no shape to carry-on.  Juan Croucier would soon afterwards decide he didn’t want to re-join the band.  So that left Stephen Pearcy, Warren DeMartini and Bobby Blotzer and they decided to continue as Ratt and the set out to go on tour.  Before they did that, the decision was made to release a compilation album of B-sides, alternate recordings and even re-work some old Mickey Ratt tunes.

I wasn’t planning on reviewing any compilation albums in my Ratt Review Series, but this one was different as it wasn’t a greatest hits collection.  Being that most of the songs haven’t been on any Ratt album, I decided it was worth getting a review of it’s own.  I will warn you, this is a collection of songs that is strictly for Ratt fans.

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Ratt – ‘Detonator’ – Album Review

The year is 1990 and we are getting to the end of the Hair Metal era, but at the time, no one knew that end was coming.  Ratt released their fifth album in August of 1990 and it brings us to the end the long running stream of Platinum albums.  It is also the last Ratt album with the line-up that has been on all 5 of their albums.

  • Stephen Pearcy – vocals
  • Robbin Crosby – lead guitar
  • Warren DeMartini – lead guitar
  • Juan Croucier – bass guitar
  • Bobby Blotzer – drums

After the disappointing reception for ‘Reach for the Sky’ (although it did go Platinum), the band needed to make a change.  That change was not to use Beau Hill as producer on the next album as he had produced all previous albums to much success.  The band (or label) brought in powerhouse songwriter Desmond Child.  You know Desmond…he had great success writing with Kiss, Aerosmith and a few Bon Jovi classics.

And did he ever get involved in the songwriting as he has writing credits on 10 of the 11 tracks on the album.  Not only did Desmond assist with songwriting, he was also the executive producer along with Sir Arthur Payson.  While Ratt did maintain the classic Ratt sound which was a little bluesy and little sleazy, the songs were much more polished and contained more hooks than a fisherman’s tackle box.  It definitely leaned to a more Glam rock image than prior albums.

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Ratt – ‘Reach For the Sky’ – Album Review

We are now up to the fourth studio album by Ratt called ‘Reach for the Sky’.  The album was released on November 1, 1988 and as the predecessors, it also reached Platinum status. The only difference was that the critics really did not like this album.  It has been said this was the worst of their albums so far.  I personally disagree.

Yes, the album is a little hit or miss at times, but overall I think the album holds up over time and there are some really great songs on here.  But before we get to the songs, let’s talk about the band and what was going on with them at the time of making this album.

Ratt brought in Mike Stone to produce the album, but due to some sub-standard production work, longtime Ratt producer, Beau Hill, was brought back in to save the day and that is what he did.  This would be the last album the band would do with Beau.

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Ratt – ‘Dancing Undercover’ – Album Review

Next up in the Ratt album review series is their 3rd studio album, the 1986 album ‘Dancing Undercover’.  The entire band was still in tact and even producer Beau Hill returned for his third album.  The band still consisted of the following:

  • Stephen Pearcy – vocals
  • Robin Crosby – lead guitar
  • Warren DeMartini – lead guitar
  • Juan Croucier – bass
  • Bobby Blotzer – drums

Even though it was the same crew, things were different.  The band decided that they didn’t need a beautiful woman on the cover and opted for pictures of the band members themselves.

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Rock Talk with Mitch Lafon – Podcast Review

Something new on 2Loud2OldMusic.com this week will be podcast reviews.  I have been digging through a ton of music podcasts over the last few months and there are several that I have grown to love and they are now a weekly event that I listen to on the drive home from work.

First up for review is ‘Rock Talk with Mitch Lafon’ on Westwood One.  So, who is Mitch Lafon?  Mitch is a very well respected music journalists out of Canada and has been in the music scene for over 20 years.  To put it simply, he knows the rock scene.  He lives and breathes it on a daily basis.  One thing I found out is his first interview was at 11 years old back in 1980 when he interviewed Gene Simmons of Kiss.

Mitch interviews the cream of the crop in the rock world and the interviews are always compelling and full of cool information about the artist and what is going on with their music or even their lives.  At times the interviews seem like two friends sitting back and having a conversation.  Mitch has interviewed a lot of these artist before over the years and some are actually personal friends of his.  You don’t get the normal stale, boring interview.  Mitch has a way of making the artist feel relaxed and willing to talk.  Hell, most of the time the artist are coming to Mitch for the interview not the other way around.  That right there tells me a lot about his credibility.

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Ratt – Invasion Of Your Privacy – Album Review

On June 13, 1985, Ratt released their second full length album called ‘Invasion of Your Privacy’.  After the success of their debut ‘Out of the Cellar’, Ratt wasted no time in repeating that formula and delivering another solid album.  The line-up was unchanged.

