My Sunday Song – “Way Cool Jr.” by Ratt

For My Sunday Song #252, we are going to go through “Way Cool Jr.” by Ratt. The song is off their 1988 album ‘Reach for the Sky” which was produced by legendary Beau Hill. The song was the first single off the album and didn’t really light the world on fire. It only went to #75 on the Billboard Hot 100 so no Top 40 for this one. The band was on the downslope of their career but it was songs like this that still kept me interested in the band.

The song was written by Stephen Pearcy, William DeMartini and Beau Hill. It seems to be about a handsome fella that was living his best life and thought he was so cool and that all the women loved him. He was slick, charismatic and probably wore sunglasses inside. He wasn’t a good guy though as he was a drug dealer and getting everyone high. The lyrics make you think he is a blues guitarist, but he is serving something else. It shows the glamours side and the seedy side and is full of contradictions. There has even rumors that the song is about Robbin Crosby who was deep in to the throes of heroin by this point.

Now there is also a possibility this song is about Elvis as he came from Memphis and was really cool guy hanging with the blues crowd that is where he got that sound. He is good-looking and the women love him. Either way, it is pretty cool.

Musically, the song is pure blues rock and roll from the gritty slide guitars by Warren DeMartini and Robbin Crosby and Bobby Blotzer playing the harmonica and cleaning things with his washboard. Juan Croucier is laying down a funky rhythm on bass and Steven Pearcy struts around on the vocals laying out his coolness for the world to hear. It is a cheesy, over the top song and for me this wasn’t your typical 80’s glam song, it had a little more style and depth musically.

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My Sunday Song – “Body Talk” by Ratt

For My Sunday Song #251, we are kicking off a 10 song set of Ratt songs. And to shake it up, I am going to pick one song from each release (they had 9) and soundtrack song not on any studio album. First up will be “Body Talk” off the band’s 1986 album ‘Dancing Undercover’. The song was released as a single in Japan only but it had a video on MTV in the US because it was used in the Eddie Murphy movie ‘Golden Child’ (Note, this is not the soundtrack song I mentioned earlier). I don’t believe the song charted, but it was in very heavy rotation on MTV which was all I was listening to any way at this point in my life.

The song is credited to Warren DeMartini, Stephen Pearcy and Juan Croucier as each had a part to play. Warren had the cool ass riff, Stephen who maybe came up with the title and Juan who really did all the heavy lifting. No one was able to do anything with the song and under a one day turnaround due date, Juan took the song and came up with all the vocal melodies and basically all the lyric as well. I guess he works well under pressure.

The song is about sex, what else, but it is that driving guitar riff by Warren that is killer. It is almost speed metal fast. Bobby Blotzer’s drum beat is super fast and the driving force behind the song. With the dynamic duo of Warren and Robbin Crosby on guitar you get some wonderful guitar work as well. Stephen’s raspy vocals sound great here. He is the emotion and the heart of the song as delivers the lyrics quick and effortlessly. The band captured some massive energy and gave one of their best performances captured on an album.

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Ratt – The Albums Ranked Worst to First

For most of 2018, I have been reviewing all the Ratt albums from the Ratt E.P. in 1983 all the way to 2010’s Infestation. It has been an enjoyable ride walking through the history of the band, all the ups and the downs, the good and the bad and loving every minute of it (wait that is Loverboy)…and loving watching the wax or cd spinning round and round (much better).

Ratt has been a love/hate relationship.  While I love most of what they do, they don’t always deliver the goods and I tried to be as honest as I could be throughout the review processes.  I believe I was brutal where I needed to be and kissed their ass when it deserved it as well.  I hear they band is planning a new album in 2019 and when it comes I will review it in detail like the others and I will update this list and put it where it belongs among the classics or the crap.

You can go back and read each review in detail by just clicking on the album title.  This ranking will be just a summary of the good and bad of each album.  I hope you enjoy.

THE WORSTRATT (1999):

The hardest review of them all to write. I couldn’t connect to this album when it came out or even now.  The production quality was horrible; Stephen’s vocals needed some cleanup and weren’t always up to par; the double guitar of Ratt of old was gone and so the songs were missing that punch; and overall it was just bad.

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Ratt – ‘Infestation’ – Album Review

After the album ‘Ratt (1999), the band had a very troubled time.  Stephen Pearcy left the band (again) and started his own band that eventually tried to use the Ratt name, but the other members sued and won.  The remaining Ratt members continued on as a band…or at least made several attempts with many line-up changes.

In 2000, the current Ratt was Warren DeMartini, Bobby Blotzer, Robbie Crane, John Corabi (Motley Crue) and Robert Mason.  Robert was brought on as lead singer, but left shortly after when the band couldn’t get a major label deal.  That brought on Jizzy Pearl at lead vocals.  This would remain the band until at least 2006.

In 2002, the band and fans were delivered some bad news.  Original guitarist, Robbin Crosby, passed away from a Heroin overdose.  He had long battled  with addiction and it finally grabbed hold for good.  Robbin has also been battling HIV, but the drugs got to him first.  Any hopes of the original band getting back together were quickly dashed.

In 2006, Jizzy would leave and Stephen Pearcy rejoined the band.  Then 2 years later, John Corabi would leave and he was replaced by Carlos Carvazo from Quiet Riot.  The line-up was now complete for the next album…whew, that was exhausting.  Wait, where is Juan Croucier?  He was out doing his own thing.  He comes back to the band, but not for many years.

Finally, in April 2010, Ratt released their seventh studio album called ‘Infestation’.  It had been over 10 years since the last album and with all the line-up changes and the fact the last album was so bad, my expectations for this release were pretty low.

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Ratt – Ratt (1999) – Album Review

After the album ‘Collage’ in 1998, the band signed with a label again and this time it was Sony. In July of 1999, they released their self-titled album “Ratt” or 1999 since their debut E.P. was titled ‘Ratt’.  The album was very bluesy and not quite the Glam rock (with a blues edge) as they had done before which is a good thing as we are in 1999 and not 1989.

The band was down to three original members…Stephen Pearcy, Warren DeMartini and Bobby Blotzer.  There is still no Robbin Crosby or Juan Croucier.  Replacing Juan on Bass is Robbie Crane making his first appearance with the band.  They didn’t replace Robbin which means only one guitar and that is a one of the negatives of the album.  The dual guitar sound was always a “Ratt” sound.

Out of all their albums, this is the one I am least familiar with.  I had lost interest with anything new from them and what I heard I didn’t like.  So, I had passed and have not ever owned this album and still don’t. I will pick it up if I ever catch it in the used section of a record store (is that giving away anything on my review???).

This has been a very hard post to write for me.  I have had to take a lot of time as I wanted to give the album a fair shake as I really love this band.  I needed to be inspired to write something about the album and although I am writing this post now, I still don’t know really what to say.  I will do my best though.

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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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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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