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Stephen Pearcy Mickey Ratt - Ratt Era: The Best Of

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Tuesday, May 24, 2005 @ 4:04 PM


(Cleopatra)

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Previously on The Young and the Rattless, we find Stephen Pearcy sending yours truly a copy of his newest offering, Mickey Ratt – Ratt Era: The Best Of, for review. Sometime during its transit to my house, Warren & Co. served Dead Line Music/Cleopatra with a Cease and Desist Order to prevent release of this CD using ‘Ratt’ in the title, claiming ‘confusion in the marketplace’. Huh? Well, let’s rehash, shall we? Since his last departure from Ratt, Stephen has gone on to record and release new material as well as several compilation CDs, some rerecorded material and some unreleased material. Ratt has gone on to record and release… well, nothing. Fact is, Ratt hasn’t done anything other than tour under the old Ratt catalog. I can see the ‘confusion in the marketplace’ there (sarcasm mode off). The CD will now be re-released under the title ‘Rat Attack’, complete with a new cover and artwork, so congratulations to those of you who already have this CD, it is now a collector’s item. You can title this CD whatever you like, but in my opinion the word ‘Kick Ass’ should be in the title.

Stephen has delivered again what he set out to produce: a CD of Ratt and Mickey Ratt classics recorded with an updated edge and sound for the 21st century. What can I say: the CD rocks from start to finish! The biggest seller for this CD, to me, is the inclusion of the guest guitarists. We have four different players showcased on these 17 tracks, including Stephen’s current axeman, Erik Ferentinos, who I have to say is a pretty damn good shredder in his own right, and Mark Zavon, an incredible player who has collaborated with Stephen on a lot of his music and, quite ironically, plays a gig or two in Ratt as a replacement for John Corabi. Mark is an outstanding individual who is very humble when it comes to his involvement with other bands/writers and his guitar work on tracks like “U Got It” and “Body Talk” are nothing short of outstanding. And, of course, we have appearances by Tracii Guns and George Lynch, both of whom need no words by me to try and convey the talent they both possess. Tracii appears on only two tracks, “Lay It Down” and “Back For More,” but makes his presence known on both. Now George, he plays on two Ratt tracks (“Round & Round” and “I’m Insane”) and the four Mickey Ratt songs (“Dr. Rock,” “Ratt Madness,” “Drivin’ on E” and “Top Secret,” which eventually ended up on Ratt’s Detonator CD). George is an absolutely phenomenal guitarist and his playing style is often very over-the-top and flamboyant.

Before I continue with that thought I should mention that when you make a guest appearance on someone else’s material playing a classic song, there is a very fine line between doing the track(s) and leaving your imprint and just totally blowing off how the material originally sounded and doing your own thing with it. Now, if you walk that razor’s edge long enough, eventually you’re going to get cut and this happens to George once on the CD, that being his solo on “Round & Round.” It isn’t a big gaffe, but enough to make you notice. Interestingly, the first time I listened to the CD was in my truck with my teenage son. Now, he knew nothing of the CD other than Stephen had sent it to me to review. My son has heard “Round & Round” probably a zillion times, thanks to me, and so he pretty much knows the song backwards and forwards. Once the song was over he looks at me and says, ”It doesn’t go with the song.” I inquired as to what he was talking about. He replied, “The solo doesn’t go with the song.” Sorry George, but my 16-year old thinks you blew that one. And to me, it isn’t the entire solo, just the very first part of it. In his defense though, he more than redeems himself on the rest of the tracks, especially “I’m Insane.” That tune totally fucking rocks! One other interesting appearance on the CD is Mickey Ratt bassist Matt Thorne, a member of the original incarnation of Ratt (with Jake E. Lee), who not only plays on the Mickey Ratt tunes, but also engineered the CD. Two thumbs up Matt, Great job!

Also packaged with the CD is a bonus DVD. Now, this isn’t anything spectacular, just an hour or so of homemade video shot in the studio with Matt and Stephen screwing around and telling the Mickey Ratt story and playing around with a few tunes on guitar. There’s also a video of “In Like Pink” included. But hey, it’s a free bonus and to me, free is good. I cannot say enough good things about this release. The production and quality are the best that you could hope for and Stephen’s voice sounds nearly identical to the way it did 20 years ago. This CD is a must have for Mickey Ratt/ Ratt fans!

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