  • Stephen Pearcy – vocals
  • Robin Crosby – lead guitar
  • Warren DeMartini – lead guitar
  • Juan Croucier – bass
  • Bobby Blotzer – drums

The producer was still Beau Hill. The only thing different was the model on the front cover.  This time around it was Playboy model Marianne Gravatte.  Marianne was Playmate of the Year in 1983 where she was noticed by Stephen Pearcy (and everyone else).  Fun fact…the prior Playmate of the Year was none other than Gene Simmons’ wife, Shannon Tweed.  Marianne also appeared in the video for “Lay It Down” which we will get to later.

The album was not quite as successful as the debut, but it did peak at #7 on the Billboard charts which was the same place ‘Out of the Cellar’ peaked.  The album did go on to sell over 2 million copies.  The album also peaked the interest of the group Parents Music Resource Center which is the Tipper Gore group that looked to censor the music industry.  The group did end up getting Parental Advisory stickers placed on albums with foul language and that contained inappropriate material.

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Turntables & Vinyl #13 – The New York Adventure

The family and I took a wonderful Spring Break vacation to the bustling city of New York.  What an amazing city.  There are so many things to see and so little time to see it all, but we crammed in as much as we could.  I was even able to take a few hours and visit some record stores while we were down in Greenwich Village. Lucky Me!!

Before we get to that, let’s talk a little about the trip.  We arrived on Sunday afternoon and had a little time to run down to Time Square to check things out.  The kids were stunned by the huge, bright, flashing billboards and all the people…all the interesting and very strange people.

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We saw where the film the Late Show with Steven Colbert, where the Broadway Show Rocktopia was playing which was starring Pat Monahan from Train while we were there (didn’t see it though), we of course saw Time Square and even went and snapped a picture at Radio City Music Hall.

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Ratt – ‘Out of the Cellar’ – Album Review

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.

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Ratt – Ratt E.P. – Album Review

Back in 1976, there lived a band fronted by Stephen Pearcy called Mickey Ratt.  With limited success and numerous line-up changes over the years, including the great Jake E. Lee on guitar, the band eventually found the line-up that would work.  By 1982, that line-up be complete.

In 1981, one of the most crucial pieces was another songwriter to work with Stephen.  That role was filled by the late Robin Crosby on guitar. Also in 1981, a young guitar great, by the name of Warren DeMartini, joined the band courtesy of Jake E. Lee’s recommendation.  He would leave as he was in college and was afraid to quit school for a band with only moderate success.  He returned in 1982.  Finally, the band would add Bobby Blotzer on drums (ex Vic Vergeat) and Juan Crucier (formerly with Dokken) on bass and the band was complete.

Everything was in place and the band finally got a record deal in July 1983 with an independent label called Time Coast Music.  The band released their first E.P. as Ratt and it was simply called Ratt.  The E.P. included 6 tracks; however, the European release would give you 7 tracks which was an early version of “You’re In Trouble” that was later released on ‘Out of the Cellar’.  My version on vinyl is the U.S. release.  My version is also a re-release that was done in 1984 after the success of ‘Out of the Cellar’ which included a picture of the band with their more current look and was released by Atlantic Records.

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Turntables & Vinyl #10 – The Growing Obsession

It has been a few months since I have done a post in my Turntable & Vinyl series and a lot has gone on since the last one.  Mainly, the growing obsession with getting my favorite albums in vinyl.  Everywhere I go, I am looking for a record store or thinking of an excuse to go to a store and just “look” around. It has become a growing obsession that isn’t getting any better, in fact, it is getting worse.

And thanks to a fellow blogger, I now have my collection in Discogs.  I can’t remember who it was as it has been several months and I have a terrible memory…now what was I talking about…oh yeah…Discogs.  I spent quite some time cataloging my newly started collection.  The good news, now when I am out at a record store and I can’t remember if I have that album or not, I only need to pull it up on the phone and BOOM!!, I will know if it is in my collection or not.  No more buying duplicates (I told you my memory is bad).  I actually had to use it a few weeks back so I know it was well worth the time adding everything in. Plus, it tells me what my collection is worth (ain’t much which is sad!), but it is a great tool if the collection should get stolen or burned down, I have a record of my albums for insurance purposes.  Nice!

One thing I have been wanting to do for quite a while is upgrade my shitty little stereo system I have been  using.  It was an old system with some shitty little speakers.  Did I mention it was shitty?  Well, I finally replaced it and gave the older system to my oldest daughter for her room.  She loves it because that shitty system replaced her even shittier system.  One man’s junk is another man’s (or teenager girl’s) treasure.  I didn’t get anything real fancy, I did keep it very reasonable.  I only bought a Yamaha Receiver and a couple of Polk floor speakers plus a sub-woofer (I like that bass a little).  I could have gone with a surround sound system, but I really love this set up.  it was the way I listened to the albums back in the day, plus the vinyl isn’t mastered in Surround Sound!!

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