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Interview:  BOBBY BLOTZER (Ratt)

Rock Stars...


Ratt's original drummer Bobby 'The Blotz' Blotzer has been kind enough to talk to GRTR!'s Dino Gollnick about Ratt's new excellent long-player Infestation as well as life in one of the most underrated metal groups of all time.

So your new album 'Infestation' is about to come out. When did you first start working on it?

We started writing and preparing for it in April of 2009. All of us, we write our songs and bring them in and then we work everybody's stuff up. So around April time last year we started getting everybody's stuff assembled and then got into rehearsal in the beginning of May.

Infestation is your first album in 11 years. Do some of the songs on the record date back a few years?

It's all pretty new material. I wrote 7 songs and the producer picked two that made the album so I'm satisfied.

Where did you record it at?

It was done in Virginia Beach, at the producer's studio which was an amazing spot to record, it was right on the beach.

Bobby Blotzer

Is there a theme to Infestation?

There's no concept and no story, it's just Ratt-N-Roll music. We wrote the best shit we could do and it came out amazing. The critical acclaim this thing's been getting has been amazing, I haven't seen anything like it since Out Of The Cellar so I'm pretty hopeful that it moves a few copies.

Were you consciously trying to write a record that was going to sound like one of your classic albums from the '80s?

I would say that was the hope. We wanted to go back to a more aggressive and up-tempo sound. To be honest, we probably all had the first Ratt EP in the back of our minds, we wanted a little more grit and just a little more intensity. And there are definitely a good five or so fast tracks on Infestation so we accomplished that. But we never went, "ok, we got to write another 'Round And Round'. I think Ratt's writing style has always been radio friendly and hook heavy. And without really trying too hard it all happened naturally, it seems.


I always felt that eventually we would get back together but at times it seemed like a monumental task to do that.

Why did we have to wait 11 years for a new Ratt album?

(Laughs). Well, if it was up to me you wouldn't have waited 11 years. We had the band together without Stephen [Pearcy, vocals]. I wanted to do a record like "he's out, we've been to court, we're not getting along."

I always felt that eventually we would get back together but at times it seemed like a monumental task to do that. I would be saying to Warren [De Martini, guitar] "Let's do a record with this band we got - Jizzy Pearl, Robbie Crane, you and me", but his response was always "I don't mind touring with this set up but I don't want to do a record unless it's the real Ratt." At the time he didn't tell me this but in retrospect I think he hoped and knew that we would be back with Stephen eventually.


So what was it that made Stephen want to return to the band in 2007? After all you and Warren had a major falling out with him that resulted in a lawsuit.

Well yeah, we went to court and fought over the name until he quit the band for the second time. Warren and I won ownership of the name and the trademark. Basically he came back because … well, it's business, man, he wants to make more money and play to bigger audiences, as do we. So that's what got that going. It was time to bury the hatchet and get the fucking band back together and give the people what they want and what we ultimately want too.

Why were you not able to lure your old school buddy and original bass player with Ratt, Juan Croucier, out of Ratt retirement?

Well, he was up for it but he was being completely unreasonable which he always has a tendency to do. We just couldn't get on the same page. He was asking for things that were ridiculous, there were issues of spite. He didn't come back into the fold in 1997 after our five year break up. He'd made that choice. And now, when it was 2007, he was coming from a position where I was just like "let it go man", this animosity thing.. He hasn't been on stage for 20 years now so it's like, whatever dude. I wish him the best in his life but his life is not in Ratt and I don't ever see that happening again.

What did you get up to during '92 - '96, after Ratt broke up and before you got back together again?

I continued to play music. Me and Ralph Saenz, for example, who's the singer in Steel Panther, we used to write songs in my house and we put together a band called Route 66 that never really did anything but record.

And at that time, when the band broke up in March of '92, I was in the middle of remodelling my house, a quite expensive remodel, I wasn't ready for the band's demise at that point.

So I finished my remodel and decided "alright Stephen, go do your thing for a while, I'm sure it won't last longer than a year or so" and that turned into two years, two and a half years and I was starting to trip out.

At that time my monthly finance to run my household was pretty high. I was quickly going through a lot of money. And nobody from the '80s was working at that point. It was like the kiss of death to have been in a band from that era.

So I ended up buying some businesses on an entrepreneurial level. I bought a flower shop that my missus at the time ran. Around '95 I started calling people going 'You guys ready? Really? I mean, I'm ready to rock".

So it took quite a few calls and pushing and shoving to get them going but eventually the engine started sputtering and we turned it over. Here it is now. I haven't stopped since we reformed at the end of '96.


I don't consider Ratt glam metal. I think that people have tried to copy Ratt's look to a degree and they made it a little more fluffy if you will, like the Poisons and that kind of thing, the Warrants.

Ratt paved the way for the LA glam metal scene. How did people initially react to your music and that scene back then?

I don't consider Ratt glam metal. I think that people have tried to copy Ratt's look to a degree and they made it a little more fluffy if you will, like the Poisons and that kind of thing, the Warrants.

But I think that Ratt and Mötley were the two influential bands from the early '80s era. Not withstanding Van Halen because all of us guys from bands in the '80s we always hailed Van Halen but they'd already made it from '77 / '78 onwards. So now it was the next generations' thing.

