The group first began as Firedome in 1973 and was started by singer Stephen Pearcy. After that band broke up, Pearcy started another band called Crystal Pytal. That band was later renamed Buster Cherry and then Mickey Ratt in 1976. Mickey Ratt recorded a few demos and underwent a few changes of band members over the next several years.
In 1981, the group shortened their band name to Ratt. Pearcy was joined by Warren DeMartini and Robbin Crosby on guitar, Bobby Blotzer on drums and Juan Croucier on bass guitar. The group signed with Time Coast Music in 1983, and released a six-song self-titled EP in August. The EP did well and garnered the attention of fans and record labels. Atlantic Records signed Ratt to a contract in 1984, and the band released their first full length studio album, Out of the Cellar, which debuted in August.
Out Of The Cellar became an immediate hit. The album went multi-platinum and had a trio of singles that were featured in heavy rotation on MTV. The group went on to tour with Twisted Sister, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford and other contemporary rock artists as they began to make a name for themselves internationally.
Ratt’s second album, Invasion Of Your Privacy, followed in July 1985. It also received critical acclaim from both fans and critics. While it wasn’t quite as popular as their debut, it still sold over two million copies and spawned several more hit singles. Later that fall, the video compilation Ratt: The Video was released, which went on to reach platinum status.
Their third studio release, Dancing Undercover, came out in September 1986. It did well in terms of sales, but devoted fans were somewhat disappointed with the group’s shift from catchy tunes and power ballads to heavier thrash metal songs. Ratt kicked off a tour with Poison in 1987 and performed before capacity crowds on the Monsters of Rock Tour that year.
Ratt’s fourth effort, Reach For The Sky, debuted in November 1988. It was another platinum selling release, but was also criticized in the press. Some writers bemoaned the lack of energy and enthusiasm from their previous releases. Ratt kicked off 1989 with a performance at the legendary Tokyo Dome along with Britny Fox, Kingdom Come and headliners Bon Jovi.
Detonator was the title of Ratt’s fifth studio album, which was released in August 1990. Guitarist Robbin Crosby entered rehab during the early stages of recording, and only contributed significantly to two of its songs. His battles with addictive issues took its toll on his stage performances. The last leg of the band’s Japanese tour in 1991 would turn out to be the last time Crosby would perform as a member of Ratt. When the group returned home, Crosby checked back in to rehab and was replaced on guitar by Michael Schenker.
After appearing on MTV Unplugged and releasing the hits compilation Ratt & Roll 81-91 in September, the band went on hiatus. During the downtime the band members were busy. Pearcy played in the bands Arcade, Vicious Delite and Vertex. Blotzer focused on several small businesses. DeMartini played in Whitesnake for a year and released a few solo discs. Croucier worked on production for other bands. Crosby started his own band called Secret Service in 1993, but was diagnosed with HIV which developed into AIDS the following year.
The members of Ratt’s classic lineup started discussions in 1996 about what to do next, after realizing that their publishing contract was up for renewal. Croucier and Crosby did not participate in the reunion, and the band went on with Pearcy, DeMartini, Blotzer and new bassist Robbie Crane as they toured in 1997. The group released an album of B-sides and alternate versions of songs entitled Collage in 1997. The group also signed a record deal with Sony. A full length self-titled album came out in July 1999 that featured songs with more of a blues rock influence. Kerri Kelli was added as a second guitarist for Ratt later that year.
Stephen Pearcy left Ratt in January 2000 to perform with his band Nitronic. This band later became known as “Ratt featuring Stephen Pearcy.” Pearcy and Kelli were later replaced in the original version of Ratt by Jizzy Pearl and John Corabi. DeMartini and Blotzer started a legal battle against Pearcy for the rights to the band name Ratt, and eventually won the rights. Pearcy continued to tour as ‘Stephen Pearcy.’
Former guitarist Robbin Crosby announced his HIV positive status in 2001. He passed away from a drug overdose in June 2002. Ratt went on another hiatus in 2005 that would last for a couple of years. The band members remained active with side projects during that time, and Croucier, Pearcy and Blotzer even appeared on stage together in October 2006 for the first time in over a decade.
After a couple years of speculation, Ratt returned in 2007 with Stephen Pearcy back behind the mic. The group toured with Poison that spring in the US and with Winger in Europe that fall. A greatest hits album, Tell The World: The Very Best of Ratt was released in July. The group continued to tour in 2008, replacing guitarist John Corabi with Carlos Cavazo. The group signed a new record deal with Roadrunner Records in 2009, and released their most recent studio album to date, Infestation, in April 2010.
Ratt toured for a few months in support of the album, until internal tensions led to another hiatus. The group resurfaced in 2013 and played a few tour dates. Stephen Pearcy chose to leave Ratt again in 2014 for multiple reasons. The band splintered in 2015, as Blotzer formed a group called Bobby Blotzer’s Ratt Experience, and Juan Croucier formed a touring band to play Ratt songs. This led to another court battle over trademark infringement. Blotzer has since been disallowed to use the Ratt name. His former bandmates Stephen Pearcy and Juan Croucier have continued to perform as Ratt with new band members Chris Sanders and Jordan Ziff on guitar and Pete Holmes on drums.
Here are ten amazing Ratt songs!
# 10 – Lack Of Communication
This song from the Out Of The Cellar album could describe the state of affairs for members of the band at times. Released in 1984, this song soon became a fan favorite. It remains one of their most requested songs today.
# 9 – Shame Shame Shame
The hit single from the Detonator album was co-written by Desmond Child, who has authored or co-authored many popular rock and pop anthems. The song’s focus was people who are unfaithful to their romantic partners. The music video had a cliffhanger ending, which wasn’t resolved until the release of the video for the song “Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job.”
# 8 – Slip Of The Lip
The old adage “loose lips sink ships” takes on new meaning in this single from the 1986 release Dancing Undercover. The track describes a not-so-subtle desire of Pearcy underscored by the fabulous guitar work of Crosby and DeMartini. Another modern rock classic that still gets a fair amount of airplay.
# 7 – You’re In Love.
The leadoff track from Ratt’s Invasion Of Your Privacy was also their second single released by Atlantic Record. The music video for the song is a mixture of live concert footage and clips from romantic moments from many well-known cartoons and movies. The song was a top 100 hit in the US.
# 6 – Dance
Dance was the first song on Ratt’s 1986 album Dancing Undercover. Its straightforward message and powerful rhythms made it a fan favorite. At the time, having the best of both worlds was only a dance away!
# 5 – Way Cool Jr.
This popular track from 1989’s Reach For The Sky was one of Ratt’s last big hits. The song is about an average attractive male who’s busy living the high life while dealing drugs. The character is someone that everyone knew on the outside, but probably never really knew on the inside.
# 4 – Wanted Man
Ratt took on a Wild West theme with this song from Out Of The Cellar. The track was also featured on the Weird Science movie soundtrack. In the accompanying music video, the band members travel back in time to the last century, where they partake in a shootout with another group of cowboys who are up to no good.
# 3 – Back For More
Another popular song from Out Of The Cellar with very transparent lyrics. A simple message about the tough choice between desire and reality. It’s one of the most played Ratt songs during their concert tours.
# 2 – Lay It Down
The first single from Invasion Of Your Privacy was also Ratt’s second top 40 radio hit. The music video tells a tale of Pearcy making a birthday wish and getting a glimpse into possible future events. In the end, we assume that he got what he wished for.
# 1 – Round and Round
Many people may only know this song because of the appearance of comedy legend Milton Berle in the music video. It’s also a great song, and was Ratt’s highest-charting single. It reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The catchy tune is still being used in movie and television soundtracks decades after its release in 1984.
Despite the changes in lineup and legal issues, Ratt still remains strong. They have persevered through their trials and tribulations to continue an active tour schedule today. They are currently working on new music and plans to celebrate the 35th anniversary of their Out Of The Cellar album. Ratt is a great live band, well worth seeing every time they’re in town. They still play the songs that people remember fondly from their formative years.
Updated Nov 12, 2020