I think Ratt and Mötley were the forerunners. We were coming out of the gate with 4 million records sold on the back of Out Of The Cellar and Mötley doing what they did with Shout At The Devil and then we came out with Invasion [Of Your Privacy] and they had Theatre Of Pain and we were kind of neck in neck throughout those first few years.

Then, in 1990, our label Atlantic was telling us that our record Detonator was going to be our Dr Feelgood, Mötley had a 5 Million seller with that. But by the time our record came out things really had shifted. Although Detonator went on to sell over a million records it just came out a little bit too late, I think.

What was the California scene like that you were part of back then?

It was a good scene because there were always bands playing in different clubs. It was a rivalry but it was friendly one. It was always like, keep up with the joneses, keep the ship tight.

I remember, when Guns 'N' Roses came out, I was kind of like "uh oh, ok." It was the first time that I felt any band taking the wind out of some of our sails. I didn't feel that way about Poison, who we'd introduced to touring in arenas, because they couldn't compete with us musically.

But they had this really good-looking singer that chicks liked a lot, it was almost a gumball band. I'm not disrespecting them, they have some good pop tunes and I like pop music. I just didn't think their musicianship was going to take them where they subsequently have gone.

They have good stage presence, Brett Michaels is a world in his own, he's a great frontman that people can really relate to. He's a blue collar guy up there who makes everybody in that place feel like he's talking to them directly so I've always had respect for that.

You've always had really memorable videos, like the clip for 'Round And Round', for example, with all the rats running around the dinner table. What do you remember from shoots like that?

Too much time and money being spent and corny story lines, always kind of made to be doing comedy stick. It's what everybody did back then but some of the videos I can't even watch, they are a little embarrassing. But we have a new Ratt video for the new single 'Best Of Me'. So that's out all over the internet. It's a pretty fun little video. It's just fun to do a video again, you know. A lot of things I took for granted back in the day.

Bobby Blotzer

Ratt are know to have partied hard over the years and consequently, in 2002, your old band-mate and friend Robbin Crosby sadly passed away from drug related issues.

Throughout the years, I knew that Robbin liked to smoke a lot of pot. A lot of us did in the band, some more than others. I think him and Stephen and Warren were pretty ... We all smoked weed but those guys had a tension for smoking more.

So weed to me is pretty innocent but I didn't even know Robbin was involved in heroin, I'd never seen heroin. I actually address a lot of this, I have a book coming out, I'm actually taking pre-orders on it now on my website, it's gonna be available on the same day that our album's coming out on Amazon.

I talk a lot about all things Bobby Blotzer, it's my life, it's my autobiography, and what I mention in there is I didn't know what Robbin was doing.

I knew that he would always have jittery nerves before going on and he would get sick and throw up and it came to my attention later that he was smoking smack and that's what you do when you smoke that shit, you throw up.

I'd never seen it, I've never tried it but then again I was off partying like every other band and musician at the time - we drank, we snorted coke. It didn't seem like it was a big deal, nobody was ODing on coke. We were snorting which allowed us to drink later in the evening. And talk and talk and talk, that's what coke makes you do, gab.

So it seemed somewhat innocent other than sometimes you'd stay up to late into the next day, I always hated that. I gave up coke many decades ago but there was a lot of that going around on all of our tours and I have a lot of that addressed.

My book is not a negative depiction of the time it's about the good times on the tour, the guys from the different bands hanging out together. I had a big boat at the time on the ocean. I used to take the guys from Def Leppard and Mötley, and so on to the Catalina Islands. So there's a lot of fun things behind the scenes that people get to journey through.

Where you still in touch with Robbin before he passed away in 2002?

I was in touch with him, not as much as I wish I would've been. I think the winter of 2002 was the last time I saw him.

The last really memorable time I spent I went over on Christmas Eve with my two sons Michael and Marc as well as my girlfriend to the nursing home he was in. I brought him some Christmas presents and he was so excited to see my sons. He was bed ridden for two years.

I've never had that happen but I can only imagine how depressing that was. And it was depressing to go see him. It used to take it out of me, it would take me days to get over the visits. So, he's definitely missed and will never be forgotten.

How does touring these days compare with Ratt in the 80s?

We still play big gigs. We play medium sized ones too some are bigger than others. On the small side I'd say 1000 seaters, the medium sized two to 2500 on the large side, we're going out with The Scorpions here in the summer, it should be the ampitheatre stuff and then we'll do a lot of festivals.

The difference is, obviously, we were running the show back then. We would go out with 5 semi trucks and 5 or six tour busses with 60 people on it, crew, etc. and it was a complete giant rolling machine.

You'll be playing the Download Festival soon, right?

That's correct, and some other festivals throughout Europe. We'll do some Ratt headlining stuff in theatres and clubs in between those festivals and then we come back and go out with The Scorpions, We're gonna be going to Japan, Australia, South East Asia, South America, Canada, States... It's looking to be a really promising year business-wise, I'm excited and ready to go.

Infestation is released 19 April on Roadrunner Records

Ratt play UK dates in June (see item on home page)


Interview © April 2010 Dino Gollnick

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